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I’m back!

I’m back! It’s been a very, very long time since I updated this blog, but in my defence things have been more than a little busy over here. I’ve been reading (and responding to, where I can) the many comments that still come in on my two posts on choosing qualitative research software for Mac users, and those have prompted me to get back into the habit of writing in here.

Last April I began working for Symphony3 – a consulting firm based in the Melbourne Docklands, where I’ve worked on social media projects for local, state and federal government clients, private industry and non-profit organisations. It’s been a hell of a ride: I’ve learned a great deal, and been able to directly apply many of the things I’ve explored in my PhD research. As part of that job, I’ve been maintaining blogs, twitter and other social media accounts for many different clients, which hasn’t left me with any energy to keep my own site up to date. However, in 2013 I will be looking for work elsewhere, in an attempt to get better at juggling my work-life balance to accommodate the newest development in my life…

2012-12-15 12.01.17Last October, my wife and I had our first child. Since Ariadne arrived, there have been some huge changes in my life: my priorities have been completely rearranged, and I’ve had to think about what kind of a parent I intend to be. That’s been a big shift: previously, I’ve been a huge advocate of doing what you love, in whatever form that takes (which inevitably seems to lead to a live to work attitude…). Looking at my own childhood, though, one thing that I can’t avoid is noticing how often my father (working 70-80 hour weeks) wasn’t around outside of family holidays. If I hadn’t spent a few years working with him after I moved out of home, I probably never would have got to know him very well at all.

I’m not prepared to squeeze my time with my daughter into short bursts of ‘quality time’ late in the evening and on a big holiday each year: that’s a great approach for those who want it, but it’s not how I want to spend the next stage of my life. I’m not sure exactly what I’ll be doing to pay the bills over the next little while, but I’m hoping to find something that lets me fit work in around my family, instead of the opposite.

Along the way, balancing consulting work and a new baby in the house left very little time for finishing off a thesis. My PhD has been stuck in an “all but dissertation” holding pattern for the past few months: I’ve jumped through the various hurdles regarding completion seminars and all that, and just need to finish writing the document so I can submit it. I’ve been on leave throughout January to achieve just exactly that, and have been writing like a mad thing since December 24th.

I’ll no doubt write a lot more about that over the next few months, in addition to going back and adding to the series of articles on qualitative research tools. If there’s a topic you’d like to read about later in the year, please let me know! I’m looking for suggestions about what to cover in this blog. In the meantime: thanks to all those who’ve left comments on earlier posts in this blog! It’s good to be back again.

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  1. Helena
    January 16, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Hi Ben,
    I’ve appreciated your blog posts in the past and just wanted to congratulate you on the safe arrival of Ariadne and wish you all and family all the best for the future. Exciting times!

    • January 25, 2013 at 12:14 pm

      Thankyou! I’ll be writing in here a bit more often this year – focusing on research, but with a side order of family updates… :)

  2. Jonathan O'Donnell
    January 20, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    Welcome back, Ben.

  3. January 21, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Hi Ben,
    Glad you’re back! Sounds like things are starting come back into balance a little again which is great.

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