This coming week I will be two-thirds of the way through a medical leave – a paid medical leave that I almost didn’t take because I somehow felt it wasn’t warranted. My reluctance to take advantage of a benefit – offered by my university, supported by my colleagues, and recommended by a doctor who knows more about physiology and recovery than I do – is a problem.
Without a doubt, part of this hesitation is just me and my personality.* However, it was also the product of more widespread issues that I wanted to highlight here. I also wanted to share the wisdom of others that finally gave me the courage to take the leave in hopes that someone else will do the same. Continue reading “take the leave.”
In 2008, when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were competing for the Democratic nomination, my then-eight-year-old son and I had a conversation about this being a year of potential firsts and the significance either nomination would hold for all kinds of people who would finally see a bit of themselves in the election, and hopefully the White House.
I asked him who he thought needed the significant first more.
He thought about it for a minute or two and then said, “I think that Hillary Clinton should be the nominee, that girls and women need it more.” When I asked him why, he told me, “It’s like this, Mom. At recess, no matter what color you are, you’re invited to play in the football game – but only if you’re a boy. No girls are ever allowed to play.”*
I was thrilled to see Obama run for and win the presidency, as was my son. I have no idea what the future holds, but I’m glad that today we are one step closer to having a woman hold our country’s highest office. Hopefully the policies have changed on the playground, too.
*Of course, with concerns far beyond recess football, this year – like many other left-leaning high school sophomores – he rooted for Bernie Sanders.
I just sent my final email* as my department’s Director of Graduate Studies. If I had the energy, I’d throw a party to celebrate the end of my term, but I don’t think I have it in me. Instead, I thought I’d take some time to reflect on what I learned, in hopes that others who want to be an advocate for graduate students (whether in an official position or not) might find some use for what worked and what didn’t over the last three years:
Continue reading “lessons learned.”
I read two seemingly unrelated professionalization pieces last week: The Chonicle‘s “Operation Keep My Job” and IHE‘s “Advice from an Outlaw Writer.” The two couldn’t be more different from one another. Bethany Albertson discusses a number of the insights anyone seeking professionalization will hear time and again (e.g., “just say no,” “ask for help,” “keep trying”) and Jane Ward encourages us to work against common refrains -“don’t chip! binge!”
However, they shared an important wisdom – although articulated differently – urging caution in how we connect with those around us. Continue reading “the stories we tell.”
There’s a tenure-track academic job I hear students talk about – one with work-life balance and a forty-hour work week and at least two weeks (but hopefully an entire summer) of carefree, completely unplugged vacation; one where you have all the autonomy and prestige of a professor, along with job security and a professional level paycheck, but there aren’t external pressures on your time except for those that you select because they’re consistent with your values and life goals…that job – that does not exist. And, even if it did, you would not increase your chances of landing such a job by eschewing the professional advice of faculty or colleagues because they are seen as somehow biased toward a different kind of job, one that just doesn’t fit you or your life goals.
Continue reading “the mythical job.”
As I have admitted before, I am a terrible electronic file-keeper. If I was to count up the minutes I have wasted in the last 15 years searching for files that should have been easy to find or typing and retyping Stata code that would have (and should have) been a simple do-file or doing web searches for things that I read that I thought I wanted to include in lectures or powerpoints or articles but couldn’t place, I fear I would discover many months of my life wasted as a result of my organizational ineptitude.
For a long while, these bad habits only affected me (and the occasional collaborator). It was my wasted time and effort. Now, though, expectations are changing and this type of disorganization can make or break a career. I think about my dissertation data and related files, strewn about floppy disks and disparate folders, and I feel both shame and fear. Continue reading “ask a scatterbrain: managing workflow.”
I am wrapping up my second year as DGS in my department. Over the last couple years I’ve made some small, but significant changes in our grad program and I’m finally beginning to see the results. Now that I’ve found my sea legs (just in time for my term to end next summer), I’m ready to tackle something new: improving our support for students on the market. Continue reading “ask a scatterbrain: supporting students on the job market.”