The semester has started. I hate it when semesters start, yet the bastards keep doing it.
Why the hate, you ask? Don’t you like teaching?
Actually, I love teaching. I don’t mind students returning one bit; students are cool and fun and make the campus alive and bubbly. I don’t object at all to the professing part of being a professor.
What I hate is the onslaught of crap, specifically email crap. There is so much service to be done, and so much information to be shared with everyone everywhere, that I could easily just teach, do service, and read emails, and I would fill up 40+ hours a week. It’s completely nuts.
There are all these people who start bombarding me (and presumably everyone else with a university address) on the first day of class with all sorts of notices (Webinar! Workshop! Yet another seminar series! Cookies with the janitor!), requests (Serve on yet another committee! Sure, you got time!), and queries (How’s the work-life balance? How’s your work climate? Are you sure you got enough service? Are you reeeeeeely sure?).
Where the fuck are all those email senders all summer? Faculty have 9-month appointments, so one could say that if they are not paid they don’t have to be there (although at a research institution all faculty are expected to do research full-steam all summer and, in the sciences and engineering, have their salary paid on grants); most faculty either work or travel for work all summer. But all staff have 12-month appointments, so they should technically be here and working. so what are all these prolific emailers up to all summer when they are not drowning everyone around them in emails? If all summer can go by without all this stupid email traffic, then I bet most of semester’s email activity is not actually critical for anything either, because most messages have nothing to do with students.
I am seriously thinking about all but abandoning my university email and checking it only once a week or so, because I don’t know how to handle the barrage of messages that are not technically spam (although they are in the sense ” I don’t want this information, leave me alone and take me off these goddamn lists”); I can’t just block the domain or subdomains or even specific people, because I work here and some stuff may actually be useful or important. The thing is, I want to be accessible, but this is just really disruptive and unbelievably annoying.
I am thinking of switching to a special Gmail account (to which I will NOT be forwarding from my university one) for communication with my students and a few trusted colleagues. Or maybe I should just be texting.
How did it come to this that I have to devise evasive maneuvers in order to have some time to actually do the work for which an advanced degree is required?