A friend who’s known me for nearly 10 years recently observed: “Everyone’s life turns in circles – it’s just that yours seems to spin faster than other peoples'”. There’s a lot of truth in that.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been on the move. The lease on my Soviet-era flat in Primorskaya ran out, and I’ve moved into a new studio apartment right in the centre of historic St. Petersburg. The availability didn’t quite match, so I had to spend a couple of weeks living out of my suitcases in a temporary apartment in Dekabrovista Ulitsa, just around the corner from St. Isaac’s Cathedral. This is one reason why I haven’t posted any updates for a while – but not the only one! I’ve been setting up some online learning systems, and listening to what my students would like the world to know about their country…
The big event of the week was of course Friday: May 9th, Victory Day – the anniversary of the Second World War. 20 million Soviet citizens died during the war; the overwhelming scale of their loss, and of their overwhelming contribution to the defeat of Nazi Germany often isn’t sufficiently acknowledged in the West.
That said, Victory Day turned out to be quite different to what I had expected. I knew there would be military parades; I’ve seen them on YouTube, and I remember from news programs when I was young how Kreminologists would study them carefully to see who was standing where on the podium outside the Kremlin to take the salute, and whether there was any new military technology on display.
So, I had a mental image of a show of military strength crossed with Britain’s Armistice Day tributes: a solemn, restrained day, spent in quiet remembrance.
After three years at Swansea School of Management, I’m moving on. It’s been an eventful period of my life, and one with a lot of positive takeways. I’m pleased with the work I’ve done under challenging circumstances, and I’ve learned a great deal from my interactions with a diverse and interesting student body.
However, as I teach my students in my Strategic Management modules, the environment is always changing, and we have to change with it. The skill set that I’ve built up over the years is no longer appropriate to the new direction my role was taking; at the same time, the strategic direction that the organisation has chosen wouldn’t help me achieve my personal or career goals.
Taking the decision to leave wasn’t easy. Contracts for lecturers require a full term’s notice, which at best means around three months. Since I was leaving the Higher Education sector, this was a problem. I interviewed with a few potential employers who were interested – but the three-month wait was a deal-breaker. In the end, I had to jump without a parachute, and hope that something would turn up…