It’s been two
weeks, and I’m back from my first stint in Kalgoorlie. It’s good to be home, if only for a little while, before we head back over to (hopefully) finish the job on the next swing. It’s been a heck of a couple of weeks, this being the first time I’ve ever been involved in such a physically demanding workplace. I’m proud of the way I’ve handled it so far, with only one dummy-spit and the lightest of friction between myself and the rest of the crew. The person I was most worried about irritating was Pat, and while I think I did get on his nerves near the end, I believe our friendship won’t suffer too much for working together.
The work itself is hard, but rewarding in its own way. I’m not sure if I mentioned what it was I was doing in my last post but if I didn’t, we’re essentially covering a tailings dam with netting so that birds don’t get poisoned. That sounds simple–and I guess it is–but the area to be covered is mind boggling, and the work is all at elevation. It has its own challenges, mostly physical, but there is a logistical element to it. I enjoyed the logic of it all, the necessary step-by-step. It’s like putting together a piece of Ikea furniture, but on a much grander scale. The two weeks passed almost without me noticing. The rhythm of work-beer-sleep-repeat doesn’t leave much opportunity for anything else but laughing at country television advertisements. And since the work on any given day is the same as any other, any conception of time passing is lost in the wash.
Of course, as soon as I come out of that cycle and back to reality, the same problems rear their ugly heads. I’m still completely lost as to what I want to do with my future career. I’ve come to accept the fact that I am going to have to start at graduate level despite my Ph.D. qualification if I want to enter industry: it’s just the way it works in that environment. But it’s whether or not I want to continue with science purely, or if I want to mix and match with another discipline. As I was saying to Louise this morning, I don’t have the passion for science that I see in other (successful) scientists. Or perhaps that’s the wrong way of saying it. It’s basically…well, you tend to find that by the time researchers hit the end of their Ph.D., they have a particular area, or question, that they want to explore. A topic that will drive them, in all likelihood, until the end of their careers. And so far I haven’t discovered that thing that fascinates me so much that I would be willing to devote large chunks of my time to it. Not even my writing has that effect on me. It seems that while I am good at a lot of different things, I’m not passionate enough to become great at any one of them. It’s a bit poo.
In the meantime, I’ve had some news from my former supervisor about some possible literature review work once I’m done in Kalgoorlie. It involves an Indian company who are looking to do some material science research, and so need to know what has gone before. Sounds like just the kind of thing to get me back into the swing of science, and I should (finally) be able to do some work on writing some journal articles while I’m doing that. Who knows? It might even open up some doors for me. Alright, enough of all this navel gazing. Off to make a list of things I need to do while I have a) the Internet, b) money, and c) time.