It was a normal Tuesday afternoon, and I was in my office, trying to get as much essay marking done as I could before I would have to attend student presentations from a module I wasn't teaching on. And then the Head of School walked in. He was carrying a stack of envelopes.
I knew he had been hoping to be able to hire me on the long term. I knew a post that looked like mine featured in the University's plan, be it only for a few months, but hey, that could be a mistake. I knew the HoS had been 'quietly hopeful'. And I knew the university had promised to tell everyone before Christmas what they were in for.
The HoS, David, was smiling when he gave me my envelope. That's a good sign! I opened it and read the document inside. It said I had been assimilated, and that my contract had been changed into a permanent one! I didn't know what was happening to me. I had been hoping for that for many, many years!
David had me check what the contract actually said; he had given me the envelope closed so he didn't know himself. It didn't give much detail. It just said I would be a 'lecturer'. Mainly in the School of Ocean Sciences but also deployable elsewhere when appropriate. That's a bit generic! It should have said 'Teaching and Scholarship lecturer in Ocean Science'; I'd have to contact HR to have that changed. But what a moment!
David had the rest of the pile of envelopes to deliver so he was off. I was in a daze. I stumbled into Jaco's office, which is opposite mine, and I told him. He gave me a big hug. I staggered back (I had these student presentations to attend) but before I could go there, Dei stormed into my office. He had heard. And he is the Director of Teaching and Learning (or something) so I would fall into his team. He was jumping up and down and gave me a hug too. Lovely!
I then had to snap out of it and listen to student presentations about turbidity currents. But when that was done I did a small round and told people like David (the underground one) and Guy what had happened.
It's so weird! I had been staring unemployment in the face (I had just found out the day before the University of Lincoln wasn't interested) and now suddenly I was sorted forever. I can put roots down! I can go and buy a house! I can become all grown up! And I will now be busy forever as junior lecturing staff tend to get wrung dry, but hey, better wrung dry in a very interesting job that effortlessly pays the bills than wrung dry in pretty much any other job. I'm happy!