Thursday, November 20, 2008

A perfect storm of uselessness

It's a crunch time of the semester. Deadlines are due, and some are overdue. Writing is going slowly, and it can't go anywhere at all on a teaching day. What better time to hold a meeting, then?

Let's say that the meeting is about our favorite fake discipline, underwater basketweaving, and you are responsible for the department of scuba masks. At the meeting--the long, long meeting--all of the information is directed toward underwater basketweaving. You are called on (by the wrong name) and asked one question about scuba masks. The rest of the time, you're inundated with information about underwater basketweaving, none of which you need to know except insofar as you're interested in the subject; it has little bearing on what you need to do, and your part has little bearing on it. Best of all, another meeting about underwater basketweaving is scheduled. It was . . . well, insert the title of the post here.

On the other hand, even though I'm feeling stressed out by deadlines, I love going to class and teaching and talking to my students. Some mornings, after waking up far too early worrying about the writing and what's going to happen with budget cuts, I get into class and it all goes away. So a secret message to my students: even though you're tired and ready for a break--thanks.


Professor Zero said...

Yeah. And what I want to post about: Saturday and Sunday evenings I have to go to restaurant dinners, paying for myself, with a friend of a colleague whom we have invited to speak. It is going to be expensive and everyone else involved is going to be a middle aged man drinking heavily and pontificating. I would really like to get out of it - if in that time I finish an article people will remember the article longer than the dinners - but it will be seen as unsupportive if I don't go. AARGH.

undine said...

And you have to pay for this? That quandary is one that I have never resolved. You kill a day going to a meeting or a talk or otherwise being supportive, while your colleagues who skipped it are getting writing done. The worst part is that I feel guilty if I go and guilty if I don't go. Nice work, academia!