September 9, 2011, 8:53 am

A full life

In grad school and later, I often heard people say that it was important to have a well-rounded life and interests outside of academe. My response to such statements, which I usually kept to myself, was that I could have a well-rounded life after I got a job. And really, what did I need a well-rounded life for anyway? I was already doing what I loved, right?

Well. At some point during my postdoc, my career really did stop being “enough” for me. I had stopped wanting to do (or being mentally capable of doing) work at all hours of the day and all days of the week, which sometimes left me with empty evening hours, unsure of what to do with myself before bedtime. But I was still stressed out about and focused on getting a tenure track job, so I guess I tended to fill those hours with worrying and obsessively searching the job listings.

Anyway, I’ve been in my happy new job for over a year …

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August 30, 2011, 7:10 am


So, my horrible paper that I have submitted to four journals finally got a revise and resubmit this time, hooray! The trouble is, it is a very big revision that they have requested. Fine, fine, I’ll do it, even though it is extremely painful.

The journal has given me two months to revise and resubmit, and I spent most of that first month traveling and attending or running conferences. Now I’ve got just under one month and I’m not confident in my ability to do all that work in that short period of time. I did get started on it a week ago but, well, it’s a lot of work.

So I’m considering asking for an extension for the first time in my life. Anybody have any experience doing that? Should I ask now? Or would it be better to wait until closer to the deadline? Will they give me an extension, or should I just work harder to try to make the deadline?

August 9, 2011, 9:13 am

Not ashamed

On Friday night, I was at restaurant with a group of friends, and as it turned out, three of us (me and two other female Ph.D.s) were all in non-traditional academic jobs — and we all love our jobs. All three of us are in center-related positions with administrative and research responsibilities, and we are pretty happy. One expressed a wish that she had more time for independent research, but that is not an uncommon sentiment even in traditional academic jobs.

I thought of the our conversation when I read this piece in Inside Higher Ed:

When we were interviewing contributors for the first edition of Job Search in Academe, an editor at a respected academic journal told us apologetically that she “liked her job, she really did!” Many of the pleasures of teaching, she told us, were central to her job on the “outside”: working with writers, playing with words and layouts, engaging in…

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August 5, 2011, 8:44 am

I'm back!

My Epic Summer of Epicness (and Epic Exhaustion) is pretty much over now – and not a moment too soon. I am tired, people. I spent a month in the field, which was great and all, but tiring, then drove back across the country, went to work for four days, then flew to another place for a friend’s wedding, came home for less than 24 hours – 4 of which I spent at work – and then drove five hours away for a big conference. All of this was wonderful and time well spent, but there wasn’t much time for sleep in there.

Now my life is somewhat normal again, although still very busy. Next week is our center’s annual conference, so it’s a bit crazy around here as we try to get it all organized.

Some updates on my productivity:

  • of the three papers that were in review already, one was accepted (which I already wrote about), one was favorably reviewed but rejected as not being right for the journal,…

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June 27, 2011, 1:09 pm

Living in the moment in the field

It happens every year. I spend weeks or months planning and looking forward to my fieldwork, and then as soon as I get there I start counting the days until I go home. I’m like that with just about everything, I think – I make all these big plans and then I can’t wait until it’s all over. It is ridiculous.

I am trying not to do that this year. I am in the most beautiful place in the country, with a good crew, and the work is going reasonably well. I am trying to enjoy this now, and not just later when it is a fond memory.

June 15, 2011, 8:57 pm

Hittin' the road!

I’m driving across the country tomorrow – well, at least across part of it – on my way to my field site. Fingers crossed for no grizzly bear encounters!

June 8, 2011, 7:41 am

Is this what normal feels like?

I haven’t had seasonal allergies since I was about 13 – or at least I thought I haven’t had them – despite living in some cities with extremely high levels of allergens. My husband has crippling allergies, especially in the last place we lived, and has to take medication so he feels just sorta crappy, which is a vast improvement over how he feels without them.

This spring, here in our new city, I’ve been feeling a bit tired and rundown and headachy. Spouse was pretty sure it was allergies, but I wasn’t convinced. Finally, last night I took an Allegra for the first time.

Holy crap!! Is this what normal, not-sick people feel like every day? It’s fucking amazing! I woke up half an hour before the alarm went off this morning, happy and full of energy. I don’t even recognize myself.

June 2, 2011, 2:50 pm


This paper got accepted this morning, with no further revisions. Hooray! I’m especially pleased about this one because two undergrads who worked with me (one as an REU student, one as an intern) are co-authors, and I am very proud of them. A year ago right now, we were just getting started on the main experiment in the paper – for me, this is extremely fast turnaround.

Things have suddenly gotten busy here at the Center, as we are planning our annual Center conference and also our first meeting with our external advisory board. We also have a meeting with our funding agency in a couple of weeks… pretty stressful stuff, especially since people keep asking me for a schedule for the conference, which I can’t make until I get feedback from people who aren’t answering my emails!! Grr. I politely reminded them last week that I am leaving in two weeks for the field, and if they want my help …

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May 24, 2011, 9:18 pm


My MacBook Air is in the shop (sad!) because a couple of weeks ago, the hinge randomly cracked. Turns out it is a known issue and Apple is fixing it for free, which is good, but I had to have it shipped to Apple to be fixed, which is less good. I can’t whine too much, though, because I do have four Mac laptops, so I am using an older one now, a five-year-old MacBook that I haven’t used much in the past year. All of this is a really long and pointless introduction to tell you that I stumbled upon some links that I bookmarked almost a year ago, some of which were bookmarked in order to look at them later (and therefore I really had no idea what they were).

One of them was a link for I had no idea what that was, so I clicked it – and turns out it is a super awesome website where you are encouraged to write at least 750 words a day – privately. The setup is really lovely, it’s…

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May 2, 2011, 2:04 pm

Adjuncting ruins lives

The recent kerfuffle in the blogosphere about advice for adjuncts, plus my own recent observations of friends’ lives, really got me thinking about my own experiences. I have done my time as an adjunct, and I remember it as a very dark period in my life. Unless you’re one of those happy adjuncts who enjoys the job, is treated well, and has financial stability, adjuncting can ruin your life. We are told that it can benefit our careers – and sure, it can be a good way to get some teaching experience. But in many cases, especially if you end up doing it for a long time, I think it can harm more than it helps.

At my graduate institution, being a graduate assistant or a teaching assistant wasn’t a common option. However, the university relied extremely heavily on adjunct labor, and was more than happy to hire grad students as adjuncts to teach classes. I taught my first class in 1999, and…

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