Sunday, December 18, 2011

I Thought I Learned

I thought I learned to say no.   But, as it turns out, I suck at it.  As my family prepares to sell one house, buy another and move, I find myself facing the most over-committed six months of my career.  I mention this just to point out to those who do not realize how much professing is like an iceberg--only the tippy top of the entire enchilada of work is visible (yes, mixing metaphors--make something of it).*
 *This is also useful for me as a reminder of what I have ahead of me.
  • Teaching only one undergrad class of modest size.  Funny how McGill has changed my notion of a moderately sized class--80 students.  Civil-Military Relations, which I have not taught in  a couple of years, but nothing relevant for this class has happened lately, right?
  • One tenure review--read heaps of stuff, affect someone's career.
  • I have been asked to write a commentary for an IR journal on what Arab Spring means for ethnic conflict.  The good news--shorter than the average paper.  Adds to the pile of other writing commitments.
  • I agreed to go to Edmonton in February for a conference on Canada and its patterns of conflict intervention.  So, add another paper to the pile.
  • I am writing three papers for the International Studies Association meeting.  How is that possible since one is limited to only two at most?  Because there is a pre-conference workshop using TRIP data that navel gazes at the profession.  An additional day in San Diego is the reason I took this sucker's bet.  The bet that I would be able to take the latest data to present something interesting on Canadian IR scholarship.
  • I have two students finishing their dissertations, and both need to do so, as both will be employed next fall in tenure-track positions (weeee!).  So, that is a heap of reading over the next several months.  
  • More meetings with my band of undergrad voluntary coders, as they wanted academic credits for their effort.  Plus I will have to grade the papers that they need to write to gain credit.
  • Participate in the writing of a major grant project.
  • Oh, and finish that book I have been working on for the past several years.

I love my job, I love that I ultimately determine what I do, even if my control over where I do it (the great academic tradeoff) is limited, but I really need to do a better job of controlling my agenda.  This is entirely my fault.  It might mean less blogging over the next six months, or just more posts of whining.

Anyhow, I am sure that I omitting stuff.  The metaphor I have used--that I am juggling so many balls that I am less worried about dropping one but more worried about tripping on those already on the floor--is more apt than ever. 

But I am still a happy camper--family is healthy and only mildly stressed by school and by moving, I enjoy what I do even I am doing too much of it right now, and moving just means more new friends and fun interactions down the road.

No comments: