Sunday, August 25, 2013

An Honest To Goodness Spiritually-Demanding Sunday Thirsty: What Are Your New Year's Resolutions?

For many of us, this is another New Year, met not with fireworks and champagne, but gin and meetings and half-written syllabi.  So, in the spirit of this somewhat dismal (and yet, kind of exciting, even still) new year, I offer my new year's resolutions.

1.  I will not cave.  No, you may not submit this paper late.  No, you will not text in class.  No, you will not steal my time from students who need it (or my increasingly arcane research, which I need).  Cry, beg, rage -- I will let it wash over me like a zephyr.

2.  I will not grow more jaded.  I chose this career because it mattered to me once.  I won't let students corrupt what I still find of value in the university: the sharing of ideas, the exploring of complex topics, and the questioning of our preconceived notions.  I don't care that they just want a degree or a job.  Those are stupid, unworthy goals, and I will not bow to them from any pressure they can wield.  I have tenure, damn it.

3.  I will stay out of administration as much as possible.   I will stay out of their building.  I will not volunteer for any committees other than the ones I'm already on.  I will not run for faculty senate.  If asked to serve as chair, I will refuse.

4.  I will protect time for myself other than in the shower.  I will not check my email as soon as I get up, nor will I check it after 5:00pm on a weekday.  I will not spend more than 20 minutes per paper (well, maybe thirty).

5.  I will read for fun.  Yes, I am behind in my field.  I have been for the last ten years, and yet, the world does not seem to end.  It won't end if I pick up a Stephen King novel now and then, rather than the International Journal of Hamsterology.

6.  I will learn everyone's name.  Ha!

Q: Those are my resolutions.  What are yours?


20 comments:

  1. I will work on my novel. Because it's going to be awesome and I want to finish it before I die.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please so. I want to read it. It matters more than whether or not a freshman comp student can write a memo.

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  2. 1. I will be happy, everywhere, all the time.
    2. I will not be trampled by administration (I don't have tenure).

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  3. I will finish this fricking dissertation if it kills me.

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    Replies
    1. Me too. In fact, I should be writing now--I have to have a draft out by Wednesday.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. I will work on easier problems, and publish more, and shorter (more trivial) papers, in less prestigious journals. I mean, it makes no difference for my colleagues or the admins at Baumfuck St, and at my age I'm unhirable anywhere else anyway, so why keep banging my head on the wall trying to do difficult things?

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    Replies
    1. Because it's fun, and for the challenge? If only you care, isn't it even MORE important to take on things that are worth doing and which stretch your mental muscles?

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  5. I will publish more papers and avoid extra service requests like the plague.

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  6. They will not suck the joy out of me. Any of them.

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  7. Replies
    1. Isn't a resolution something we're supposed to change? ;)

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  8. I will not harm the person leading the class I am teaching. I will not harm the person leading the class I am teaching. They wrote the class (their baby) and I am teaching the other section. It is for Hamsterology for non-hamsters. We are to use the same slides...I just got tomorrow's (the first day of class) a few minutes ago! Now I will pester them!

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  9. 1. I will say no to requests from the administration and faculty governance.

    2. I won't get burned out this year.

    3. I will take more time for myself and my family.

    4. I will do what I can to battle the idiots who want to make everything at our SLAC-ish about numbers (teaching evaluations, publications, author lists, journal impact factors).

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  10. 1. I will find employment. (hopefully, that one gets crossed off this week, as I'll get the word, good or bad, on two positions for which I'm a finalist...)

    2. Said new employment will be a position that I *want* and that will make me *happy* to go into work every day, and NOT just one that I have to endure (as was far too often the case over the past decade+).

    3. I will more openly embrace, and take advantage of (nee, revel in) being part of the academy, even if it is part of the administrative/support side (I was a History major, FFS, I can pretentious any of you faculty bastards!!! ;^) )

    4. I will continue to, as best I can (esp. if I get a position higher up the admin leadership/food chain) represent the interests of my comrade academicians -- aligning with the (true) best interests of the academic enterprise (as demonstrated by/in the rigorous liberal arts/humanities education that I enjoyed, from a dedicated faculty that I admired & feared) to hold off the nefarious interests of those who would vocationalize the entire academy.

    5. Hopefully land at a place where I won't get preventatively RIF'd b/c of fiscal fears & political bullshit.

    6. Not live in fear of #5

    7. Be able to pay the bills...

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  11. I will be brave enough to say "I don't want to" instead of thinking of a plausible excuse.

    I will be wise enough to know when to say "Yes."

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  12. I agree with much of this thread, but I can't go along with dodging duty as department Chair. It is true that no one really wants to be Chair, and the rare cases who do probably should be avoided. Still, if we refuse to provide our own leadership, someone who doesn't understand us will do it for us, and it won't be fun. So, we take turns: it's a very American concept.

    I had a blast when I was Chair. It helped enormously that we had a superb secretary. She really ran the department: I just signed stuff. Every now and then, too, the job did have its perks. At one point, in a conversation here in the physics department that otherwise made no mention of swallows, I really did have cause to say, "But it's a question of weight ratios." When I did, my smile was a fatuous thing, dreadful to behold.

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