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Disability Narratives

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John considers how working part-time may impact his future career.

Image representing John

And since then I have - I've been working either part-time, or I've tried to work full-time but it didn't work, [laugh]. Basically, I relapsed. I can't work full-time. That's just unfortunately beyond what my body can do. But I've become kind of - well, I can accept that, basically. So I've found within the last perhaps five years in particular, I've found a stable position. A long-term sustainable level of both physical activity and work. And you know, things outside work, that is kind of sustainable in the long-term. But unfortunately that means that I can't work full-time. And that obviously is a drawback.

You know, where an academic - most people, you know, who are academics do work full-time. And that obviously does affect my career, and it affects what I can do in the university. And that's just part of the college lecturing contract. And when I can, and when I get time, but yes, research is a very - well, it's a very big part of why I do what I do. I really, I really enjoy my research, and I really want to kind of have a life as an academic researcher. Even though that that's kind of hindered by, you know, the, the condition I have. That is very much my ambition. Yes. And partly also kind of working collaboratively in a lab. It is more demanding in terms of keeping certain hours, and keeping - you know - a more rigid schedule. Especially when you're working - you know - the whole time with others. And so what I did is I actually switched from the experimental side into the theoretical side. Partly because I was still you know, interested in that. But partly to - because it was a better fit with my health condition. And I've continued that really. So, I'm still interested in experiments, but I have shifted into theory. Because that is partly - partly I'm interested in it, but partly I, yeah, it does provide a much easier fit to what my body can handle, in terms of the flexibility. In the sense that I can do my theory anywhere where I have desk and a laptop connected to the internet, so. And yes, so.

So it's affected both the subject that I study within science, but it's also affected definitely my career. I - After the end of my PhD, I did go into a full-time position. So I moved away from Oxford, and I moved to [place] actually, for a while. And I did take a full-time position there, in a lab. And I realised that I couldn't do that, basically, because just the demands of working full-time, my body couldn't cope with. So I could that for a few months, say three to four months, but then my health just quite rapidly declined after that. And so I had to then come to terms with the - kind of the normal academic career path of full-time positions isn't really open to me. And so I have to essentially make the best of what I have. And make an academic career of that. And that is - that is difficult of course, because most academic positions are, are full-time. And are advertised full-time, and expected to do full-time work. And I, yeah. Obviously I can't, I can't do that, just physically. Even though as much as I'd love to, I’m just actually – yeah unable.