Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Presenting my research

I put my hand up to present at the upcoming Postgraduate Seminar day. I had to pull my own arms to do it because I'm still not feeling completely up to speed but I think it will be a good time to get some input and will help me to articulate my findings in a structured and hopefully interesting way. Here is the draft abstract for the presentation. I'm not completely sold on the title yet. "Staying ahead" doesn't quite sum up the idea. "Staying on top of things" does but it's a bit clunky. Any ideas appreciated.

Always on, Staying ahead: the culture of availability and adaptability at work

This presentation will recap on the progress of my PHD research on office workers and their daily interactions with and through their information and communication technology (ICT). I will focus on the findings of the research I conducted in two organisations; a local city council in Sydney and a global telecommunications company based in Melbourne. Two themes emerging from this research are highlighted, first a pressure experienced by workers to be available (through their technologies) to work at any time and secondly, a pressure to stay on top of changes experienced in the technologies of work as well as in the volume and flow of work. The findings demonstrate how these demands are internalised and externalised by workers in their daily interactions with technology, how they are unevenly experienced across and within the two organisations and how workers obtain and keep their '-abilities'. The findings contribute to an understanding of how employability is heterogenously configured through sociotechnical arrangements and how it manifests in contemporary office work.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Long time, no post

Wow, being a parent takes up a lot of time. How do so many parents keep blogs? It seems an amazing feat of time management to me. After taking three months leave from my PhD I'm now back on the job. I started back two weeks ago and am slowly getting the old brain cells re-activated. Not sure if they'll ever be the same though I must say, mainly due to chronic low-level sleep deprivation. Actually, S. and I are very fortunate in that regard. Casper mostly sleeps through the night with one middle of the night feed and then wakes at 6am or 6:30am. I'm a bit surprised with myself that I enjoy parenting as much as I do. It's really hard work but the rewards are great. Casper pays me in smiles and cooing. Who would of thought they'd be so valuable?

I rented a room close by in a friend's house to use as my PhD office. Going out to Parramatta campus every day seemed a long way away if there were any problems at home and also now that I'm at the writing stage of my thesis I really need a quiet and private space. I've been riding my bike to my office in Dulwich Hill the last few days. The first day I rode I got hit by a car! It was quite a shock. I've never been hit before. I was cycling along Stanmore rode and a four wheel drive approached Stanmore Road from a sidestreet. He started moving forward just as I was cycling past the t-junction. For some reason (he claimed it was the sun in his eyes), he didn't see me and slowly advanced into me. Thank goodness it was slowly. As it was, he hit the side of my bike and I fell sideways onto Stanmore Road. There were no cars in my lane behind me otherwise I'd be splat. I pulled over and yelled at the man in the 4 wheel drive but it was hard to stay being angry with him since he apologised profusely and looked genuinely mortified at what he'd done. I've found a back route that is a little safer but it's frightening how easy it is for something unexpected to happen.