Hall of mammals, NHM, London.
Darwin is currently in pride-of-place in the main hall. I think it's usually the museum's founder that gets to go there...
It's a nice statue, he looks very thoughtful.
Spiderbaby had never been to the NHM so we made a trip up after Christmas.
I'm so proud! Spiderbaby and I went official after an all-clear 12 week scan. So far everything has gone smoothly. The due date is around the 15th of July, so that's b*ggered up our plans to go to the olympics. Anyone wanna see the badminton?
So as I said on Facebook, I quit my job. The reasons are many, and there was no one single precipitating event. It seemed like I'd given it my best but things were not going to improve. Since this is my blog I think I'm allowed a little one-sided bitching on here.
Reason 1. My contract has never been honoured. My contract states that I am entitled to subsidised membership of the university gym AKA an IKSU card. IKSU is a lavish sports centre next to the university. It is probably the largest sports facility in Europe. It is consequently rather expensive - full membership is something like 70 pounds a month. Despite asking several times my supervisor has for a year denied me this subsidy, claiming not to have the money. After a row on my return from France when she told me she had money to employ two new post-docs she reluctantly agreed to give me the IKSU card, but said the money would come out of my research and travel money. This is totally unacceptable. After this she said would only reimburse my membership fees at the end of my contract, leaving me to shoulder the significant full cost of the card for a year. My contract states that I get a subsidy, not a reimbursement. This is also unacceptable. I see no reason why I should have to fight for the benefits spelled out in my contract in this way.
Reason 2. I am not doing the job I signed up to. I came to Umeå to work on a project screening a chemical library for drugs that can inhibit a particular cellular process. When I started I was given an unrelated side-project on fundamental developmental cellular biology, something I have never really expressed an interest in, but side projects can often be good insurance in case the main project goes titsup. This side project is approximately 80% of my time. The application for the money supporting my post-doctoral fellowship makes no mention of this project. When, some time ago, I told her I wasn't very interested in the project I hoped that I'd be able to steer it into an area I might be more satisfied with. Instead she told me that there were eight applicants for my job and if I don't like it I can quit.
Reason 3. We just don't get on. Our working relationship is awful. Half the time I cannot ask her a simple question about a technical aspect of an experiment without being patronised or screamed at. She cannot complain about my lab work, as it is generally deemed satisfactory, so I get constant complaints about "my attitude" or the way I speak. These complaints are never about my behavior at a specific time or place, but more nebulous and impossible to counter or defend. I work very long hours, as much as 14 hours a day over several days. I accept this as part-and-parcel of a post-doc job, but I do expect to be treated with respect and gratitude for doing it. I feel like my supervisor's whipping boy and I'm sick of it.
For these reasons and more, I am done.
What's next? No idea.
Thank you Cecile and Yves for a fantastic weekend!
This area is the home of the "onion Johnnies" - Breton farmers who used to sell their distinctive onions around England, pre-WWII.
"Dressed in striped shirt and beret, riding a bicycle hung with onions, the Onion Johnny became the stereotypical image of the Frenchman" [from wikipedia]
You can see some of those onions hung outside the house in the top shot. These days cauliflower and artichokes are a bigger deal, as seen in the middle picture.