My latest mini-meltdown came after eight years in research employment, at the beginning of Contract No. 17. It came late. I’d lost a couple of thousand GBP from moving out hastily, lived for two months with my mum, moved far from the city of my university to use the affordable seaside lets in winter, and was about to live out of a suitcase in a youth hostel while my “permanent” accommodation became free. Three masters, PhD, top UK University and all. Most read paper of the month and a “will be delighted to hear about your ongoing work” letter from a senior parliamentary official in my inbox.