Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Big Thirsty.

If I Didn't Have This Gig, 
What I'd Like to Do Is 

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48 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Now I'm going to have that damn RATT song stuck in my head all day. Thanks.

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  2. If I didn't have my present gig, I would have tried harder to have kept my previous job, as an Accursed Visiting Assistant Professor at a private college near a major NASA facility. Judging by how things went for subsequent poor suckers who held that job, as well as my subsequent history with publications and especially external funding, I may well have been promoted to associate or even full professor by now.

    I would still be accursed, however, since it's unclear whether I would ever have been able to discard the accursed title of "visiting." Seeing as there was no tenure at that school for anyone anyway, it’s unclear how much that mattered: but the chronic anxiety would certainly never have stopped, and the pay was lousy.

    Why stay there, then? It's not easy to make a living as a space visionary, you know. In a way, it was wonderful: it was like getting to teach at Starfleet Academy, during a more interesting period in history, the period when humans are still learning how to learn about the Universe.

    Unfortunately, the administration knew this, and consequently they treated the faculty as serfs. Also, all was not perfect with the students: although many of them were great to work with, about half of them were hand-holding intensive. This was abetted by the administration’s quite blatant attitude that the studnets were customers, not to mention the sky-high tuition they charged them.

    My conscience would therefore quite possibly bother me to this day, about how we were quite unable to give our students educational value anywhere close to what they were paying, with the budget our overlords deigned for us to be grateful. This was the kind of place where I burst out laughing the first time I saw on an office door a sign saying, “THE BEATINGS WILL CONTINUE UNTIL MORALE IMPROVES.” Yes, I am much better off in my present gig, imperfect still though it is.

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  3. I'd probably post and comment on other academic blogs. Sure, being a member of CM is lots of fun and Lord knows I earn all the pay I receive but there are other options almost as good.

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  4. My post-retirement plan: raking the gravel in a Zen garden.

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    Replies
    1. I plan to sell zen garden gravel to recent retirees.

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  5. museum work or writer. My IT skills are too outdated now to go back to what I used to do. Unless Windows v. 3 returns...

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  6. Work in a liquor store.

    They say do what you know, right?

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  7. Paint. Sleep. Get enough exercise and eat healthy meals. Read.

    But you know what? As I'm thinking about this, I realize that I always end up in some kind of teaching role, even in my personal life. Always have, probably always will. It's like Groundhog Day. Or Dante's Inferno. LOL!

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  8. Make things in my studio. Wear black to my art shows and spout deep things about my work.

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  9. Be a competitive napper. Surely if we work together it could become an olympic sport?

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  10. Humorous travel writing. Or my dream job designing large Lego structures.

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  11. Landscape architect. Or star of musical comedies on Broadway.

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  12. I've always wanted to be a lumberjack.

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    Replies
    1. sleeps all night and works all day?

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    2. And cuts down trees and skips and jumps, and presses wild flowers!

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    3. Stop it, STOP IT! You're not going into a song NOW...

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    4. If not now, then when, darling Frod?

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    5. At the end of Scene 24, of course, which is a smashing scene in which Arthur and Bedevere find an important clue...

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  13. Work at the public library, read books and scrapbook...

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  14. Raft guide during the day, read books in the evening.

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  15. Sometimes I think about ditching academia and going into industry. I'd make a loooot more money in my field if I applied the skills instead of teaching them. If I didn't do that, though, I might like to be a commercial diver, albeit not one who works in the North Sea or similar godforsaken locations.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Unknown. One of the blog rules asks that users not use "non-names. "Do not post anonymously or with "non-names" like Nobody, No One, Anonymous Prof, etc."

      We welcome your involvement, but in the future, could you please choose a pseudonym?

      Thanks.

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    2. This post is mine. I posted it under my login name, but the name didn't stick. Dunno why.

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  16. My "thing" is statistics and data. I would like to be in Institutional Research (please don't hate me.)

    Or professional fantasy baseball manager. I know someone who, before the Great Recession, quit their job and focused entirely on a fantasy baseball game that had a $100,000 first prize. He won.

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    Replies
    1. Hey, somebody needs to do IR, and the results can even be useful, if they're not massaged for PR purposes, or used for nefarious ones -- i.e. promoting greater "efficiency" in teaching. From what you've written here, I'd be happy to have you in our institution's IR office (which actually seems to be reasonably competent, and at least somewhat on the side of the angels. One of the reasons I benefit from reading here is that I realize that things could be a great deal worse in my neck of the woods. I still want a raise, and better working conditions, but perspective is nonetheless helpful).

