Sometimes moguls spring up when you least expect it. Case and point, my phone buzzing at 7am to tell me that I had received an email from my aforementioned mentor. Excited to get started on preparations for my trip, I pulled myself out of a Saturday morning doze and scrolled through the message. Cue: waking up on the wrong side of the bed. Turns out, the fieldwork phase for the project that I was supposed to work on has unexpectedly been pushed back to August. Now if you have been paying attention (oh faithful 5 readers), you will know that my trip to Malawi spans April 28-July 27 (followed by a lovely 2 weeks in Amsterdam… Huzzah!). August does NOT have a role in this play.
Uh oh. I went into full on anxiety mode – not good for your health at 7am. For some reason I had this mental image of myself wandering around in Malawi with nothing to do for 3 months except free-load off my friends and watch elephants (okay, that doesn’t sound as bad out loud as it did in my head this morning). Anyways, eek!
The title of this post is a quote from the inspiration for my blog – “Scientific Progress Goes “Boink” (Watterson 1991, p.105) It seemed particularly relevant in light of this particularly unwelcome roadblock (more on roadblocks and Malawi at another time).
So what happened next?! Well, the long-and-short of it is that I sent off an email to my connection at the Invest in Knowledge Initiative (description and details to come in a future post) and asked for my old job as a Research Fellow. Pete, great boss and excellent human being, was more than happy to oblige and sent me a list of possible projects that I could work on.
Yes, I panicked for nothing. No, this is not the first or last time that this will happen. I will post again once I find out about the Africa Initiative Grant and once I decide (if I don’t get the grant) which project I will be working on. The bottom line is this – there is lots of work to be done and if you have the initiative to book yourself onto a plane, chances are the job will find you. Last year I didn’t know what I would be doing in Malawi up until the day I got there. Things worked out better than fine. Finally, if you are prepared to commit whole-heartedly to a job, people will want to work with you again in the future.