Ha, ha, so much for maintaining a regular academic blog. I’m really not sure how people do it, although it often involves describing details of their family life or some other bit of social life. But, since I have no life and my job sucks, that doesn’t leave much.
The good news…I’m not sure exactly what the good news is. I miraculously got a phone interview for a position that looks pretty damned good on paper. About the same teaching load and both the department and the institution seem to actually give a shit. They have a collective bargaining agreement and seem to expect all faculty to put in about the same effort. (The thought of merely having to do something like one person’s worth of work and not be the figurative janitor for the department almost makes me giddy.) On top of that they are actually considering people who aren’t fresh-faced noobs right out of their post-doc, i.e., someone at the Associate level. (No offense to fresh-faced noobs right out of their post-doc, just remember that if you don’t get the right job the first try, you may be fucked and far from home.) Remember, my career is teaching-heavy and undergraduate research-heavy, which are not valued activities like a “real” research program and thus not very “portable”.
However, I would need a couple of candidates to literally or figuratively shoot themselves in the foot, and a couple more to find a position elsewhere for me to have a shot now. Unfortunately, jobs in undergraduate departments at the Associate level are almost as rare as unicorns and I don’t intend to take the 30% or more salary hit just to start from scratch and spend another 6 or 7 years trying to get tenure again after what I’ve accomplished even if a department/institution were stupid enough to hire like that. (Losing tenure is a given if I were to move somewhere else so that by itself isn’t the issue.) Perhaps it’s false pride on my part, but I don’t know very many professors who have done that. I’d rather leave academia than start from scratch, but that would also mean leaving science. I don’t pretend that moving to another institution would be some sort of panacea, but at least I would have a shot at doing something worthwhile with my career.
Let’s see, what other boring stuff has been happening; my institution is stonewalling on actually installing some equipment I need for a new class/lab that is in progress. We’ve had the equipment for 8 months, but, hey, another good opportunity for my students to be fucked over. It’s also really fun for me to basically have to develop two curricula for a class in situ simultaneously, one the right way and the other the bullshit way to deal with the complete lack of institutional support. (BTW, the necessary support that is needed was laid out in an official document more than three years ago.) This will probably get me slammed on student evaluations, and thus a bad department evaluation, but hopefully it won’t.
Someone I know that could potentially be me if I hadn’t made the mistake to try to make something of myself offed himself in a particularly gruesome and poignant way very recently. That was really good for my psyche. As a bonus, the timing of finding out about it caused me to miss a day of classes and additional office hours, on which I got called out. At the risk of sounding insensitive, could we schedule those things for the summer when I won’t get in trouble, please? I can’t help thinking he probably had the right idea both in life and death.
I know I complain a lot, and that’s really why I don’t post here much anymore. Everybody has problems, and yet others seem to be able to find a way to post around them such that it doesn’t sound like a bunch of whining or begging for sympathy. I don’t think I’ve figured that one out yet.
Well, back to grading!