Seven ways to figure out whether you're a junior prof:
1. You spend a lot of time avoiding committee meetings 2. You've hidden from a student by diving under the desk 3. Achieving a personal life is on your list of things To Do 4. You still haven't given up on the idea of Free Food 5. Your real expertise lies in exploring the local happy hour scene 6. You're always working on your "Book" 7. You spend more than 8 hours a day contemplating alternate career plans
Given that I have at least a month before the ms reviews arrive, I am attempting to complete an article to ensure that I have checked the tenure box entitled "regularity of publishing." But my list of "possible" articles have almost reached the length of an article. I am considering putting the list on a dartboard and employing some elementary physics to make the Choice. I am also wondering if there might not be an intellectual version of Activia for academics.
What does "regularity of publishing" mean, anyway? Is it better to produce a series of not-so-great publications for lesser journals or a few well placed exemplar articles? Wouldn't our fields be better off if we did the latter? Do people in the higher up recognize that some fields are based on books, which considerably reduce article output? Do they recognize that the average 4-6 week turnaround of a scientific paper vastly differs from the 1-2 year turnaround of a social science/humanities essay (a turnaround that often gets longer the better the journal)?
Sometimes I wonder what it's like to be in a field where the "laboratory" is not many, many miles away from one's house. I'm returning to the suitcase life, though with an even more fascinating twist than when I was in grad school. I am literally to be homeless for a month, from when my renter arrives until my new lease in another city on the other coast begins. I am after suggestions for filling this fallow period. I have already contemplated the pros and cons of the following strategies:
Option 1: Pitching my pup tent (after buying one) in my office and investing in frozen microwave dinners.
Option 2: Going on massive tour of country, making sure to ask strangers to take my picture against every monument that might come up in a big lecture course.
So I have always wanted this blog to be a site of conversation, as opposed to a site of display. Ergo, I am tired of talking generally to myself. Juniorprofs (or almost juniorprofs or not that far from juniorprofness) please audition. My first guest juniorprof is risatrix, who has not only commented but made me laugh. Welcome, disaffected juniorprof who has already collaborated in making the world go round. BTW, a very good wheel could up your chances of becoming the third or fourth juniorprof. A contest, as it were.
I will work on anonymous display. But basically you need to choose a name, sign on, and lie about who you in fact are. (Oh, and make a wheel).
Reinventing the wheel is a tried and true tradition. I say embrace your wheel: give it a long skirt and scent it with patchouli, decorate it with silver studs and tattoos, or attach a paisley tie. There is nothing wrong with the wheel--it makes the world go round. The more the merrier; novelty is not an issue.
I originally fought against the reinvention of the wheel. This struggle proved a fruitless waste of my time. I now accept that I shall, in fact, reinvent the wheel multiple times in my life, in all sorts of ways and mostly unwittingly. So much to say; so much of it has already been said; so little time to investigate what other people are saying when one is trying to talk.
Besides, practice at reinventing the wheel should provide excellent training for when one is explicitly asked to do so for those who are not yet aware of your particular wheel.
If you were reinventing the wheel, what would that wheel look like?
The Deadline looms. (Thunder rolls, lightning strikes, etc. etc.)
Yet I am sitting here deconstructing terms as if in the midst of that deconstruction I will suddenly unearth what I'm writing about. I'm trying to write a state-of-the-field essay on the biggest, broadest, most useless topic I can imagine (well, that's not entirely true--I could imagine worse topics). I have moved through the following thought process:
1. Only people with gray hair (entirely gray, not just a few strands here or there) should ever be asked to write such a thing. 2. All meta-discussions of field directions are extended exercises in making shit up. 3. Why exactly did I agree to do this? 4. Perhaps juniorprofs are peculiarly suited to see new directions? 5. Wouldn't it be cool if I could use this time to read all those newly published books that I have failed to get to? 6. Who has time to read? 7. Putting the covers over my head seems like a grand idea.