How did you get a job like that?

I often get asked about my career path and I thought I would share my journey with you. The truth is my career has been one happy accident after another. I’m currently gainfully employed as a Research Technician in Ocean and Earth Science at the University of Southampton. I have been within the department for 8 years now doing a variety of roles.

It all began way back in 2004 when I took up a place to Study a BSc in Marine Biology at the University of Aberdeen. Once I finished my studies I went to work for the Majestic Line as a Wildlife Guide/Bosun. I sailed around the west coast of Scotland for a year or so, saw some wonderful sights.

I then moved south of the boarder to take up a place at the University of Southampton on the Oceanography MSc Programme – little did I know then that I would still be here 8 years later. While I was studying for my masters, I decided that I would like to stay within the department once my studies were over. Therefore I needed to find a job! It wasn’t easy but I managed to convince a few people to take me on part-time to make up a full time role. I spend half my time working as crew on the University’s Research Vessel Callista and the rest of the week working for the SERPENT Project.  I was a video analyst at SERPENT, I would spend most of may day cataloguing species from footage around the world. My favourite entry was this Pyrosoma found off the coast of Angola.

Pyrosoma sp. click the picture to find out more.


Me – crewing on the boat.

Then a different job as research Assistant came up within the department working with Professor Steven Hawkins. I then went from deep sea cataloguing to Rocky shore ecology. My entire working life was centred around the tide timetable – frequent 4am starts but it was a huge amount of fun and for me a personal honour to be traversing the coasts of the UK counting and monitoring all that could be found or not found as the case maybe.

                                                          Limpet survey in the Isle of Man.

New Haven, East Sussex at Dusk.

After this post came to end, I was lucky enough to secure permanent employment within the department. I am now a Research Technician – which is a simply a job title and doesn’t really explain my wonderfully crazy job. I love working within Ocean and Earth Science, I’m not sure where I really begin to describe what I do. This week for example I am busy trying to organize a sea survival course on Thursday I’ll be off to the Natural History Museum to measure historic limpets. Tomorrow I will be briefing our first years on the upcoming Easter Field Course. In the interest of brevity I shall stop here.  I have a few more blog posts to write about my current role which will give you a better insight into the department.



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