The new job one.

“Never sit in the comfy chair.”

Jake Humphrey – on going from a CBBC presented to leading the BBC’s F1 coverage.

Sometimes, opportunities come along that are too good to pass up. Back in January*, I was offered the chance to move from my current, temporary contract doing science communications at the Central Laser Facility, to one doing ‘proper’ work in STFC’s Scientific Computing Department.

From old desk to new can’t be more than 500 metres, so it’s not as though I’m moving far. But, after four years of studying computing and physics, it’s a fantastic opportunity to really put into practice what I’ve learned in my degree and – hopefully – learn a lot more.

It’s a scary move, because now I have to prove – to myself as much as anyone else – that I really can survive in the world of science, research, academia, and all that comes with it. But, it’s a good risk to take, and sometimes it’s important to get out of the comfy chair and face a new challenge.

45 days to go… not that I’m excited, at all 🙂

* Why, if I got the job in January am I mentioning it only now? Well, STFC excels at many things, but doing anything quickly is not one of them and it’s taken them four and a half months to sort out my contract… so what can you do.

The one where I choose my final year degree modules.

TM470 is meant to be the undergraduate ‘dissertation’ module in OU computing degrees. But, because I’m studying a Combined STEM degree (where, pretty much, I can do any science, technology, engineering or maths courses), I don’t have to do it.

For the record, I do want to do a project. I think it would be very rewarding to work on the kind of project TM470 allows, solving a practical problem (see the video for more about what TM470 projects look like). And, I think a final project would be a great addition to my portoflio, and job applications when I do graduate.

But, there is a problem. TM470 runs at a different time of year to most other OU modules; February to October. If I study TM470, I won’t graduate until October 2022. If I don’t take it (and choose another taught module instead), I’ll graduate, more conventionally, in June/July 2022.

Why does that matter? Because I want to go on to either a graduate job, or further study, and not graduating until October would severely limit my options to do that. For the simple reason that it’s when most graduates graduate, most graduate opportunities start in the summer.

So, choosing TM470 may mean I finish my current job in July 2022 (a fixed term contract) and have nowhere to go until the start of 2023. I can’t say sitting and twiddling my thumbs studying one 30 credit OU module, and with no real income, for 6 months is massively appealing.

It’s a difficult choice to make, and I’m not sure what to do for the best. So, I think my next steps are:

  1. Look at options for further study. Is there something I actually would like to do? Can I do that in Sept/Oct 2022, or Jan 2023?
  2. Would it be possible to enter a ‘graduate’ job a few months before I graduate, if I were to study TM470; and then could I do my master’s part time?