• May 29, 2016

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News: Talk about how to cope with chronic illness, disability, and other health issues in the academic workplace.
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 on: Today at 03:16:10 pm 
Started by academicpop - Last post by wahoo
My last campus visit one of the faculty told me that hu was looking for another job.  The rest of the faculty simply took over the majority of the conversation. 

For my part, I tried to ask the student representatives questions about their schoolwork and future plans and tried to stay polite and interested in the general conversation.

This is a great thread.  I hope more peeps post.

 on: Today at 03:10:43 pm 
Started by kaysixteen - Last post by yemaya
Also, there was a fairly robust trade relationship between the Roman Empire (under Augustus) and the Han Dynasty via the Silk Road. (Susan Whitfield has published a couple of books on the Silk Road that discuss trade relations, including this one from 1999.) In fact, a 2000-year-old skeleton that has been determined of East Asian heritage was found buried in Italy.

 on: Today at 03:07:55 pm 
Started by mouseman - Last post by mountainguy
Thanks for the perspectives, all.

Yes, I know that some nonprofit/government agencies can be deeply dysfunctional, just as private sector jobs can. What spooks me about other sectors is how quickly working conditions can change. A "good" job can turn into a nightmare overnight under new management, and in talking to people, it seems like a lot of personnel changes are more about office politics than merit. The same things can happen in academia, but the rhythm of the semester system means that faculty at least get some time to plan for a soft landing if things aren't working out.

 on: Today at 02:49:56 pm 
Started by francie_ - Last post by leobloom
I guess watching cricket is a good way to kill time when you're on the market and you hear crickets. Bonus points if you're in Waco.

 on: Today at 02:32:48 pm 
Started by fishbrains - Last post by ex_mo

Ex_mo - I believe that small humans are put on this earth to remind us how truly dangerous and random it is that we all haven't fallen into a pit of razors and died. Also, yeah. The vision thing is amazing to them and they can spot tiny bits of potential food. I once had a mom watching me serve lunch to a group of 9-12 month old children while simultaneously trying to keep all the food off the floor because their mobile younger peers were like bloodhounds waiting for any scrap of food to fall.

I had to go back and find this wise post to remind myself that this, too, shall pass.  This kid of mine seems determined to test fate. 

Friday was a kind of weird day; we did a massive Lowes/grocery run that ran into little_mo's nap time, meaning instead of napping noon-2:00ish he napped 2:00-4:00.  He had been up about a half an hour, and had been eating pretty much nonstop (he wakes up hungry, just like his mama) when I realized I didn't hear/see him.  Silence from a toddler is scary.  I went looking for him, and found him coming out of the garage, which is attached to our family room.  Usually that door is closed, but for some reason it wasn't this time.  He had something in his mouth, but when he saw me, he took it out and handed it to me.  Like a gift.  Like, "here, ma, I bet you want to taste this too!"  What he had was a small washer, maybe about 1/2" in diameter.  Of course, I freaked out.  Had he swallowed another one?  What kind of poison was this small piece of metal soaked in?  I asked the Mr to identify this piece, and he identified it as a brake part, from when he had redone the calipers more than 6 months ago.  There would be another one, he said, on the shelf in the garage, supposedly out of little_mo's reach.  I found the other one, and breathed a little easier.  Meantime, little_mo looked on curiously, wondering what was going on.  Then, it happened.  He let out a wail and then projectile vomited.  My first instinct was to pick him up, which in retrospect was a mistake.  Vomit down my shirt, both the back and the front, in my hair, and even a little in my mouth. 

Now I was seriously concerned.  I asked Mr, "What would those washers be coated in?"  "Oh," says he, "brake fluid."  Oh good.  Ethyl Glycol (aka antifreeze aka poison).  I call poison control, still covered in vomit, still with a wailing little_mo attached to me, while trying to gather up our stuff for what I imagine will be an imminent ER visit.   Husband is, of course, in the middle of doing something complicated involving a tree and a ladder and a chainsaw. 

Something I guess I didn't know about Poison Control is that even though you call the 800 number on their website, you get routed to the state's office from which your phone number originates.  Even though I do not live in the Deep South anymore (haven't since grad school), my phone number says I do, so I get connected with a sweet little lady with Very Southern Accent named, and I am not kidding, Velma.  I tell her what happened and she calms me down.  Says that what probably happened is that little_mo got a "taste" (that's the word she used) of something nasty and it is not enough to cause toxicity, but that it has irritated his mouth/stomach, hence the vomiting.  She tells us to take a watch-and-wait approach.  Let him puke, then wait 30 minutes and offer juice or Pedalyte.  See if it stays in.  If it does, great.  If it doesn't, wait another 30 minutes and repeat.  If it again comes back out, bringing the vomit tally to more than 4, take him to the ER.  If his tongue/mouth swells or if he has trouble breathing, take him to the ER. 

I hang up, calm down a little, and decide that we both need a bath.  At this point, little_mo is quiet and seems tired and obviously like he doesn't feel great, but is otherwise alert and OK.  We take a warm bath, and then we give him some apple juice.  Normally, he only gets watered down juice, but we decide to go full strength.  Man, it was like giving him cocaine.  He immediately bounced back and was running around and laughing and playing.  Phew.  Then, he puked again.  All apple juice.  This time, all over his father.  Back in the tub.  Then, we tried pedaylte.  Same basic process - he drank the sugar water, ran around, and then threw up - this time I caught him in time and just held him over the kitchen sink.  30 minutes later, more juice.  I also gave him 1/2 of a Tums tablet.  This time, it all stayed in. 

