Thursday, 25 October 2012

A month to remember

The month commencing 15th October 2012 will have been the most unusual month in my working career.  Last week,  I began my 3-year, 2-days-a-week secondment as a postdoc research assistant.  Considering I've never had a part-time job or a job-share in my life, this 'librarianship three days, postdoc two days' existence is very novel for me.  Being a postdoc researcher is equally new.  (OK, I've continued to do odd bits of research since becoming a doc, but I haven't been paid to do it before!)

And this isn't all that's new.  Next week I shall convene an SALCTG meeting for the first time.  I've never been a Convenor of anything else before, either. And I've an engagement as an assessor, the next day.

On either side of these momentous events, I gave a talk to Glasgow Gaelic Society on Tuesday evening this week, and I'm giving a talk to postgraduates at my alma mater, the University of Glasgow, the week after next.  The ironic thing about this is that when I was a postgrad the first time round, I couldn't imagine myself standing up and lecturing.  That's why I became a librarian.  Whereas now, I've stood up and talked to so many groups that I wasn't even bothered when the computer wouldn't open up on Tuesday night.  The group moved rooms, to enable me to show my  PowerPoint, but I wouldn't have been particularly upset if I hadn't been able to.

On the other hand, I felt decidedly guilty that I couldn't pronounce the Gaelic names of the songs I was talking about.  I played, rather than sang them - that got round one problem - but I felt a real ignoramus being unable to say what I was playing!  I've made two attempts at learning Gaelic.   It's deeply humiliating to admit that, whilst my Dad was head of modern languages in a big grammar school, and I was considered linguistically able at school, Gaelic is fiendishly difficult, and I haven't remotely got the hang of it yet.  An inability to speak Gaelic doesn't make me less of a librarian, or less of a researcher, but in terms of credibility and self-respect, I can see that at some stage, I shall really have to grasp that particular nettle!

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