Well, I guess this is goodbye. They say all good things must come to an end, and I guess they must be right. Except in Australia that is, where they say, "Go you good thing!". Which suggests they don't know when to give up. But that's another matter.
Anyway. Am moving on.
As I mentioned earlier this week I'm changing jobs and taking on a senior position with another Department. I could have tried to gain permission to continue writing here to Public Address, but I figured that I'd bow out gracefully before Kevin List decides to dig out dirt on my private life and "destroy me". Don't think it couldn't happen. Lots of women want to get with tall, skinny men. Seriously... Sometimes I can't sleep at night for the sound of jilted lovers bouncing love-note-scrawled stilettos off my screen door.
Well... Two and a half years aeh? It's been a long day since I sat in a Cafe in Melbourne and knocked out the first few guest posts. For those of you who may not have been reading since the beginning, Russell likes to joke that when he first me me I worked as dishwasher, and now I have a PhD! This is well true.
Back in 2004 I was struggling with the long grind towards the completion of my degree. For those of you smart enough to avoid taking one of these things on, the last year or so is the worst. Most people feel like they're lumbered with a project that never ends, and which haunts their waking hours. Some compare it to running an intellectual marathon. Others to reaching a high plateau during a mountain climb, the air is thin and the walk looks sooo much shorter than it really is. And they're right. By the end of the process you're emotionally, physically and spiritually drained.
I however liken it to being beaten up, to join a gang of geeks. They mostly do it with endless harsh words and scathing criticism.
But if you have the stamina to finish? Then you can count yourself lucky, and hard-working. The number of drop-outs from the process is very high.
Now, add to all that working in a kitchen as a dishpig. Jesus I worked like a slave in that role. I routinely pulled 70+ hour weeks for three years, with Club Politique just starting in the third year, when my body had begun to give out from the strain. Sometimes it would take 4 of those Nurofen Plus tablets to get my hips and knees through a 8 to 12 hour shift.
As you can imagine, finishing the final draft and packing up to come home to New Zealand was a welcome change.
My new role is a senior researcher, which is kind of like being a 'public service academic'. Before coming home I knew I'd have to spend an additional three to four years working part-time and/or on contract before being given anything like a permanent role in a university. After which time you're pretty much dedicated to dealing with students and the need to permanently publish. Me? I say, "No thanks". At least in my new role, as sold to me that is, I get to do actual research and analysis, and without the spotty oiks. So while I might have sold out, at least I didn't do so cheaply. Not cheaply at all.
OK. Highlights of the past few years? Readers. The only reason I embraced Public Address the way I have done is because of you, the reader. Getting feedback from people, and seeing that they'd embraced my ideas, or learnt something from them, or finding out that people had been talking (and therefore thinking) about something I'd also been thinking about has given me more pleasure than you can imagine.
When it all boils down to it know-it-alls like myself are all about getting across ideas. Some are all about guru-status and being the one who knows everything. Others are more about transmitting new and exciting ideas. And others are just about getting out information and enjoying that at least some of it 'sticks', which is where I fit in.
I think my only regret during this time was not learning Māori quickly enough to blog in te reo. That would have taken PC to a new level. Ah well.
So I guess this is time to thank all of you.
First thanks to Russell and crew, from the bloggers to the behind the scenes guys. A better group of people you couldn't imagine.
Second thanks to all those leant-on people who carried, and sometimes dragged, my sorry carcass all the way through the degree. I can say without self-consciousness that it's a long way from being denigrated as a "state-house, solo-mum's bastard" to where I am today.
And third, thanks you to all for reading. She's been a long 29 months. At the end of the day it was all about you. All the little glimpses into my thinking. All the rants. All the small visions of where I was at. All the shaggy dog stories and descriptions. All the highs and lows. They were all for you.
And so this is goodbye. And a few final words?
"Be good for each other, you fuckers."