Wednesday, July 16, 2008

(The promise of) money talks

I had a meeting with my Dean yesterday, following up on the issue we met about last month, when I asked you for advice on how to transform our relationship into one that's not so dreadfully uncomfortable, with him always berating me for perceived mistakes. Well. It was veeeeeerrrrrrrrrrry interesting. He's like my new best friend. He wanted to shoot the breeze with me about what's going on in my department, offer me advice on how to handle faculty politics, and then he checked in with me about my research - he wanted to know, in detail, what I'm working on. When I explained to him that I'd had a successful trip to Paris in the spring and hoped to go for one month next spring to finish with what I needed for my book project, the question of funds somehow came up. I am out of my start-up funds. I said that I'd just be hoping to get a SSHRC grant in the upcoming competition, and that was the only way I could pay for it since I can't apply to small internal granting funds for the same projects for which I've applied to SSHRC. Well, do you want to know what he said? He said that if I couldn't get any more money from grants, I should come and talk to him - he'd give me the money, using "Dean's discretion."

"!," I thought. What a far cry all of this was from the punitive Dean I'd been dealing with most of the year.

And I thought about how the Dean has just been doing the annual review process that leads to merit pay and another kind of performance-related salary increase...these were just announced and added to our most recent paycheques. I somehow landed in the top rank of my department and got both of these two bonus-y things. I looked impressive on paper, I guess. I looked like I had things happening for me. Maybe even like I might bring in outside money in future (ironically, since I failed to bring it in with the last grant application), and that is what this Dean and this institution care about more than anything - anything - else. I am certain that it was because recently he had to look over my record in detail, and see that I've got things going on, that he suddenly warmed to me the way that he did. What a world this is. Presumably I need support and mentoring more if I am flailing - but it is not forthcoming until it's proven that I'm, in fact, doing just the opposite.


In other news, I'm on these crutches until the end of August. Normally I would be back to the doctor the week of August 11 (six weeks after the injury) and could maybe be given the okay to walk again then. But I will be in Home City, and not back until later in the summer. So I have to wait to see him. He did say that at the six-week mark, I could cautiously see how it felt to walk without them, but he seemed pretty wary of that idea. So, yeah - looks like it's crutches for me until August 27. Blech!! Hopefully I can go swimming - I can't believe I forgot to ask him whether that would be okay.

Oh well. It looks like I will leave for Home City a week from tomorrow, and I will still have four and a half weeks there, so that's great.


K said...

That's terrific news about your meeting with the Dean! Definitely take him up on the money offer if the funds don't come in from elsewhere. Perhaps this is the start of great new things.

That sucks about the crutches, but hang in there. With lots of rest (if you can), breaks often heal faster than what the doc says.

Brigindo said...

I agree with you that its wrong that mentoring and support comes only after you've proven you don't really need it, but I say take what you can when you can. External funding is the name of the game and if you are competitive you can get discretionary funds as well. Good for you. You had such a miserable year there--at least your hard work is paying off.

Sorry about the crutches.

Hilaire said...

Don't worry, I'm totally taking what I can get! I'm just so jaded about this place and this world,ye know?

K - That's good news about breaks healing well with rest. It is lucky that, it being summer, I am virtually unscheduled right now, and so rarely have to wake up to an alarm or anything. I get to sleep as much as I want.