Numbering the days31 July 2012
Today I handed in my written notice. It was really just a paperwork formality as I had already declared my intention to leave back in June, but it also means my days at my current company are now officially numbered. Originally my plan was to aim for a December departure, which would have meant not making a final decision for at least another few weeks, but circumstances meant that I could not keep my intentions under wraps any longer. Listening to conversations about future projects, some of which were quite interesting, was torture given that externalities necessitated I start committing to a schedule.
So why leave?My current job is largely independent of the UK economy, which all things considered is an envious position to be in. In fact when this is coupled with the whole setup I have in Bristol, it all adds up to quite a high standard of secure living. Doors that opened slowly can easily slam shut quickly, so on any measure this is a big thing to trade in. The problem is that the situation is a set-rigid mould, and taken as a whole I feel that Bristol has had its peak. Of course there are one or two gripes about my company that set everything off, because if this was not the case I would not have thought about relocation in the first place. However the company side of things is a story for after I have left, so for now I will go into the non-company side of my decision.
The university bubbleThe underlying problem here is that in a city like Bristol, it is very difficult to escape the University bubble, but you also cannot participate in it like you did before. I know people who studied in Bristol but then deliberately spent a few years away working in another city, and their reasoning tallies with what I see:
- University segregation
- PhD colleagues who don't then become RA's (or move to Toshiba TRL) rarely stay in the city, and then the tendency of only really socialising with colleagues kicks in. Inside the university this is not an issue as it is a large organisation, but as soon as you go outside you rapidly get isolated from it all.
- Decline of student activity
- Leaving aside issues of associating with current students, Bristol students are becoming both more insular and semi-conscious. This is partly down to the Students Union being in terminal decline, and partly because students need to be more work-conscious.
- University is more serious nowadays
- Fees and living costs are on the up, and the graduate job-market is brutal. The summer term these days is dedicated exam season, and the tendency is for students to go home when they finish rather than have post-exam parties.
- Destruction of the PGU
- Back in 2009 the Students Union dissolved the Postgraduate Union in what I will simply call acrimonious circumstances. As a result student activity, even in the international societies, is basically devoid of postgraduates. Current undergrads simply don't have the mindset of my generation.