He was awake until almost 10 PM, when he finally slept.  Mr and I each had a whisky.  The door into the garage now has a slide lock on it that will remain until little_mo has graduated from college. 

 on: Today at 01:55:00 pm 
Started by loathin - Last post by protoplasm
That forum talks about coaches, RDs, Admissions staff and faculty.  All make in the neighborhood of $30,000 to $50,000 entry level.  Blue collar teachers are welcome to join in.  The most recent development on that forum is that many folks in higher ed are exempt. 
You can get the nitty gritty for higher education here. www.dol.gov/whd/overtime/final2016/highered-guidance.pdf

Anyone who teaches is pretty much exempt. Why they specifically left teachers (broadly defined) as free to exploit is unclear.

I don't know why they did but I can think of a reason why they might as well. The war against labor has already been won by higher ed through making half the workforce part time. You can work two or three jobs for a total of 60 hours a week and 'overtime' still wouldn't apply to you.

 on: Today at 01:20:09 pm 
Started by britmom - Last post by voxprincipalis
Hey, britmom! Always glad to see you popping in to let us know what's up.

I hope your new med brings you the stability I know you have been wanting for a long time! I'm glad you have a supportive admin structure.

As always, if we can do anything for you, you have only to ask!


 on: Today at 01:06:18 pm 
Started by barred_owl - Last post by taben
I agree that stress with the relatives is almost worse than the stress of having to organize the care! I have one sibling that has been of no real help and another that will comment and give suggestions (or directions) but is not at all easy to work with. Still, finally we got me mom settled and moved in with my family... and have care coming in, as well as her going out most days.

Check at a program called PACE for relatives living with you or on their own who might benefit from a CNA, centralized medical care for all needs and a day program (anywhere from once a month to 5 days per week). It has been a life saver, especially the daily CNA care. She can still be left alone for solid stretches, but enjoys the company and allows us to have someone else oversee her medications and bathing daily.

The current hurdles, therefore, are working on being patient when she is repeating questions 3x per minute and lining up respite care for several short trips we planned/need to take. With the former, having time away from her helps to ready me for the next stretch of interaction, as does tag teaming with hubby and my oldest kids who are home from college. For the later, we just found a small home based nursing care program that will do respite care. Mom went for a 2 nights earlier this month and LOVED it. So, that too is falling into place.

It is all such a long and difficult haul and anyone who has not had to deal with elder care and make the tough decision associated with it really just cannot understand. Changes in careers, finances and family relationships have all been the fall out of our elder care issues around here.  It has been going on for years. Just hoping to have some stability with it for a short time at least.

Hang in there, all.

 on: Today at 12:51:44 pm 
Started by fishbrains - Last post by tenured_feminist
A brief but kind of amusing, kind of appalling diversion: my daughter texted one of her friends to see if she could come over today and study for the SAT bio test. Friend said, sorry, no, I'm in New Jersey with my brother. My daughter asked what was up, maybe a soccer tournament? No, not that. Cubing.

Cubing??  Huh?

Cubing. Rubik's cubing. Friend told daughter that one of these events was NINE HOURS LONG.

Daughter now feels a lot better about the time she's spent watching her beloved brother do his thang.

 on: Today at 12:27:16 pm 
Started by mouseman - Last post by alleyoxenfree
So I'm beginning to think that maybe staying in academia isn't such a bad gig after all. In the past week, I've heard two different truly hair-raising stories about working conditions in the private sector that remind me why I shied away from the corporate world in the first place. I suspect that some government or nonprofit jobs may have better working conditions, but not always. (I worked for the Federal government for three summers in early grad school and found that the work alternated between mind-numbingly boring and Kafkaeque). Academia has things that I dislike, but the relative control that I have over my own time and freedom from supervision is appealing in some ways.

Does anyone else feel this kind of ambivalence?

I used to think this way but, in addition to the type of work one is doing, workplace culture and one's direct supervisor are really what matters.  Both my spouse and I have worked in toxic non-profits.  I've had friends experience awful working conditions for nonprofits while having great experiences in the private sector.  I've been in toxic gov't jobs where I loved  the mission of the agency, but it was my direct supervisor that made that job hell.

Academia wasn't the right fit for me for many reasons.  But I'm in a job where I have a lot of autonomy and flexibility and the work I do is interesting, mentally engaging, and uses my research skills.  I've gotten very lucky with where I ended up, but because I've had both good and bad experiences in the public and private sectors, I also know what questions to ask to help avoid those toxic workplaces.  One of the most telling questions is how a manager describes their management style for 'knowledge workers' - are they managing to the end product (e.g. is it on time & what's wanted) or are they managing how something gets done (e.g. you have to do it x way and not y way)? 

I would love to hear more questions that have been helpful to you.

I have worked for for-profits in retail and office jobs getting through school but mostly avoided them since. Nonprofits have been, as you say, a mixed bag, with about 50% toxic environments - although academia may have that beat. The most difficult thing I've faced is flat-out lying in interviews. The week you begin and you go to hire the promised assistant, whose salary and work you discussed in detail, the Executive Director reneges on that. Or you find out your budget is constrained in a way they explicitly denied. Other than having the ability to quit on the spot, saying, "We must have misunderstood each other," I'm not sure what to do about this. But I continue to have hope that there are better questions I can ask that might reveal the prevaricators and problem people in the process.

The one you give above is very good. Any others?

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