Interview challenge: day 9

I am feeling quite anxious about my interviews, already feeling it in my body and my mind, walking up in the middle of the night, dreaming of interviews, dreading making the calls. My back and neck muscles are aching, my heart is beating fast and butterflies in my stomach again.  Finally got feedback on my questions.  Not as bad as I was dreading, but still some work to do and input to consider.  Good thing is that tomorrow is cuchubal and will be a good time to relax with our good friends.

Managed to get some interview sessions booked.  Granted most of the people I have contacted I know previously through my work, but still they could have refused.  By talking to potential interviewees I found out that most on my list will be travelling to Fruit Logistica, and then harvest season starts!  That means I am better start booking people in, otherwise the research window is closing very quickly.  In the middle, I somehow have to get time for my family holiday and arrange camping for boys, and WORK!  At work I am waiting on response to my job application.  I am hoping that I got the job, but slowly getting used to the idea that I may go back to my previous role.



Interview challenge: day 9

Finally my fellow researcher was found! He’d been travelling and just got back. I’ve made an appointment for Friday to discuss the interview logistics. I have also decided to move interviews for a week, to give me time to contact potential interviewees. I think this is slowly moving. It concerned me a bit that he was saying that he had way too many questions, worrying given that I already have many questions.  How do we compromise? I am making a bit investment in my research in money, but as well in time and energy terms, and would not want to compromise the validity of my research.

Today I got feedback on questions. A lot of changes, but it is up to me to accept feedback. At the end I have to remind myself that I am doing this research for my PhD., and not be afraid to disregard input that, although valuable, is not relevant to my study.  Next step I’ll start to catch up  with some of my interviewees and ask about their availability over the next few weeks..  I will also have lunch with one of my potential interviewees and arrange a suitable time/place for interview.  She could well be my first interviewee, good way to start my research as I’ll take it as a practice run. I will start mapping up the chain,. with the information given at the workshop.  This blog is starting to pay off, as I am focusing more on the specific steps that I need to take and makes me actually do it, as I have to write up about it the next day!

This evening I went to the launch of the “Queensland Alliance”, a group of community, religious and unions. Their objectives are people’s power and community engagement. Gov was there giving it Government support, a bit of non-brainier given that an election is coming.  Interestingly, the opposition did not attend, I guess that it’s to be expected as the most of the people attending the event will not ever vote for him.  Still a bad image, he should have sent at least a representative. Anyway, a very good community initiative, and I hope it works well.

Interview challenge: day 8

In four days I am supposed to start my in-depths interviews, but my research colleague I am doing this interviews with has not contacted me yet. It’s a bit worrying because it means that I haven’t made the appointments with interviewees and I can’t manage my time. Also, I sent copies of my questions to three colleagues, but no feedback yet. My mind is going crazy trying to figure out why people have not answered my emails: are they too busy? Are they out? Don’t they like my questions? and worse, did project leader asked them not to contact me? After all I am just an student and I am imposing on them to review and think questions. Very stressful situation. What should I do? Maybe a should remain focus and believe that all is good,  colleagues will respond, fellow researcher is ok for next week, interviewees will be available for sessions and technology will work well.

What I have done is to get two horti colleagues to be my guinea pigs as I try out my interviews on them. I also updated instrument with feedback from China and added a few documents to my NVivo folder. Today, I will contact project partner and decide on next week interviews. I could always just do city interviews the week after and focus on regional interviews when I am back.  Today will be decision day.


Interview challenge: day 7

Yesterday I sent my draft interview participants invitation and interview plan to DPi colleague, still waiting for feedback.  Also waiting to hear from horticulturalists that I sent out my interview protocol for review.  If my DPi colleague is not ready, I will not be interviewing next week, better I will come back to work and take leave on last week of September.   I think that I need to practice my interviews technique before next week. Looking for volunteers now.  I may have to use Indian as a guinea pig, also maybe Suzy. Done, I got my guinea pigs.  I will ask today.

