Wednesday, July 1, 2009

When I Grow Up

The Irish Examiner recently ran a piece in its Weekend supplement (not available online) that featured the results of a survey carried out by a British bank on its 16-21 year old customers. They were asked what jobs would they most like to land when they got older. The results?

1. Musician/Band Member (25%)
2. Working in the Media (24%)
3. Celebrity or Socialite (14%)
4. Fashion Designer (13%)
5. Teacher/Lecturer (13%)

Others to make the list were; nurse (8%), vet (5%), politics (1%) and charity work (1%). Even if only these careers are included we are already over 100%! I have not been able to find the primary source of the data so the techniques used cannot be verified. Maybe respondents were asked to select a number of careers from a list. Anyway, regardless of the methods used Teacher/Lecturer made the top five. In the piece the Examiner asked a person from each of the top five "dream jobs" to describe a typical working day. The chosen five were:

Musician - Paul Walsh
Socialite - Lisa Murphy
TV Presenter - Grainne Seoige
Designer - Ciaran Sweeney
Lecturer - Carol Laffan

Carol is a College Lecturer in Economics in the University of Limerick and here is a run through of her typical day.

7.30am: Alarm goes off. Hug the bed, realising it's cold outside. Hit the shower in an attempt to wake up. I'm not a morning person. Have breakfast with my fiance, a computer engineer.
8.10am: The drive to work takes about 25 minutes. Need to be in the car park before 9am otherwise all the spaces will be gone.
9am: A grab a cup of tea when I get in and bring it to my desk. I reply to my emails and prepare for my lecture.
9.30am: I have an hour and half of office hours for students to call to me. I have these twice a week.
11am: I give a 50-minute lecture, one of four a week. Currently my International Economics students are studying the effects on the economy of multinational companies setting up in Ireland or pulling out of Ireland. It's quite topical at the moment, especially here in Limerick. My Health Economics students are looking at the economics behind health insurance.
12am: Go for a coffee break with my colleagues. Shop talk is strictly prohibited.
12.30pm: Meet one of my final year project students one-to-one to go through the week they've done on their thesis. I have six students to supervise at the moment.
1.30pm: Go for lunch with my colleagues. It's a really good way to bond as a unit.
2.30pm: Prepare my lecture notes for the coming days and put these along with extra readings on my website for the students to download.
4pm: Answer my emails. I phone some of the BBS co-op students who are doing their work placement overseas. All students on work experience either get a visit or a phone call from a member of the school to check in on their progress so this year I'm calling the international placements.
5pm: Work on my PhD thesis. I try to clear one full day a week, but the college year really flies by. Therefore, I get a lot of my research and writing done over the holidays.
7pm: I get home and we cook dinner. We sit down and talk about our respective days. I usually make a few phone calls to organise a few bits for my upcoming wedding in July.
8pm: Prepare for tomorrow's lectures, meetings etc. Watch some television in an attempt to unwind.
9.30pm: Sort out my clothes and bits for the morning. This gives me five more glorious minutes in bed in the morning. Then I'll read until I fall asleep around midnight.

The Oberserver got the "scoop" on (or provided the inspiration for) The Examiner as about a month beforehand they ran a very similar piece on the survey. This time the lecturer chosen was Dr Leo Mellor a lecturer in English at at Murray Edwards College, Cambridge. You can read about his typical day here. His day and schedule follow the same lines as Carol's, but he only gives two lectures a week.

For those with a continuing unhealthy interest in Economics Lecturers in the UL, The Limerick Leader, recently ran a piece on Dr Stephen Kinsella. Among the many questions he was asked was:

Away from work, what are your pastimes and hobbies? I have no pastimes whatsoever. Any spare time I do have, I spend with my kids, Allan, two and a half and Cillian, ten months. Which is why I have zero hobbies. But at the moment, betwee research, teaching and things like Bizcamp, a lot of my life is taken up with work.

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