December 2, 2011, 8:00 am
In this sabbatical diary, I (and some great commenters) have discussed the best ways to create a productive work environment when you get that deeply-deserved time away from campus. Today, though, I want to write about the opposite: a day where you do as close to nothing as possible. Jason has written about the power outage in Connecticut. Believe me, I was quite grateful for the fellowship that gave me, and my husband, a place to stay while our home went twelve days without power. The power outage still threw me for a loop because it occurred at a time I was supposed to be back home giving guest lectures and meeting with people for some community service projects. My carefully planned schedule fell apart, which it did for everyone. Still, it was an exhausting enterprise. After the power returned, and I had settled everything that had gone haywire, I was happy…
November 21, 2011, 8:00 am
In previous entries of my sabbatical diary, one topic that arose was how to handle expansive periods of unstructured time. It’s an area with which I had a lot of concern when I started, for sure. I don’t have a history of working well when I have huge blocks of time. On a previous post, englishwlu offered some great suggestions on this point. I really do not have much to add to those points except to emphasize the need for flexibility and experimentation in both what you do when and where you do it.
Though on sabbatical, you may still have to structure your day around partners, kids, parents, volunteer work, or other commitments. Such obligations will, of course, come first. After that, you may feel what I did: a glorious sense of freedom followed by an increasing sense of pressure to use your time well. As I have already described, when I arrived in New York…
October 28, 2011, 8:00 am
While previous entries in my sabbatical diary have been more like traditional ProfHacker posts offering a few bits of advice and asking for more, this one is more like a diary because it’s been in my head as I’ve been on fellowship. I think it might also get at some of the points mentioned in a comment to my last post from “an interdisciplinary scholar on a non-traditional career path with tremendous self-doubt.” I could have written that sentence–at least the interdisciplinary, self-doubt part–and I’m not sure if this post will help those of us who have those feelings, but I hope it might help those of us who relate to it feel less alone.
I’m standing on the platform at the New Haven train station waiting for the commuter train to New York City where I will spend a month living on New York University’s campus and have absolutely nothing to do but my own work. It is…
September 2, 2011, 8:00 am
In last month’s installment to my sabbatical diary, I discussed general ways to prepare financially if your sabbatical involves a paycut. In this month’s installment, I want to shift to another financial aspect of sabbatical life: fellowships and grants. First, we need to make sure we can pay our bills and handle our basic commitments to ourselves and our families. Once we have set ourselves up to do that, we then need to see what money we can find to enable us to do the research or other work we want to complete during our sabbatical. Luckily, I will be leaving my home in September to spend the semester as a Scholar-in-Residence at New York University. They provide me with campus housing so that I can live and work in the city for three months. I also applied for several fellowships and grants that I lost. From my experience, here are a few points to keep in…
August 8, 2011, 8:00 am
In this third part of my sabbatical diary, I want to focus on one of the most important parts of the sabbatical: the money. At my institution, a semester-long sabbatical comes with full salary. A year-long sabbatical comes with a forty percent pay cut. Many universities make it a fifty percent pay cut. Many of us who dream of a year away from campus know we have to think carefully about how we will handle that financially, and here are few thoughts.
- Talk to Someone in Human Resources to Learn What Your Paycheck Will Actually Be. Someone on sabbatical last year gave me this brilliant idea. I talked to my HR representative, and she looked at my contract and all of my deductions to give me as close an estimate as possible to what my paychecks will actually be over the next year. She also talked with me about things I could do to raise my income, such as reducing …
July 25, 2011, 8:00 am
Last month, I kicked off what will be a year-long series on life during a sabbatical. In today’s post, I hope to generate some discussion about what you can do before a sabbatical begins so you start off smoothly and easily. I spent a couple of months before mine started this month doing a few things I will outline below, and I hope readers will contribute more suggestions in the comments.
- Decide What Projects You Will Work on and When. When you applied for your sabbatical, you probably had to outline your research plans for your time away from campus. Most people I have talked with focused their application on one large project, but they often had other projects they intended to work on as well. My proposal focused on a book project, which I intend to pursue actively, but I have several projects that I also want to finish and a few I might start. There are two articles I…
May 26, 2011, 8:00 am
Last summer, Erin wrote about how and why she converted one of the walls in her home into a giant chalkboard. I have always wanted to have a large, metal bulletin board in my office. When people asked me why I wanted one, I never could give an answer. I just wanted a big space where I could play and organize. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m very right-brained, which means I like to have things out in the open rather than in files or drawers (whether physical or digital). I already have a lot of shelves in my home office, but I wanted a flat space where I could post whatever I wanted and remove it and start over on a whim. I finally found a four-foot by four-foot board online and installed it over spring break. I admit, I would have gone bigger, but the shipping costs grew exponentially once you go over four feet. But I hung it as soon as it arrived and kept it…
May 19, 2011, 11:00 am
As anyone who follows me on Twitter or Facebook is probably aware, I bought an iPod Touch a couple of weeks ago, and I have been playing with a lot of the apps that ProfHacker has written about over the years. I bought it because I am going to be on sabbatical next year and living away from my husband for three months while I am on a research fellowship. When I was working on my PhD, cell phones were still charging by the minute, and we racked up $300 phone bills each month as I went to school in one state while he maintained our home in another. When he was away working on his MA in one state while I maintained our home in another, we had cell phones with unlimited calls, and our phone bills dropped dramatically. Since then, the options for communication have grown exponentially, and many of them are free. That’s why I went for the iPod Touch rather than the…
May 12, 2011, 11:00 am
Oh, I am not talking about the movie. I love a good tearjerker, but I actually have not seen it. I am talking about ordinary spiral notebooks and how they have helped me with administrative tasks.
In the first year of my doctoral program, I was invited to join the writing program as one of three graduate assistants. On the first day of the semester, we met with the director and the associate director. They gave us each a medium-sized spiral notebook. They told us to keep these on our desks and to write down every interaction we had with students or faculty. Since we held fewer than ten office hours per week, the goal was to lessen the feeling of giving people the runaround. If someone had been in before, she or he could just point to the desk of the person with whom he or she talked, and we could look in the notebook for what that administrator had told the…