Friday, March 16, 2007


Like all my fellow fellows, I've been filling out my RAE assessment material. Right across Cambridge you can hear the anxious tapping of keys and the soft sound of brainy brows furrowing as some of Britain's finest intellects try and work out how elastic they can be with the truth. "Does that night when four of us got drunk in a bar and discussed Kant for six hours constitute a workshop? If so, was it an invited workshop, so it can go under the Esteem Indicators section?

What worries me is how my forms are different from everyone else's. No, really.
Everyone else's resumés make them sound like they are:

a) a professional academic, with an excellent publications record and many transferable skills
b) someone with a bright future as a Professor in some esteemed university.

My resumé makes me sound like I am:

a) a flake
b) a spy


dr. hypercube said...

You win. Really.

Old Scrote said...

Every time during my working life that I put together a CV, it read as if I had had a game plan, as if every change of direction was a deliberate part of the progress towards the ultimate goal. Of course that was rubbish: it is not difficult to plan your future retrospectively. That's what the other people are doing with their RAE's. You're not a flake or a spy, but you are very honest.

Tristram Brelstaff said...

A spy? At Cambridge? I thought it was one of the requirements.

prairie mary said...

What do I know, an old retired woman in a tiny village in Montana who has had one of the more chequered careers in this part of the world? What I know is that you are brilliant, precious, unique and a person I would dearly love to have for a professor? Thus saith a former English teacher, dog-catcher, Unitarian minister, geoengineer's dogbody, and book accumulator. If you are a flaky spy, I say the world would be a better place if there were more of them.

Prairie Mary

Matt Mullenix said...

Yea, what Mary said! Which is what Steve will say, except that I beat him to it!

Also: I say that "flake" and "spy" are relative terms with negative connotations only in certain circumstances. In others, they describe innovators and patriots!

Maybe you just need to find your people.

pluvialis said...

Gosh, what nice things. It was a jokey post, and I didn't think I'd get such a response. Meeeep!

Of course, I would clearly be a totally rubbish spy, so it's lucky (but no accident) that I'm not one! But I confess utterly to the charge of flakiness. I'm terribly disorganised. Actually...maybe you can all help me out, here. In the UK, I think being a bit flaky means you're a bit of a layabout; a lazy good for nothing person — I think it might have a slightly different meaning elsewhere, pace Frank Zappa lyrics. Anyone care to enlighten me? And yes, before you all tell me it's an old school term for cocaine, I *know* :)

Matt Mullenix said...

"Flaky" as I know it (SE US, early 21st Century) means undependable and/or indecisive. I can't decide which.

pluvialis said...

Ah, that's even *more* accurate!

Steve Bodio said...

What Matt said.

I always thought of "flaky" as "eccentric".

Mei said...

Surely the trouble with self-reporting is that most people look mainly to producing a mask, not reporting the truth. Perhaps that's why doing the latter comes out sounding a bit unusual.

Perhaps it is simpler to imagine you are trying to deceive the reader into thinking what you're claiming is true (though keeping it the truth anyway) instead of just telling the truth. Imagine you're lying :-) ?