I have been going back to work on and off (more off than on to be honest) for the past month, to try and finish off The Last Mediocre Paper, and I’m feeling rather pissed off about it. If my motivation levels could sink any lower they would be subterranean. Rationally I know that, since most of the work is actually done, I should really do this last push and get it published. The Pavlovian Reflex of ‘publish or perish’ acquired after more than a decade of postdoccing really makes it impossible to just shrug and leave the stuff there. Continue reading
Theoretically I’m still working till the end of the week, but I’m off to France tomorrow for some early redundancy rest. Was going to make an amusing poster of the Top Man of our place telling me: “All your frog are belong to us”, but when I consulted a couple of friends they thought it might be a bit controversial, and could be taken in the wrong way.
One would hope The Powers That Be would have a sense of humour, but who knows. Of course there is the question, “do I care?”, what can they do, fire me? But I shall not be paid the redundancy money till the end of this month, and the redundancy money is essential for my plan to delay the inevitable day when I have to stack Tesco shelves for benefits. So I decided to play it safe and left this:
I came, I mapped, I left defeated
It is the middle of the Easter long weekend, I had not done anything or gone anywhere yesterday, and I have not done anything today, yet. I wonder if this is a dry run of what the redundancy will be like. So far it is not bad at all. I spent all morning in bed, typing away on my new, absolutely beautiful macbook air (yes I bought it, yes I can’t afford it and yes I love it!). Eventually the internet connection became too weak (I really should have bought a stronger router), so I was forced to migrate to a sleeping bag on the sofa, where I can continue to type. All in all I feel like this:
In my defence, after an excellent early summer, it has become quite cold, which makes lounging in bed, sleeping bags irresistible. Hey its better than contributing to climate change by turning the central heating on, isn’t it? Also I haven’t been quite completely unproductive. Yesterday I made a squidoo lens about tree frogs (views so far 0, but an angel-squid angel-blessed my previous post about geckos, don’t ask). I have answered 3 questions on WebAnswers, favourite question today: “is the human fetus a parasite?” I also keep periodically checking my adsense account to keep an eye on my growing fortune (views so far today:53, clicks:1).
But I do worry that this kind of existence might not be very healthy in the long term. Not to mention if the whole internet doesn’t dramatically improve I will soon become broke. It is great fun to see that I have £5 in my adsense account from not doing very much in April, but it’s not really a very practical way of living.
Anyway I am not redundant yet. I had agreed with Big Boss that I will give him the first draft of the Results section (and materials and methods) of the ‘Yet Another Mediocre Paper’ that he insists we must publish, on Wednesday. I really cannot imagine how I will motivate myself for the hundreds of re-writes necessary to produce this paper which will do absolutely nothing for me and which I don’t care about at all, but I one draft at a time. I guess I should drag myself from the sleeping bag and drag myself to the lab, so I can start procrastinating at my desk. Maybe I will answer a couple more WebAnswer questions first.
Yesterday was R-day minus one month, the fateful day is approaching with great inevitability. The exact one year anniversary of that very interesting lab meeting, where we went in, to seminar room N9, expecting to get an update from Big Boss about the conference he had just attended. To our great surprise were joined by the Head of HR, the Head of Group (HoG) and some other Human Resources woman (who had just started, we have a huge turnover of HR people, I don’t think they manage to last very long dealing with our obscure scientist problems and our far-on-the-autistic-spectrum personalities).
This all seemed rather strange to our little unsuspecting souls, apparently Big Boss had known for some time that we were going to be culled, but wasn’t allowed to tell us. As far as we knew he had somehow miraculously survived the Review, the previous year. There was some stress around the review time, but then we just forget about it, while at the same time admiring Big Boss’s survival ability. I was always reluctantly impressed that he could keep (just) beating the Reviews, with so little to show for himself, but apparently you can only keep beating the system so long.
The fateful meeting was made even more bizarre because the one missing person was the Trade Union representative. There was a rather awkward period when nobody was saying anything and the Lesser HR Woman was running around trying to locate the one person you would think would make an effort to make this easy for us. Anyway in the end the HoG, a very distinguished scientist, stood up and told us that we might be surprised to hear this (apparently Big Boss had somewhat lost it in front of the director when he was being told) but the lab was going to be closed down.
I must say that if one must be made redundant, our place is probably one of the top ones to have that done to you. One year notice and generous redundancy payment. Still the whole thing was rather unpleasant. I think Big Boss was a little bit worried that I would have a hysterical reaction. But I had been so unhappy in that place for such a long time…..I felt a little bit like a suicidal person being told that they have a terminal disease, it seemed a bit hypocritical to suddenly wail and tear one’s hair out about the injustice of fate.
