Currently, I am hustling. I don’t have much secure work to speak of, and I am doing what I can. Part of that entails being flexible to whatever comes along, no matter how much I dislike it. There is a teaching aspect to what i am doing, and for as much as I am not over the moon for it, I have to accept it. But that isn’t actually the largest part of my income. I am also helping someone with some of their PhD research.
The person I am helping is a really nice person. He has come through for me in the past on numerous occasions, and so helping him feels a lot like giving back. However, he is also a deeply flawed person, who has irritated me to no ends on more than one occasion. Among his virtues is a deep seated stupidity for a lot of things, and that unfortunately means that I do have to work twice as hard to make up the gap.
I don’t mind because I bill hourly.
But it feels a lot like being back in school. Do you remember getting assigned to a team assignment only to look at your partner and see a knuckle-dragging dirt dweller? It is a lot like that, only the knuckle-dragger is a great person to get a beer with, and genuinely cares about you. You know you are going to do all the work, but this is a good guy, and so you don’t mind too much.
This person them comes along to you because he has been informed that there is a research grant available for the work we are doing, and wouldn’t this be a great opportunity to get some extra money. This is of course a terrible idea. You would think it is a good idea, but it isn’t. There are two ways of looking at what is going on. Right now I am getting paid X. I have a deadline, after which I will no longer get paid X. To get paid X, I have to work 40 hours a week. This so far is normal. Now, you have the opportunity to make X + Y. But you of course would be sharing Y, so really you are working X + .5Y. However, this is going to require much more work. And its not like you can put the work for X aside. The deadline still looms eternal. To get X + .5Y, you need to work 50 hours a week, and you are already annoyed.
Why the hell should you get .5Y, anyway? Realistically you should get all of Y. Here is the thing. The research grant proposal has three components, a written proposal about the research, a budget proposal, and a CV of the researcher. How is that work going to get divided? I know the research really well, so I can write that part and my partner can write the other two. He’s never written a budget proposal in his life, and so this comes up as garbage. Not only that, but the idea he has for it is awful. He thinks he can submit his PhD tuition as a budgetary expense for this research grant. I wish I were joking. I of course need to step up and kind of show him why his idea just doesn’t work, and end up giving him an idea that does. This too doesn’t go well, but explaining that is a little bit too far on the other side of the statute of limitation. It’ll have to be saved for another blog post in the far future.
What about the CV? That’s certainly his problem right? Nope. He sends that to me too. Of course, his CV is garbage, and needs major revisions. I spend an hour making edits before I give up and tell him he needs to start from scratch. In the mean time, I haven’t even started my side of this. He doesn’t start from scratch, but somehow makes an even worse resumes. It somehow makes less sense than the first one. In his defense, between the two he found out that the CV submission needs to be no more than two pages.
Fuck me this is annoying.
You know what they say about beggars? They are only going to spend it one booze. I am probably going to say yes to this grant, mostly because I don’t have a choice. But the more I work towards this
Here’s the thing. When he sent me his CV, I got downright angry. I started to ask myself what kind of a waste of skin I was dealing with. Who fucks up their own CV?
Then, it dawns on me. Me. I am exactly the kind of waste of skin who fucks up their own CV. I remember all the times I saw a job I really liked and, not having the confidence that I could get the job on my own ability, asked a friend to give my CV a once over to see if it works. I have asked a dozen friends to do this at least a dozen times. It’s almost never worked for me in any positive sense, and I should have by now gotten the confidence to do it on my own.
Except I haven’t.
The recollection gave me a little bit more sympathy for what is going on. But not enough. On top of everything else, the more I look into the grant, the more I realize that this is not going to work.
This will need a part two, but it may be a year before I get into it.