Friday, September 07, 2007

Why, why?

Is there some law of the universe that phone/Internet companies - Canadian ones at least - have to be incompetent? I am just. so. sick. of making confused phone calls to phone companies about completely incomprehensible billing, to name just one thing. And I hear the same frustration from almost everyone I know. What is it about these kinds of companies that makes them so colossally freaking DAFT??? Good god - they do all sorts of complicated things with communication technologies and all that - can't they apply a frigging ounce of those smarts in their bloody accounting and administrative departments???

Now that that's off my chest...

Let me just say a few words about what I had actually planned to post about today.

Which is a reflection on Week One of the new academic year in this here new position. Classes started yesterday.
  • I was surprised to find relatively not nervous I was. I guess two years of full-time teaching has really increased my confidence. Hooray for that - I think back to my first year of teaching, two years ago, and I was eaten alive by classroom-nervousness, for the first couple of months. I think last year, because it went so well, helped to banish that. Not that it's completely gone - I got some nerves just as my big class was about to begin. It's the largest I've taught. But I talked through them and felt comfortable and had them very engaged, by the end. So that's great.
  • I have to say that I'm amazed, even after three days of being on campus and in the fray of the year, by how different things feel on the tenure track than they did when I was on full-time contract, those last two years. I was pretty immersed in the departments, in both years. But here, I really feel as if I'm inhabiting a different plane. This is not surprising, logically, of course. But I wouldn't have expected it to be so glaringly apparent. So yeah, it's the usual TT things, but they make a huge difference: there are grad students wanting me on committees, people pulling me into their offices as I walk by to have talks about "the long-term future of the program," a nearly unmanageable volume of emails about administrative/service things, etc. Of course, I also already tangibly feel the change in status - I feel more respected (which is problematic). It amazes me how incredibly quickly and intensely I felt the shift.
  • It is also very clear to me how much it could overtake MY WHOLE LIFE. I could drown in it all, so for the first time I am making really very conscious efforts to block off time - like, essentially, the whole evening every night this week - in which I will not touch work. I came home so freaking mentally exhausted I couldn't have done anything even if I wanted to. Which is the product, of course, of the body's readjusting to the rhythms, and I know it will not always feel so taxing. But I think it's good/important to institute and guard my down time, where I can. To build that into the rhythms, too.

And today I'm getting back to my SSHRC application. I haven't really touched it in two weeks, and I am surprised to find that I am actually approaching it with relish!!? I think it's because it is making me seriously map out my project, its significance - and that feels great. I'm hoping to have a draft of the grant application by the end of the weekend, and am going to circulate it to a few people for feedback.


adjunct whore said...

i'm sorry hilaire--for me it is banks. ever since i went digital phone/internet, i haven't had that problem. i swear, i could never understand why my bill would be high when i had unlimited local/long distance at a flat rate.....huh?

Hilaire said...

Yes, this is it!!! Combined phone/Internet at flat rate. Now it's been explained to me - but goodness, there must be a way of just, like, transmitting that on the goddamn bill!!! It would save them so much time and money!

medieval woman said...

I love what you say about feeling the difference (often intangible) of the t-t position - I feel it too! 'Tis a lovely thing, I must, you're such a doll, how could people *not* want to talk to you about the future of the program!?

The Dutchman is applying for both a SSHRC (with a colleague) and an NSRC (spelling of that last acronym?) - he's in a state of stress I haven't seen for a while...

Good luck to you both!

Hilaire said...

Thanks, MW! Yes, the SSHRC does engender quite the level of stress...partly because budgets have been slashed so much and they are much harder to come by. Boo.

psychgrad said...

Good luck with the SSHRC application...the due date on these scholarships always comes so quickly.

I don't know what it is with phone companies in this country. Seems that I get different information every time I call. I wish I could record the conversation and play it back to the next customer service agent.

Belle said...

Phone companies are closely intertwined with the devil. But you knew that.

Congrats on the teaching and committees and TA... it sounds like you're finding balance early. I am having an awful time doing that. I spent Saturday morning in my office, trying to find my way through the stacks of junk to the floor and the desktop. Life? Who has a life? So good for you; cheering noises wafting in on the breeze come from your fans down south of the border.