I am not dead. Well, at least not literally.
Another insight from Stephen King’s “On Writing”: He wrote the least when he worked as an English prof at a college. All that interaction with language while teaching, and especially grading student essays, left him completely drained. He wrote much more when he worked poorly paid, low-skill jobs; they left his mind free to wonder. I have been really, really busy with work this semester and when the time comes to sit down and blog, I’ve got nothing to give…
It is fundamentally impossible to ever catch up on work in academia. There is a cartoon in it. Another night, perhaps.
There was a discussion on DM’s blog on how women, and especially women of color, do much more service than men (especially white). Lots of incredulity arose in the comments. I completely believe the data, as it aligns with my own anecdata. Every year, we get a list of service roles (department and university) for all faculty in the department. It’s not hard to count how many committees each person serves on, and once you have been faculty for a while, you know which ones are labor-intensive. Each of the women (women make <20% of faculty) is on 2-3 times more committees than the average. There are men who serve a lot, but there are a few men (a nice equal mixture of white and Asian, in fact) who serve much below average, just the bare mandated minimum of committees. Most of the service shirkers are prima donnas whose time is presumably too valuable to be wasted on service. Women serve because a) people ask them to, b) women are socialized to be helpful/communal, c) people expect the women to be helpful/communal and react much more negatively to women being selfish than to men being selfish, d) junior women are not stupid, and they are rightly concerned that rejecting service will make them look bad, like poor department citizens, in a way that doesn’t hold for men. If you don’t want women to serve too much, don’t ask them so much; it’s douchey to say, “Well, she should have just said no that committee, what’s the harm in asking?” when the very act of asking all the effing time shows that women are expected to jump to serve.
I almost, ALMOST, sent an angry letter to my chair because I get no help with teaching and it’s taking too much of my time and nobody seems to give a shit that enrollments are swelling and a few faculty keep teaching high-enrollment undergrad courses, while the aforementioned prima donnas haven’t seen anyone younger than a senior in their courses in many, many years. I wish I didn’t give a damn about teaching and could just, like some of my colleagues, give the exact same homework and exams for a freakin’ decade; who cares that there are solutions to all exams are already in fraternity archives?
Instead to giving the department chair a piece of my mind, I will rely on the passive-aggressive path (preferred in this part of the country) of keeping my mouth shut, ignoring faculty meetings, shirking service, and then in a year or two just come with an offer from another institution. Because if I complain, he will again insult me by trying to placate me, as if I am a toddler undergoing a tantrum and not a faculty member with a serious grievance, with some bullshit like “I am working behind the scenes” and “Let’s talk in person (so no paper trail)” and generally just hope that I will forget.
What is scary is how close I was to sending that email. But it was therapeutic to write it anyway. I am very angry and disappointed with him. I thought he was a good guy, but the Koolaid is stronger; it’s in his veins now.
I am fantasizing of moving to Australia. There is a conference in Sydney this summer, I wonder if I should go. How excruciating is the trip? I have never been. My husband thinks I am nuts, but I say let’s collect several more passports! We are still young! Only wusses emigrate only once! Look at all the unexplored continents!
I spent some time with 2/3 of my brood at what can be called a pinnacle of consumerism doubling as an amusement park. What I have learned is that: my kids are spoiled and I am a wuss; vacations are expensive and tiring, especially when you are one adult with two kids; little kids have ridiculous amounts of energy which we need to learn how to harvest (Monsters Inc.?), because WTF how can they go-go-go and never seem to need to sleep? Yet, having kids run me ragged is exactly what I needed to do to disconnect from work, and after a couple of days I feel exhausted but also strangely rested. They are ridiculously cute. And the hotel room is a scene from a post-apocalyptic movie. And my low-carb diet had to be suspended. And riding on roller coasters is awesome, and I forgot how much I liked it; the only thing I don’t like is waiting in line for a ride. But I am totally game for having my guts in my throat.
DA BOOK! DA BOOK! DA BOOOOOOOOK!
We have done a couple of rounds of edits, I have to do three more cartoons, and it’s nearing completion!