Extensions

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?


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 meaningful conversations, working a varied schedule. The tragedy is that she felt she had to convince us of that.

Why do those of us in non-traditional academic jobs feel the need to convince others that we like our jobs, we really do? I’ll tell you why – because of the pitying looks we get from other academics when they hear what we are doing. I think these pitying looks come from two groups of people in particular.

The first group is tenure-track/tenured professors who believe that any other path is inferior, and that those of us not on that path must not have what it takes to succeed. These people are snotty elitists and there’s not much we can do about them. I don’t waste my time worrying about these people.

The group that has bothered me more in the past are the deluded grad students and post-docs who believe that 1) any other path is inferior (see above), 2) any one who takes a job off the tenure-track is “giving up,” and 3) of course they’ll succeed, their experience will be different. These are the same people who give you pitying looks if you take a tenure-track position at any institution that is not an R1 or a prestigious private SLAC.

I’ve decided not to let this group bother me any more either. They’ll learn about the real world soon enough.

And at a conference a couple of weeks ago, I felt like a shift was occurring in the academic zeitgeist. When I met new people and told them about my job, they genuinely seemed to think it sounded like a great job. Some even seemed envious. Of course, by being there and presenting results from this summer’s fieldwork, I was able to demonstrate that one could be an active researcher in a position like this, which might have helped a bit.

I don’t know if I am noticing them more or what, but it seems to me that non-traditional academic positions are becoming more common. Another friend of mine just got a position running the educational/outreach programs at a research station, which I think is a great job for her. But when she got the job offer, a whole bunch of people did the equivalent of coughing and looking away. I was one of the few to encourage her to take the job and to enjoy it. And so far she’s glad she did – especially since her other option was adjuncting in a big city and keeping her fingers crossed that one day, one of those universities in that city just might offer her a permanent position.

I don’t think of my job as “second-best,” and neither should the rest of us in so-called “alternate” careers. I get to do everything I love about academia – and I avoid many of the things I hate about it. I’d say that’s a pretty good deal.


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, and the last one – the paper that won’t die, the one that has been to four journals – finally got a revise and resubmit!! Hooray! A whole lot of major revisioning has been requested but this is huge progress compared to the last three years.
  • I am currently working on a review paper with a friend of mine who works on the same topic as me. Pretty happy about that.
  • I presented preliminary results from this summer’s fieldwork last week at the conference, in which I tested what may sound to some like a really crazy idea, but it was very well received. Several people said to me that they had noticed this phenomenon too and wondered if it was what I thought it was. (Sorry for the vagueness). Anyway, I think it could lead to a cool little paper.
  • And I met up with an old friend while I was there who wants to collaborate, which will involve me doing fieldwork this winter in my backyard. Awesome!

I know things have been very quiet on this blog this summer, but I am planning a big comeback. The alt-ac thing is gaining interest and popularity, both on the internet and in real life. There were some articles posted recently that I want to talk about, and some experiences I’d like to share… so stay tuned!


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.


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!


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.


Accepted!

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 planning this thing, they need to talk to me NOW, not later. I think I will have to send a less polite reminder out very soon.

In other news, I rediscovered a pair of shoes that I haven’t worn for at least five years. I’ve considered getting rid of them many times because I thought they weren’t my style, but today they seemed just right!