... has just come home from his first day in the office with a family friend who's a Senior Counsel in the city. Still looking pretty spruce in his skinny black jeans, dark red shirt, v-neck jumper and sharp black tailored jacket, he's collapsed exhausted in front of the Simpsons (well, I presume he's taken the jacket off!). He spent much of the day in the Supreme Court, observing appeals today; and meditating on the balance of incredibly interesting and boring that is the law. He also had the fun of catching up for lunch with a dear friend who's doing his work experience in the Federal Court.
For his second week, next week, he's working in a fruit and vegetable shop in Brunswick.
Of all the things this boy has done this last year — grown taller than me, cycled in Italy, wandered around selected blocks of Manhattan on his own, performed with his jazz group at various school venues — this business of heading off into the city for work is the one that has most made me reflect on the years that have passed since he used to sit up in his high chair wearing a stripey jumper knitted by Nana and eating toast.
Weird to meditate on the nature of work, today, too. I gave a little talk this morning on a panel about finding academic employment. Don't know what planet the HR person was from: the advice to find an academic job by searching the University of Melbourne's job list would have sounded somewhat hollow to anyone in Arts... But the muscle wastage expert and I were of surprising accord: no, the pay is incommensurate with the hours you put it; no, it's incredibly difficult to strike the right balance between teaching and research; but yes, the job is great and still worth doing if you love the research.
But the struggle never ends. As Gordon and I both said, you will be continually asked to excel, to exceed expectations, to perform and to compete.
For example. We've just heard that our application for an ARC Centre of Excellence (the History of Emotions, 1100-1800) has made it to the final cull. We think there are about 15 applications left, of which perhaps 10 will be funded. So I have to start preparing to go to Canberra to be interviewed in early July — and to Perth next week to be grilled by way of a practice interview. L'horreur!!! But it would be truly wonderful if this UWA centre, with nodes in Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne were funded. Fingers crossed...