Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Yes, you can have a life

This quote pretty much sums up the level of work-life "balance" expected of a new professor:

"Many of us have hobbies and things we prefer to do that may not be related to work. Integrating the two can be a great ally to a new faculty member and to a seasoned faculty member as well. Copying a segment [of the faculty handbook] that can be read during a morning walk on the treadmill or over a cup of coffee at a coffee shop can serve to support both pleasure and business at the same time."

See? You can have a hobby. Just as long as its one that is necessary for health or one that doesn't consume much time. And as long as you can multitask so you don't actually lose valuable work time.

Here are some other ways you can be more efficient on the tenure track:
  • Microwaved meals let you revise your dissertation not only while it cooks, but while you eat, too!
  • Into volunteering? Read to the blind! They will surely appreciate the journal articles you record for them as a change of pace from all those Tom Clancy books.
  • If you're into something more active, like knife-throwing or roller derby, be safe. Don't try to read at the same time. Don't worry, this is the perfect opportunity for graduate student meetings. Besides, your students will benefit from seeing you model work-life balance. Win-win!
  • On the other hand, do not try to combine graduate students and dating. Instead, limit your pool of potential partners to faculty members within your department. You'll learn about department politics and get some nookie.
  • Into travel? One word: Conferences.
  • Many new faculty make the mistake of talking too much in faculty meetings. One way to keep your mouth shut is to bring your Blackberry. Your colleagues will think you're texting, but you'll actually be getting ahead by writing op-ed tweets.
  • You need mentors. Remember to always meet over lunch for maximum time savings.
  • Don't spend too much time on class preperation. Limit it to the time that would otherwise be wasted by doubling prep time with shower time.
  • Children? Despite conventional wisdom, they're not a problem. Just use the handy parenting tips in the Baby Be of Use series.

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