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How many blogs, WebAnswers, hubs must I write before I can afford to get Dave Cameron to cook me dinner at his place? Since it is the end of the month (ok that was a couple of days ago but I still do have a day job), I think it’s traditional to do a summation of earnings and activity. According to my own pitiful little corner of adsense I have made £5.32 in the month of March. Most of that came from WebAnswers, where I get most of my page views, that’s the cyan line in the graph below. So at £250,000 for kitchen sups, and assuming 100 questions answered, that’s 5 milion questions…hmmm. You can of-course try to just pay 100,000 but apparently that doesn’t get you the really gourmet Cameron cuisine.
Ok this doesn’t really represent true monthly earnings. I didn’t start with adsense till about the middle of the month, I didn’t start webanswers till a few days ago. Also even I believe that things will imporve, traffic will increase, Google might learn to hate me less (or rather ignore me less). I have actually seen some increase in my hubpages traffic in the last couple of days, some of the people even came there from google, and I will keep writing more hubpages which should increase earning. The question is whether things will improve enough to allow me to actually make a living, and I must admit that one would have to be extremely optimistic to think that would be possible. I can imagine things improving tenfold, but 400x fold?
The problem is there is only one WebAnswers. I could start another blog, make a few more static websites, but I can’t really increase my number of answered questions indefinitely. There is some risidual income, as people view old questions but I don’t think that works so well. To try and drive more traffic to my sites I joined pinterest and pinned some pictures of Zoidberg and the geckos, I am not sure if this will do anything, time will tell. I am also now considering freelance writing. E-how apparently pay $15 per article submitted, so if I could manage 5-6 articles per day that might just save me. All the freelance writing sites require you to submit a ‘sample writing’, I am suddenly very scared of applying and keep putting it off. What if I am rejected?
All these rather depressing thoughts have made me impulsively order a macbook air. I have coveted one for ages, and I am getting redundancy money, and I have savings. If I don’t start earning money I have enough to survive for X number of months. Will it really make much difference if it is X months-3 weeks?
A couple of days ago I gave a talk at the annual national meeting for our particular community, studying the model system. This was the third time I talked at the meeting and the contrast with the first tow times, when I was enthusiastic about presenting the exciting progress was pretty bitter. The talk went ok, I got a lot of questions at the end (nothing worse than giving a talk, and then having to sit through the embarrassed silence, waiting Continue reading
Making Money online by selling stock photographs
I stumbled on the whole concepts of stock photographs when I began working on my gecko site and needed some nice images of leopard and crested geckos, which I don’t keep. The internet is awash of gecko pictures (the internet is awash with everything), but I started worrying about copyright. Anyway a bit of googling later I came across 123RF, a site that buys and sells royalty free stock photographs, you pay them a little bit of money and you can use the photo for free (although you don’t buy the copyright, so they don’t sell it exclusively to you). Each photo came under £1, for the small size.
Because of my new-found pit-bull terrier like focus on making money online I decided to sell some of my own stock photographs. This resulted in hours of looking through all my snaps on Picassa. One of the problems is that they couldn’t have any sentient beings in them, well they could but then you have to submit a release from the people in the photos, which I didn’t really want to ask for. Quite a few of possible photos were too small, I lost the original files, to sell them as stock photographs they have to be big in pixels, facebook compresses your images! Anyway eventually I selected 12 photos, and submitted them. One thing that I found strange was that I had to upload a photo of my passport.
It gave me great satisfaction to think that 10 of my photos are now “stock photographs” online, marked with 123RF copyright, waiting to be sold (I think I make 50% from the sale). I sat there holding my breath, waiting for the clamour for photos of Zoidberg, the giant waxy monkey frog who lives in my flat, to start and requests to pour in. Incidentally Zoidberg definitely considers himself to be a Sentient Being and I tend to agree but I guess 123RF aren’t worried about him suing them, and I don’t think he minds being the subject of stock photographs, he didn’t say anything when I asked him. After a few minutes I looked to see how many photos there are on the site: >1 million. Ok I guess people might have some trouble finding Zoidberg amongst all the inane flower and tree pictures. It is really worth persevering though, I mean don’t you think he’s the coolest frog ever? Did you notice the green nail polish he uses? Don’t you want to buy a photo of him? I could even throw in a complimentary recording of his love songs with which he serenades my neighbours every night!