Lunchtime bitching

12 March 2008

As my eyes are scratchy and I try to get motivated to get some work done after my morning classes, I’m opting to take advantage of the opportunity to complain to you, dear reader.  This isn’t about the state of the city or our surrounding incompetence (and incompetents).  No, this one’s all me.  My eyes are scratchy because I got up real early to try to finish grading papers before class (I failed, but that’s partly because my movie buddy Joe was in town and we watched In the Valley of Elah–great flick; lots better than Crash).

I’m overwhelmed.  I have too many things going on, especially for someone as unorganized and lazy as I am.  Here’s a list of the crap I’m involved in that has regular meetings of varying intensity:

  • President of Faculty Association (closest thing we have to a Faculty Senate)
  • Vice President for Academic Affairs search committee
  • core curriculum review committee
  • search committee for our department
  • chair of new academic integrity committee
  • advisor for our honor society
  • PI on a grant that sends students abroad to do research in developing countries
  • coordinating committee
  • and I just “agreed” to be the faculty representative for our accreditation process

All this is in addition to about 40 advisees, papers in all my classes, supervising student research, and trying to make progress on my & E’s Psyc of Disaster book (we hope to finish in October).   How the hell does this happen?  I know other people are busier than I am, but I guarantee they don’t procrastinate like I do, and they have longer attention spans.  When I tell my folks about some of the stuff I’m doing, I make it sound like an honor, but I know the real story–most of the time, someone says, “HammHawk’ll do it.”  Generally, I don’t mind being a supporting player, but I don’t like being the point person, and now that’s becoming more common.  And if the president asks me to do something (like the VPAA search and the accrediting thing), it’s hard to say no, especially because he’s twice my age and has twice my energy.  Still, I can’t help but think there are people around who’d do a better job, and I could use the help.

Some of these things are kinda fun, and truthfully, I love my job and my employer, so I want to have a voice in what happens.  At the same time, it sometimes leads to unwanted conflict with respected others.   It also allows me a certain level of self-righteousness to say no occasionally and to feel as though if I haven’t been in a meeting with you at least once, you’re not pulling your weight.  Easy, easy, I know that’s not true, but I still think it sometimes.  I love the Demotivators maxim, “Meetings:  None of us is as dumb as all of us.”  BTW, check out their new shirt.

So, I’m bitching, but I know I’m lucky too.  In fact, last week I found out that I’m heading this summer to Spain & Morocco for a seminar on coexisting cultures and to South Africa for a seminar on race & nation.  Pretty damn nice.  So I’m busy, but it’s better than not having anything to do.