I have been thinking if I don’t get the AO7 job, I will take 3-6 month long service leave, or I could take leave for 1 day a week off over the next 3-6 months too.   Either way, I will take leave to concentrate in the qual analysis after the interviews and prepare the quantitative research.  I heard that coding in NVivo can take up to 3 months, plus 3 months analysis and writing.  So, maybe 6 months leave is not bad.  Otherwise, this may take me 12 months to complete, plus I need to work on my journal.

Today is book week, boy 2 will be going as Captain underpants.  I am bad at craft things, but I do enjoy helping the boys with their little projects.  Yesterday, we had a discussion with boy 1 and his lack of efforts when doing assignments.  Granted he is smart and does well in exams, but at school assignment work is as or more important than standarised tests.  Homestay student is coming to stay with us for a 4 weeks.   Just what I needed, another person to take care of.  I wonder if all these extra projects are just part of my procrastination efforts.  Nothing makes me do other difficult, stressful things like my Phd!


Interview challenge: day 6

Yesterday I had a very good chat with my long time friend, he is the hospital suffering from severe depression and anxiety.  Sad to see such a great person suffering like that. Happy that he’s so well looked after and got many people caring for him.  We had a chat about our shared history, that PS and the future. He’s still thinking of going back to uni, travelling the world and getting back to Asia.  It seems that his love of learning will keep him focused, but most importantly alive. I wished him the very best and will try to keep in contact with him.   Ps .. the drive home was ok, with only minor anxiety thanks to cumbia music –  butterflies on my stomach.

As for my PhD work, I typed the notes from the informal discussion with the transporter last week. At the site, I took so many notes and recorded a bit of the discussion just as an exercise. I downloaded voice recording, converted from itunes to mp4, the loaded into Nvivo, then started the transcribing directly into Nvivo. Fantastic, now I know how to integrate the technology.  I also downloaded the AudioMemes app to use during my interviews.   This week, I will also check with our admin person at uni the process for getting transcribers appointed and airflights booked. I will also talk to my DPi person about making the interview appointments.   These part of my research I find it very challenging.  Butterflies again.


Interview challenge: day 5

I am at my mums picking up boy 2 and celebrating nephew’s Pirate birthday party. The drive from home to here was long and I got anxiety. Getting a bit worried about this driving anxiety, it started when driving to GC a few years ago, but I kind of managed it by not driving to the GC.  Lately I have noticed that driving to mums is also getting in my nerves. Terrible feeling: cold hands, sweaty all over, stomach upset, heavy breathing, blurry vision and confused thinking. Now even thinking about it makes me anxious. What to do? My sister in law mentioned that maybe I am stressed about something else and it’s being manifested in my driving, será? Could it be? Mum suffers from severe anxiety, so maybe hereditary too? I am also going to visit a good friend of mine at a medical facility. He’s is in there because of anxiety and severe depression. He has been a good friend for a long, long time. My best male friend ever. So sorry he is in this situation. I hope he finds love and gets better.

Well, I am thinking that  I could be anxious about my interviews? It could well be. Yesterday I sent my draft interviews to three horticulturalists asking for feedback.  Next week I am planning to make appointments with at least 4 – 5 interviewers. I get DPi 1 to make appt with growers 2-3? I Should I ask DPi 2 for contacts in  IT ?? 

Next is the long drive back home. Breath and relax. Enjoy!

Interview challenge: day 4

So glad the week is gone!! So very busy: boy 1 sick, boy 2 sick taken to my mum, hubby had medical procedure at hospital, workshop with project team, 8hrs driving, busy at work with CEOs travels and  finally job interview.

