So getting another part-time job which was compatible with my original one was a long, hard slog. But the hard work didn’t stop there. There are all sorts of pants things about having two-jobs. There are also some good things. Here’s a quick round up:
Networking isn’t just about meeting scary new people at conferences or events. We all network automatically in the course of our working lives, interacting and forming professional relationships with colleagues. The more places you work, the more people you’ll have in your network.
Working in multiple places has the potential to open you up to all sorts of experiences and skill-building opportunities. My job at Oxford is great for experience working with a scientific collection. I’ve been able to learn loads about hazard management, chemical and radiation safety, risk assessments, health and safety legislation and human tissue licensing.
Working in a school museum, I’m now exposed to a significant social history and fine art collection. Moreover, for the first time in my working life I am having to deliver teaching and education sessions. I used to be terrified of children and young adults. Now I think they’re great, and find their enthusiasm and ever-unpredictable questioning to be a great source of optimism for the future of humanity.
Crossing collections and skills-sharing
There is a surprising amount of cross-over between the collections at the Museum of the History of Science and my school museum. The school had (and still has) an infirmary, which means a medical collection, which means hazards a plenty. When I found an open source of mercury at one work place, I knew exactly what to do from my previous experience at the other place.
The school wants to apply for Accreditation? No problem – I bring with me from Oxford my experience of going through the scheme last year. The school gives me more specialist GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) training? I can then readily share what I learnt from that at the school with my colleagues in Oxford.
…is always nice and keeps one on one’s toes!
Where the hell am I?
My weekly schedule is as follows:
Tuesday: West Sussex
Thursday: West Sussex
Friday (ever other): Oxford
Sometimes, when I wake up in the morning, it can take me up to five minutes to work our just where I’m supposed to be going on that particular day. It hasn’t happened yet, but one day I am sure I am going to go the wrong place by mistake.
(My schedule is nowhere near as hectic as Josie Wall’s has been – read more about her experiences balancing a PhD, volunteering and work here.)
Schedule? What schedule?
Did I say I had a schedule? LOLZ! Both work places sometimes ask me to swap days to help out with things. I’m usually happy to help but having some sort of routine does help my sanity a little bit.
Double the Trouble
It used to be that I would just lay awake at night and worry about that unresponsive registrar, this courier trip, that bit of mercury, this bit of asbestos, those mysterious skulls, oh God please say that I ticked ‘do not publish on internet’ in the CMS and OH LORD DID I TURN THE HEATER OFF?
Now that I have two jobs, I worry about whether my volunteers are happy, whether my boss’ non-museum boss is happy with progress of documentation work, whether or not I’ve taken the fob home with me by accident, is there a ghost – I’m pretty sure there’s a ghost? as well as that unresponsive registrar, this courier trip, that bit of mercury, this bit of asbestos, those mysterious skulls, oh God please say that I ticked ‘do not publish on internet’ in the CMS and OH LORD DID I TURN THE HEATER OFF?
Never mind turning the heater off – any tips on how to turn my neurotic and paranoid brain off?
Picking up emails at home
I’ve never been obliged to do this, but I think it’s something most of us do at some point. It might not be great for the work/ life balance – but sometimes I know that answering an email on a Saturday afternoon can save me a whole lot of bother on a Monday morning.
Now, of course, I have twice the number of email accounts to check in my free time, and about twice as many emails to read and to which to reply.
Two inboxes = two outlook calendars
Anyone know of way I can sync them? Anyone PLEASE?!?
Meeting new people
I never find meeting new people the easiest thing. Especially that bit about ‘what do you do?’. Invariably, I have to explain what collections management is (no, I’m not a curator), that I won’t talk about valuations, and that I work both for a university and well as for a museum (no not the Ashmolean), no I don’t work for the Science Museum in London, and no, we don’t have any dinosaurs. Now I also have to explain that in addition I work for a school museum (yes they exist), yes it’s a boarding school, not it’s not that ‘posh’, yes it’s the place with those old-fashioned uniforms, and yes I’ll tell you that it is a bit like Hogwarts if that’s what you want to hear.
Two sets of work Christmas parties
Can I maybe stop eating now, please?
Two lanyards and ID/ access cards to keep track of
I never seem to have the right one on me…
Two sets of IT passwords
One of which I’m required to change once every 12 weeks, the other once every four weeks. Trying to synchronise password changes across work places (bad practice for information security I know) is inherently impossible.
Eh? What’s that?