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The Furious Academic Issue 1: My Bookshelf is Too Big

A picture showing 2 bookshelves with books on next to each other

Having recently added ‘Academic’ to my repertoire – and in no small part to a fantastic seminar on ‘Promoting Your Research Using Social Media’ (thank you @rett_york)  – I thought it prudent to reinvigorate the blog.

Writing within the category of ‘The Furious Academic’, I hope to bring a daily(ish) insight into the world of Reality-Based Safety Science (NDAs permitting) – injecting my own ‘unique’ style of humour (unfunny) where possible into the interconnected worlds of Consultancy and Academia.  With luck this will be both cathartic (for me) and of interest to you, dear reader.

For some while I had toyed with the idea of vlogging, but as I have been told that I have the perfect face for radio, I have elected to stick to the written word for now – and retain podcasting as a possibility for the future.  I guess I’ll just have to see how successful this blogging can become.  It IS hard work you know….

So, onto the title of this first (for a while) blog post.  In my professional life to date I have been on a video-conferencing journey:

  • Used artificial backgrounds (a stock photo of a library bookshelf)
  • Used artificial backgrounds with a green screen on a stand (still a stock photo of a library bookshelf, but my arm didn’t disappear when gesticulating)
  • Used artificial backgrounds (as above, but put the company logo above ‘the shelves’)
  • Stopped using artificial backgrounds when a good friend pointed out that the resolution was so large that either the books were all over a foot tall, or I had become a borrower.

Now thankfully, I have a very good and professional home office (not a shoffice, or the spare room) – but a dedicated room that IS an office.  It has cabinets, filing cabinets, pictures, computers (4!) printers, shredders, stationery etc…AND a bookshelf.

Or at least it DID have a bookshelf, it now has 2.

When it was the (singular) bookshelf I could position myself and the webcam on the PC or Macbook so that I was haloed by a FULL bookshelf.  Not a library per se – but definitely shelves with some that were double-lined with books.  I was proud of my surroundings, and they radiated ‘well-read’ and oozed ‘interesting’ (I hope) throughout my actual background.

And then we redecorated. 

And bought another bookshelf.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am immensely happy with my upgraded office, but the distribution of book-wealth now makes it appear I don’t particularly like reading!  I will continue to grow my book collection – an eclectic mix of titles that I have proudly arranged:

  • PhD
  • Research Areas
  • Science
  • Engineering
  • Safety Science
  • Biographies and Autobiographies
  • Reference
  • Humour
  • God know what category these fit into, so I’ll just put them here.

Most of my reading is from academic papers, and it has taken me many years to get comfortable with reading digitally (screen and tablet anyway – I can’t do ‘phone yet), which aligns with the green credentials of this ageing hippy – yet hanging an iPad from the wall just won’t cut it as a background.

Printed academic literature is notoriously expensive to purchase, so I will continue to grow the collection slowly.  In the meantime, as you look at my actual background, you’ll just have to trust me that I DO read a lot…it just isn’t on display.

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The Furious Engineer is Matt Osborne - the founder of the company. Matt is a a Research Fellow, an Independent Consultant; and a Chartered Engineer