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我为何不是讲师 Why I'm not a lecturer

偶尔有学生问我为什么没申请成为讲师,因为我已经有博士和20都年的大学辅助教育经验。
Occasionally a student asks me why I haven't applied to become a lecturer, seeing as I've got my doctorate and I've chosen to help with small-group teaching work in the lab for over 20 years.

简而言之,这不是成为讲师的方法。
The short answer is that's not how you become a lecturer.

剑桥是个研究型大学,他们所招聘的讲师是优秀的研究者。教育是次席而已。所以,学生能更优秀研究者互动,这些研究者可能也是好老师,但不一定,不过,辅助教育系统是补充任何教育问题的安排。
Cambridge is a "research-led" university, which means they recruit lecturers who excel in research. Teaching comes second. That means the students interact with some very good researchers, who might also be good at teaching, and the system of supplementary small group tuition (called "supervisions") is meant to make up for any problems.

对于我,我以前看来有个好博士论文,但我的第一个博士后课题有问题了。这个课题有赞助商,但半年后我们发觉那公司误会了我的提议,发觉后就取消了资金。替代,他们说欢迎我去美国为他们工作。但我害怕去美国工作,宁可留在英国。我在剑桥一两学院的研究员候选名单但进不去了,然后被邀请申请曼城的讲师任务,那时曼城特别对我的研究感兴趣。不过,那时候我也已经开始帮助剑桥的华人,我恐怕我离开剑桥去曼城也许使那些华人更困境,所以我留下了。结果,那个半年博士后是我的唯一正式研究历史,不过在非正式方面我也帮助其他研究,有时仍然出版论文。比如,我为病理学系小团队写了个生物信息学算法,也发给一两在其他研究所的朋友,希望也对他们有用,一个回答我说她的研究所只能接纳已在生物学期刊收同行认可的软件,所以我们为牛津生物学期刊写论文而他们坚持把我的名放在首位。不过,有那样的出版物但没有很多正式博士后历史很可能不会给人讲师位置。(但是我的电邮接受不少垃圾消息,比如掠夺性期刊的邀稿信,和某个奇怪公司不断求我卖给他们我们所提到的基因测序机器。)
In my case I had a promising start to a research career with a good PhD, but my postdoc 'went pear-shaped' a few months in when it turned out a corporate sponsor had misunderstood my proposal and cancelled the funding when they realised. They offered me an industry job in America instead, but I wanted to stay in the UK so I turned it down. I was shortlisted for junior research fellowships but didn't quite make it, and then I was invited to apply for a new lectureship at Manchester that specifically wanted what I'd worked on---but by this time I'd become involved in helping Cambridge's local Chinese immigrants so much that I was worried what would happen to them if I left Cambridge for Manchester. So my 6-month postdoc turned out to be the last research position I'd officially hold, although unofficially I've continued to help with various bits of research, and sometimes my name still ends up on papers---for example, when I wrote a bioinformatics algorithm to help a team at the pathology lab, I also sent it to a couple of contacts at other labs hoping it would help there too, and one said she's only allowed to use software that's been peer-reviewed in a biology journal, so we wrote it up for an OUP journal and they put me as first author---but that sort of thing is unlikely to get you a lectureship when you haven't had the official appointments to go with it. (It does however get me lots of unsolicited emails from predatory journals, plus some strange company that keeps wanting to buy the Illumina machine.)

但是没事:我仍然能做辅助教育(还有自愿教育),同时为本地公司做非全时工作。坚持“非全时”所以我仍然有力量做教育其实局限了我的工作机会,有时候我失业而用不少时间找到另一个(所以在简历上我想写某年不写某月),不过最终找到了。有时我进去本地小公司,如果他们足够小他们仍然有灵活性能改变规则说非全时可以(不过我得吸引他们才会有这个改变)。我发觉,如果每星期只做一两天那不足够,因为赶上其他工人和改变任务的“上下文交换”缓慢了我太多,不过每星期三天的工作我发觉可以了。电脑系校友通讯指出了一些跟电脑系有关的公司招聘电脑系校友。
But not to worry: I could still help with the teaching work in the "supervision" system (plus some voluntary teaching), and supplement this by working part-time for local industry. Insisting on part-time work so I still have energy left for teaching has restricted my options, and sometimes when one job finished it took me longer than usual to find the next (which is why I prefer to write CVs with years not months), but it has been possible, especially if I can join a company while it's still small enough to be able to change the rules if they want me. The only time it really didn't work was when I tried to put in just one or two days a week at a company---we found the overhead of catching up and context switching hurt my productivity too much---but three days a week has worked. The computer lab alumni newsletter has been a good way to find out about lab-related companies wanting lab alumni.

