It is surprisingly hard to earn an honest living in today's world. I have spent almost half a century seeking what the Buddhists call 'right livelhood' and am still searching. Foolishly, I thought I could avoid doing much harm by staying within the university system. That probably was an illusion even when I started and is even more of a forlorn hope these days. But by the time I woke up to the fact that universities tend to undermine the values I expected them to promote it was getting very late for a change of course. To my shame, I hung on even longer. However, now I'm outside the system, thus forced to consider alternatives.
So what does a natural-born researcher in exile from the so-called academic world do to earn a crust? Well, if the thing he is most used to is analyzing data, he sets himself up as a freelance data analyst. I think it is true to say that in every project I have been involved with, in private or public sector, the data to be investigated have, at least initially, been 'unfit for purpose' (as they say). Nevertheless, after an inordinate amount of effort devoted to 'data cleansing' (to use another fashionable phrase) they have occasionally yielded glimmerings of insight.
The experience of picking up the faint whisperings of a signal in a cacophony of noise is intensely satisfying. I have enjoyed that satisfaction more than once, and would be happy to experience it again -- all the more so if someone is paying me to do it. So if you have data that you suspect holds secrets that you haven't so far had time or ability to uncover, consider setting me to work on it.
|First eight hours||four times national minimum wage|
|Next eight hours||thee times national minimum wage|
|Thereafter||twice national minimum wage|
For jobs likely to exceed a day I request the first eight hours paid in advance; likewise for jobs likely to exceed 2 days I request the first 16 hours in advance. (Travel expenses, if relevant, to be agreed case by case.)
You'll find that I'm easy to work with on a professional level; don't over-estimate my hours; have a knack of uncovering the unsuspected; and write very readable reports.
To contact me, see my home page. To gain an idea of what I can do, please have a look at my C.V.
If anyone out there wants to join in, please let me know. At present, I view Research4Rent as my personal life-raft. But if it floats it could form part of a merry little convoy. To come ashore from these nautical metaphors .... what I have in mind is some kind of free-range think-tank, a network of independent researchers who can find things out a little more nimbly and at noticeably less cost than the lumbering grant-driven projects that dominate the research landscape today -- with their 'workpackages' (ughh!) and 'deliverables' (argh!), their ill-assorted consortia, their Ruritanian partners, their 'impact statements' and pseudo-objective pseudo-evaluations. And please don't get me started on 'intellectual property rights' -- just a weasely legal trick for ensuring that intellectuals don't have any rights to property!
If such a mutual assistance network were to come into being, I hope it would be taken as axiomatic by all concerned that it would have to be organized as a co-op. The phenomenon of the joint-stock company has done enough damage over the past 200 years, especially the last 20. This isn't the time to be adding more of them.