I am occasionally asked why I don’t go back to Britain to work as I am obviously (?) homesick (1). Most people asking this, I hope, don’t mean I shouldn’t be working in the US teaching American undergrads, but are concerned as, to them, I must appear lonely, sad, and a long way from family (2). (Whatever happened “to wherever I lay my hat, is my home”?).
The answer (below the fold) is in an article in the recent addition of Le Monde Diplomatique: Britian’s academic underclass, which discusses the fact that most British and French science and technology researchers are on short-term contracts. Permanent post-docs. One paragraph emphasizes the main problems:
“This precarious employment has negative repercussions. The British parliamentary report was highly critical of this new exploitation. In the long term, the absence of career advancement demotivates researchers. Having to change subjects with each contract prevents them from specialising in any field and they are unable to publish enough in one field to qualify for a permanent post. Women are even less likely to get a permanent job and are confined to short-term contracts. “
(emphasis added by me).
I am very grateful that I took the decision to come to the US ten and half years ago. Thank you, America for giving me the opportunity to have an academic career.
(1) I’m always homesick in the summer. Have you experienced an English summer? No not all that rain, silly. All the daylight. I must be the only person who feels light deprived in America in June.
(2) A long way from family is the family joke. How far away can I get? Love you, Mum and Dad for giving the strength and support to “get away”. Hope to see you in July.