Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's not all whining!

I actually did not start this blog just to whine. Really! I did some googling yesterday and you should see some of the whining blogs that are out there. No, I'm not nearly that bad. And that really was not the main reason I started this blog. Really!

While I continue to maintain that I was completely abandoned by the supposedly supportive and nurturing Christian community I was in at my last college, I will say there are some upsides to what has happened to me. I would not have chosen it this way, but ....

Well, let me stop right there. One of the (kind of) beneficial things about where I am now is that I was forced out. In my mind, I fought as hard and as long as I could and was tossed out. So, I don't have any regrets I did not try harder. And I was forced to completely change what I was doing professionally, which at least in the short term, has had some advantages to it. The first, most obvious one--in retrospect--is that I got to take a break from teaching. Yes, I am massively pissed that the assholes at my last college decided that they had to craft their denial so as to make it in effect impossible for me to teach again at any level, but I will admit that it has been nice to take a break from teaching. I spent 16 years in a row teaching college science full-time. This is what sabbaticals are for. If you don't have a break from students and grading every 7 years of so you go absolutely nuts. To actually not have to grade papers for once has been a tremendously liberating experience. I realized that I was always, except maybe between terms, living with a nagging guilt that I had not finished the grading I should have gotten to earlier.

So that was good. But besides that, I'd say that college professors, especially those with significant teaching pressures, are some of the most over-committed people. I'm working on several different IT/HPC related projects now in my new job but the pressure seems almost non-existent. When people ask me what I'm doing, sometimes I now jokingly just say "nothing.. really nothing...OK well not exactly nothing but a lot less than I used to be." That's not to say that I'm idle in my new job, just that the evening/weekend pressures are much, much less.

Now, beyond that, I can see that there are some people who did get tenure that I would not want to be. And I mean good people too. One good acquaintance of mine who does have tenure at a small private college, he just seems somewhat self-indulgent, intellectually. It's hard to explain what I mean by that, but it has to do with being in a position where you have been there a long time, you know you will be there a long time in the future, and you have very good job security. It does not force you out of your rut very much. That and standing in front of students a few hours a day and they will listen to whatever you say (pretty much), tends you to a certain self-indulgence that is not healthy. You know the type I mean, the older professor who has been doing it for a long time and has certain... quirks.... that can be endearing or infuriating but once you are out of the system you can look at it and go--wow, you could not maintain that kind of approach outside of academia!

So I'm glad I did not go down that road. I was forced out of my rut, and while it was a horrible injustice perpetrated by fundamentally evil people it did have certain upsides to it.

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