Living the life of Reilly…

A few weeks ago, when I desperately needed a break, I decided to become a wwoofer. For a workaholic, I thought that was the most reasonable thing to do. You don’t have to stop working, but you’re doing something else, out in the nature. It turned much nicer that I thought it will be: a few hours of work a day, long walks, visiting people and gardens. I even ended up inviting my host to a concert in the famous Bantry House – the West Cork Music Festival was on! I couldn’t resist sending a picture to Twitpic, and one of my friends reacted saying that I seemed to be living the life of Reilly those days

I had to look the expression up on the Internet. Me – living a life of a king? I was ready to react in the “poor me” style! But then I realised that in a way, it was absolutely true… I wasn’t completely free, because I still have a few duties connecting me to the university – the biggest being the conference I’ve been working on organising for almost a year now, but still… no stringent plans for the future.

I’m at the crossroads – my contract as a lecturer came to an end in March. I got work until June, with the  perspective of a lecturing job that was going to be advertised during that period. But we’re in recession times – a recruitement embargo was set on all public institutions in Ireland, and the hiring process was blocked. So I guess the university gates closed for me – although some people claim there’s still hope.

For the first time in 28 years, I found myself unemployed. It was difficult to accept in the beginning – any kinds of jobs are scarce right now, but I tried to accept this lesson and find some good parts in it. I have accumulated so much during the last four years, that maybe it is time to sit down and digest. In the trepidation of academic life, deadlines are hitting you like trains, often coming from unexpected directions – so sometimes you don’t even have the time to get back on your feet, that a new task hits you and needs to be fitted in somehow.

OK. So I signed up for the dole on Tuesday. I was told I will feel ashamed and miserable. I don’t. I have worked for 28 years and I paid taxes all this time. I want to work, but wasn’t able to find something else, because I was too busy … working! For free. I’m a real addict, ain’t I?!

People ask me if I will leave Ireland, because jobs might be available elsewhere. No, I’m not planning to leave. I have the feeling that my place is here. I fit in. I am happy here. I have no complaints about the weather;) More than anything else, I love the people. And I believe there’s a future for me here.

What will I do? I don’t know yet. Knowledge management, distributed software development, social media, user studies, online facilitation, cultural mediation – I can wear many hats, and I have served many masters. Maybe I’ll have to go on my own – although I’m scared to death right now by this idea of total independence.

I am still involved in paper writing, I am the co-editor of a special issue of IST, and so on, and so forth. Does it make sense to keep working on these if they don’t mean a thing when it comes to employability? I don’t know. All I know is that my heart is still there, no matter how hard writing seems at times. And that I have a whole lot of goodies in my bag that I didn’t have the time to share until now.

So yes, I’m living the life of Reilly these days!

July 11 2009 09:07 am | Life

One Response to “Living the life of Reilly…”

  1. Brendan Lally on 12 Aug 2009 at 11:43 pm #

    Gabriela,

    Good 4 u girl.
    Enjoy the ‘rest’ and interested 2c what u do next
    I c u’re up 4 BizCamp in Dublin

    Brendan

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