Some (ambivalent) news…

I haven’t written a blog post in two months. That’s dangerously close to dead-ending a blog. A few things have got in the way of my writing.

Rather fittingly, the first of those is work. I gave notice at my old job at the end of March (a few days after my last post), and the month following was mentally and emotionally difficult. I had already booked some leave (I went to New Zealand for a week), and the resulting truncation of time available for handover was really tough. In my last week at the old job I had an overnight trip to Perth, which was quite physically draining. I took a week off between jobs, but some unexpected expenses made that more stressful than I’d hoped, and now I’m in my second week of a new job, with all the stresses that entails. It’s a really, really good job, but it might interfere with this blog, because I’m now a public servant.

I’ve made very little effort, beyond a suitably vague profile photo, to conceal my identity on this blog. There are a few Nick Irvings out there, but a cursory search on Linkedin (which by now you know I use) would reveal exactly who I am. I’ve had a few anxious moments at work where I thought my ex-boss (who I have somewhat unwisely written about) might have stumbled on this blog. They really peaked when the Millennial Work Ethic piece got so much traffic on Medium. Ultimately I took the risk because I plan to publish one day and I want any success to accrue to my real name.

However, the Public Service has quite strict rules about what employees can and can’t say in public. Normally this would make me mad, but I really believe in the project of the state, and I really understand why it has to be this way. The short version is, I can’t make public statements on things that I’m working on at work – and the area I work in might overlap with the content of my research. Some of the things I want to say about the contemporary construction of work, and specifically the government’s role in it, might skirt the edges of the permissible.

It’s a somewhat frustrating coincidence, because I haven’t stopped reading in that two-month hiatus. In fact, I’ve been voraciously devouring stuff for what I’m thinking of as my methodology chapter, but will probably not be as academic as that in the final product. I’ve written a little bit about Foucault and Governmentality, but I’ve finished Security, Territory, Population now and I’m halfway through The Birth of Biopolitics. What I’ve read has radically re-ordered my thinking about this research project, and I really want to write about it – but this case has me a little worried.

In short, I’m still here, I’m still working on what I’ve been working on for a while, and I have lots of great ideas, but in an effort to maintain harmony between my work life and the life of my mind, it might be a little while before I can post anything substantive here again.

Stay tuned for more developments as they come to hand…

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