失去了公司工作有不同原因了。有些公司用掉了投资钱。有一次,大公司买了但不雇用我们开发者(那很可能是个不好的决定,我试试教他们的工程师怎样维持我的软件但我们的时间太短了),但另一个接管我会留下而工作更稳定,所以接管看来有利有弊。有一次小公司以前试试给我股票(后来发觉那接管变成百万英镑)但我拒绝了,因为我害怕股票就是“拥有”公司的一部分,我向着,如果我“拥有”咬人的狗,那条狗咬人是我的责任,所以,如果我“拥有”公司的一部分,而我不知道那公司偷偷犯罪(比如不纳税),我就被抓扔到监狱吗?电脑系有个商业课程,但他们不断谈到“资本”让我害怕变成狄更斯小说的反派角色,放弃那个课程,没想到后来拥有公司。后来才发觉,如果是个“有限公司”,警察不逮捕股东,也许能逮捕犯罪的老板但不逮捕非老板股东,你只失去股票而已。在道德上我仍然能做“拥有”的决定,比如,如果我知道某个公司做巨大的坏事,我能拒绝做他们的股东,但不过度查验他们的每一小事,好像我觉得为公共邮局工作没有什么不妥,不知不觉偶尔传送恶意邮政没改变这个原则。但在法律上你可以拥有任何有限公司的已付非老板股票而免得惩罚。但那时我不知道了,而不会暂停对话做研究,所以我错过机会。(下公司我接受股票但那公司失败了。)当然我不介意了(我不是一心要发财的人),这个我只提到是为了向下一代提供也许有用的信息。
Jobs in industry have "finished" for various reasons. Sometimes the company ran out of money. Once it got taken over and the new owners didn't want to keep the developers for long (which was probably a bad decision: I tried to teach their other engineers what I could, but time was limited); another time I survived a takeover with my job intact and more stable, so it can work both ways. In one case I'd been offered shares in the company (which, it later turned out, would have earned me about a million when it was sold) but I turned these down because I felt anxious about the concept of "owning" part of a company---if I own a dog that bites people, I'm held responsible, so if I own (part of) a company and didn't know they messed up their taxes or something, do I go to prison? I'd dropped out of the lab's Business Studies module when all their talk of "capital" made me feel like some kind of Dickensian villain; I wasn't expecting to end up owning companies. I later discovered that, as long as it's a "limited" company, there's no legal provision for punishing shareholders for a crime---they might punish directors (after investigating which ones were involved), but non-director shareholders have no liability once their shares are paid for. Unless you've also taken on some other responsibility (like guaranteeing the company's loans), the worst that can happen is you lose the shares. I can still make moral decisions about holding shares (if I know a company is heavily involved in something bad, I won't hold shares in it, but I don't feel a need to be excessively thorough about checking every little thing they do, any more than I'd feel bad about working for the General Post Office just because some mail is bad), but legally you can hold paid-up non-director shares in any limited company without being arrested for their actions. But I didn't know this at the time (and couldn't put the conversation on `pause' to check what being a shareholder implies), so I said "no" and missed it. (I then accepted shares from the next company, but those ones disappeared when the company shut down.) I don't mind; I'm just mentioning this in case it's useful for the next person to know.

So basically:

  1. if you want to be a lecturer, you'll need to optimise your first postdoc more than I did,
  2. if you must limit the place and/or time you'll work, there's fewer options but sometimes you can still work with startups etc,
  3. and if you do go into industry, make sure you know how shares work.

This page is not legal advice.


All material © Silas S. Brown unless otherwise stated.