A number of things have changed for your cartoonist in 2016, including the new job and a new house. One thing that hasn’t changed is his relationship with his wonderful girlfriend. Since Szpylbert thinks it is important to do things properly, he has decided to submit a Marriage Proposal Form to her. Fingers crossed – and a Happy New Year to you all!
Szpylbert’s been reading a lot of managment and economics books lately for work. One thing that is apparent is that seeking one’s own benefit usually comes at the expense of someone else. This has always been the case (think Sun Tzu’s The Art of War) and great efforts normally are made to hide this from the naïve. As the saying in poker goes, if you don’t know who the fish is, it’s you!
First post of the year – your artist was quite busy feeling confused as a recently appointed academic lately. We start the year with a bit of wisdom from Szpylbert’s last summer intern: quizzed why engineering students always wear suits to interviews (and in academia almost no one wears a suit), the intern said: “If you are wrong and wearing a suit then at least you look competent, all engineering students know that”. This had your cartoonist thinking. Perhaps this was also the trade secret of all those bankers and politicians. Time to buy a suit.
As a scientific researcher you are always on the hunt for novelty (and by that I don’t mean gimmicks you can buy in a shop). Often such newness comes from solving old problems by doing some difficult new method à la “it’s never been done before”. Of course, this goes wrong a lot – that’s why research feels hard and often seems to lead nowhere. In many cases not even to a permanent job.
Today, a post on one of the stranger ambitions in the modern world: trying to become a youtube star. As we all appreciate, the internet is open to everyone, also to those with a thirst for admiration but no discernible talent. Szpylbert is often amazed by how bad some people are at judging the impression they create of themselves on the internet. And there is some deeper meaning to this. All of us sometimes struggle to reconcile how we think we appear to others with how we are really perceived. It’s one of the more harmless parts of the human condition. But wouldn’t social interactions be terribly safe and boring without this? Szpylbert’s wisdom is: if you notice you’re crap at this sort of thing, just don’t try to become a youtube sensation…
After Ferdinand’s recent success with his promotion to Senior Lab Rat, this time Szpylbert is in luck – winning first prize at a Comic Competition held at his university. The prize is a substantial £5 lunch voucher. Unfortunately, it’s redeemable only on campus – which, due to the quality of the food around here, diminishes its value somewhat. But that’s just your cartoonist being nitpicky… Szpylbert thanks the jury!
Being an “academician” doesn’t start when you’ve finished your last university degree. Oh no, sir. To be admitted into the ivory tower with a permanent job you must first prove that you can cut the mustard as a researcher (if you’re not a certified genius). That means: short contracts, long hours, pressure of finding own funding and publishing as much as you can. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?