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  17. I want (are you listening, Gates?) my own math research institute on a sunny beach location, which I would run like an enlightened despot: the faculty would be weird people like me (pure math only), teaching whatever the fuck they like. It would be free and open to aspiring math weirdos of any age who could find their way there. (The obvious practical questions are second-order worries).

    Failing that, I want to retire to my own Kaczynski-style cabin on the mountains, living frugally and writing (or translating) math texts at all levels, aimed at young mathematicians and useless for anyone else: "Peter's Lectures on Analysis" or "Calculus Made Impenetrable". It's a small market, but they're out there.

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    Replies
    1. @PK: You claim you can write a book better than Calculus, by Michael Spivak? If you can, I am in awe, and eagerly look forward to its publication. (No kidding: yes, I was a very nerdly freshman.)

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  18. Go back to being an engineer in industry.

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  19. Build a warp-drive and a ship strong enough to handle it, collect a crew, and leave.

    But not forever....

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    Replies
    1. It's not easy to make a living as a space visionary, you know. You say this warp drive actually works?

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    2. IF
      It all hinges on
      IF

      I don't have a drive.

      IF somebody developed one...

      and IF I could get the shit together to build the ship...

      People willing to be the crew - the biggest IF...

      ....I would be Star Trekkin in a New York minute.

      [We have to keep Neil DeGrasse Tyson happy, don't we?]

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    3. Feed him a few drinks and that's not difficult, Strel.

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    4. He wants us to leave and I agree with him; the future of humanity should be as Space Bedouin moving from one oasis (habitable planet) to the other, forming long galactic trade routes in Unobtainium and Orion slave girls or Nexus 6 Replicants.

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  20. Carpentry. Make finely crafted custom furniture. And maybe not sell them because I've become too attached to them. No, wait, that tends to happen with canoes. No way in hell I'm building canoes.

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  21. Film archivist. Or, if money were no object, executive producer of pretty much whatever I want.

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  22. I would hang out with dogs. Not clean up after them, or bathe them, or care for them... but just spend some nice quality time with them...

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  23. Write (and hang out in archives looking for stuff to write about). And garden and walk and cook and perhaps sew a bit (if money weren't an issue, I might pay somebody else to do some of the cooking and most of the sewing).

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    1. @Cassandra: that's my retirement dream, except that I enjoy the cooking and sewing. Add photography, drawing, and a body of water suitable for rowing or kayaking.

      I've also thought seriously about a second career as an atheist minister. Hear me out. Churches, temples, and other spiritual community centers serve a lot of social needs, like rituals for the life cycle: birth, coming of age, marriage, death. They also come together to support members in crisis and provide a weekly event that elderly people anticipate and participate in.

      I'd like to establish a place where those rituals could occur, with a kitchen, a room for ceremonies, and enough land for various gardens, including a lawn with shade trees and flower borders (for outdoor ceremonies), a community garden for food, a meditation labyrinth and a Zen gravel garden (welcome, EC1). We'd serve as a center for "meet the candidate" nights, a polling place for elections and a meeting place for the Neighborhood Association and scout troops.

      We'd have bulletin boards (physical and electronic) for swapping baby gear, surplus garden produce, outgrown sports equipment, and items for assisted living (walkers, furniture risers, etc.). One room would be dedicated to music, and members without room at home could reserve rehearsal times for their bands. One room would be baby-safe, so parents could meet and have some adult conversation during the day. We'd invite occasional speakers from colleges and universities to talk about philosophy, science, local natural history, chocolate, hospice, or whatever members wanted to learn more about.

      We'd have many of the benefits of a church, without the religion. Anyone would be welcome, as long as they didn't proselytize.

      All this presumes, of course, that I somehow come into a lot of money and/or property, find enough interest among local agnostics and atheists, and get a few energetic, compatible assistants. But this is a fantasy thread, right? In that vein, I'd be the manager rather than some sort of vicar, but could perform ceremonies if desired -- I can do weddings already as an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church (TM).

      We'd have a community service arm that would provide food and cook it one day a month at the city shelter (as do local churches). Our coming-of-age program would be timed to coincide with new drivers' permits and licenses. Teens would serve some significant number of hours in community service and would meet occasionally (with food, of course) and talk about their experiences.

      Ambitious, I know. Remember, it's just a fantasy.

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  24. Write a book of all the crochet and knit patterns running around my head.

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