I love Saturday nights, attached to the sofa, usually accompanied by a friend, a blanket, pizza, some sort of baked goods and maybe a cheeky glass of wine. There’s no science, no work, no stress. After fast forwarding through most of my Sky Plused, inexplicably addictive, Take Me Out (just to get to Take Me Out: The Gossip), we’ll most likely watch an easy going movie with the promise of minimal thinking.
Recently, this Saturday night joy was inadvertently invaded by work through a movie: The Five-Year Engagement. It stars That-Guy-From-How-I-Met-Your-Mother and That-English-Actress-Who’s-Not-Anna-Friel. Sounds like a fairly safe option for a chilled out Saturday night, right? Wrong!
As the title suggests, this movie is about one couple’s five years spent not getting around to getting married. Not-Anna-Friel is offered a job in the arse end of nowhere (N.B. that’s how the movie portrays it, not my opinion! I think Michigan looks rather charming). As a result of this her fiancé has to abandon his career and life to move half way across the country with her. This sort of compromise is not unusual in this sort of movie but at least the job causing all the fuss is usually something big or special. This job is a post-doc! It’s unclear from the movie whether it’s her dream job or actually just the only job. Not too far from reality for many in science.
Actually, things for Not-Anna-Friel progress on an unusually smooth path (apart from the breakdown of her relationship, obviously). She gets offered an assistant professorship. Brilliant, tenure in the place she never wanted to go! Even better, it turns out her success was mostly down to nepotism. Awesome.
I’m no movie critic anyway and besides, Rotten Tomatoes thought it “fresh” enough. The point of this post is really just to suggest that, if you are an early career researcher hoping to stay in academia, this might not be your top choice for relaxed viewing; it doesn’t exactly remind you of the benefits of this career path. Maybe stick with Disney.