And, YES, I had my AO7 job interview today, I was stressed, got a bit  of anxiety before the interview. I think session went well, but still got my doubts. It may take a couple of weeks before I know the the outcome.  If I get this job, it will the first time in 14 years that I get a real promotion.  It has taken me that long to get here.  If I don’t get it, I must just about to give up as I will not get a better chance.  It will be very disappointing, as it will mean that I have not done my work well enough over the past 18 months.  As I was so stressed out after the interview that I stayed with colleagues for a few drinks and later in the evening hubby organised for some pupusas for dinner.  Yum, yum, classic Salvadorean comfort food, when all goes wrong just have a pupusas and be happy.


Interview challenge: days 1, 2 and 3

I was away having a project team workshop. Had a great time understanding about the project, taking to scientists and sharing experiences with fellow PhD students.  Met other academics and reengaged with old colleagues.   The big ticket was the site visit to a  transport company.  Lots of learning and information. Also gave my survey questions to a few colleagues for feedback.  The social part of the workshop was great too, awesome Italian restaurant, winery visits and Aussie pubs. 

Today my hubby had a medical procedure at hospital. My comadre picked him up from hospital.  At work things are crazy with two CEOs travelling in the next few weeks, so much to do in such a short period of time. Tomorrow I am having my job interview. I am a bit worried as the job was so popular and many applications. Very stressed with all the things happening around me. Must take a breather and calm down. 

Ethics challenge: day 31

Last day of this ethics challenge, great I accomplished it and ready for the next stage of my research! This is the first morning for over a week that I am feeling ok.  Head and ears still hurt, but whole body aches are gone.  Good timing to start a new challenge. I think I am going to call it: Interview challenge.  The data gathering has always the weakest point in my research, a real challenge very aware of that.  I have been out of industry for a while and will find it difficult to start cold calling people to make appointments. God help me.  So many instances when I have called divine intervention, at the end it will the Lord’s dissertation more than my own! Good thing is that I am still a believer, not very devout and a bit of the liberal type, but a believer nonetheless.

God has been good to me, a year ago I didn’t have a topic, my supervisors were non-existent and had no project to be attached too. Fastrack to now: I got an ok and a great supervisor, I got a topic, a theory, my very own model, I got an industry project, and the best of all I am confirmed and with ethics clearance.  Got a sort of a plan, plus got an interview instrument.  I think this is progress, and it’s all thanks to God and his/her many manifestations: family, friends, colleagues, supervisors and the invisible hand of love. Very grateful now.  There will be so many more challenges, plenty of disappointments and lots of hard work, sweat and tears.  I am not confident of my abilities, the impostor syndrome hitting hard, but I am confident that God will be with me, after all “The Lord is my shepherd”, Psalm 23.

lord is my shepard

Ethics challenge: day 28, 29 and 30

This  ethics challenge is coming to an end.  this has been a very productive month, ethics paperwork prepared, submitted and approved.  Research questions drafted and discussed.  Protocol ready to be discussed and pilot tested.  Chat with other university done.  Invited to attend project workshop.   From a uni perspective very productive month.  Professionally, I  applied for job and hopefully will get an interview.  Happy with my application, but not too confident as you never know in the PS.  At home main thing has been the confirmation. It went so well, boys happy, this mum – me – very pleased with herself.  The photos taken by the church photographer are very nice, much nicer (and focus) than any of the photos I took.

I have been sick, off work for almost a week. In bed most of the time, terrible cold and ear infection.  Glad that I could stay at home, but sad that I was not able to do much given how sick I have been.  Mum unwell too, glad she’s back at her place.  Boy 1 also didn’t go to school for most of the week.  Glad this week was ekka week, so we all had a day at home to recover and drink soup.

Thinking of next challenge.  It will needs to be in-depth interview challenge.  During this week, I am off to pilot test my questions and refining questionnaire instrument.  Next week making phone calls, arranging interviews and finding out best way of recording discussions.  Conducting interviews during first week September. Scary, scary, stage of research, but should be ok.  I have done this type of work many times before, so I should not be very afraid of doing it now.  I should be more afraid of procrastination than of the work itself.  For instance, i should be updating my interviews so I can print and take to workshop tomorrow.  I’ll do it tonight. Some sort of progress.