Open Access Tenure: Sondheim Summer
I’m having a bit of a Sondheim Summer–echoes of Follies’ I’m Still Here playing in the background. Carol Burnett really sells it. (See 2:30 for the start of it in concert).
ALA wasn’t too heavily scheduled for me, though the focus was on meetings. I’m still wrangling with the changes that are coming with next summer’s conference and that involved several long conversations to attempt to figure out messages, anticipate challenges, and wrap collective heads around things. The phrase I found myself repeating was “This will be a really good thing for the conference; change is hard.” It’s not a bad place to start, though certainly one frought with interesting moments. Getting to have some focused conversations with other people who are further up in the organizational chain helped and we’re continuing those discussions via email and Skype.
The Incredibly Patient Mother taught me how to run events well from a young age and I’m used to be being in a behind the scenes/directing-traffic/cutting-cake role. Last year I was the last minute stage manager for a wedding, with responsibilities including crouching on the floor of a church entryway holding the bride’s train so that a door didn’t crush it. One of the challenges of something like a national conference is that to a large degree you have absolutely no control. I couldn’t guarantee that my presenters would show up, that wireless would cooperate, a lot of other things, and with 30+ programs (I owe the Joint Chairs a final count), I couldn’t BE at all of them, even if I’d wanted to do so.
That being said, my committee was solid and showed up to introduce people, answered last minute emails, got up at 8 a.m. to meet with me, and the tech staff at the Anaheim Convention Center were responsive. I didn’t hear of any particularly major meltdowns and the tweets I saw coming out were generally positive. Right now we’re trying to get things coordinated so people have all of the information they need to propose programs for next summer. I’ve GOT to, got to, got to get that stuff out soon.
Coming home, I plunged back into three days of work, finishing a book chapter, and a lot of packing. May I recommend that for your own sanity you try to not ever move within a week after a major conference? The moving-truck portion of my move took place on Monday, 7/2, which was a comedy of errors that has evolved into an epic story (epic in that it requires verbal cues, repeated scenes, etc, and is best told by both the Philosopher and I together to get all of the crazy). I’m hoping to get the last car load out of my old apartment tomorrow evening and then turn over the keys to my landlord very soon.
I would like to note for the public record that the Philosopher did a lot of packing for me on Saturday while I finished my book chapter manuscript. He also staged all of my stuff in my living room, which the movers greatly appreciated. He’s a good man to have during a move.
Following the holiday it was back to work for a couple of days and then off to a wedding in another state. Did I mention I was still living out the suitcase I took to Anaheim? Thank heavens I’d overpacked for that trip. Philosopher and I drove back from Pittsburgh on Sunday. Again, I don’t suggest combining an epic-story move and your first 8 hour road trip with someone in the same week but we managed it. Sunday night I did laundry and dishes at the same time and also unpacked other things. On location laundry and a dishwasher made me feel like the most efficient person ever.
And now it’s a new week. I’m boggled that it’s been nearly a month since last I blogged. I kept thinking guiltily about the blog, wanting to sit down and write, and either being too exhausted or, a number of days, too irritated. Being spread extremely thin does not lend itself to a particular tolerance for policies and practices that strike one as ineffective measures of success or ability.
I’ve got a new formal mentor at work to assist with tenure, due to a requirement that campus has handed down. Fortunately, I was able to pair with someone that I already had a more informal relationship with and for whom I have a lot of respect. Madame Mentor has just finished the tenure process and so knows the depths of paperwork quite well. She’s given me the forms that I’ll have to turn in early next year so I can start duplicating them and filling them out now.
Why I didn’t already have a copy of these forms is a question that I don’t have a good answer for at the moment, but I’m going to turn them into a GDoc and start working on them now so that next fall I’m not having to reinvent the wheel. I’ll share the blank doc with you when I’m done so you can see what I’m filling out. I also need to write up my quarterly report for myself (Madame Department Chair now no longer being here to remind me to do it).
Back to the overflowing inboxes….