Dread Monday

Every year, my institution has a special set of meetings: the tenured faculty gather together and review our aspiring younger faculty. It’s our one evening of absolute power, in which we have three possible outcomes: 1) OK, we’ll let them linger on another year, 2) we promote them to a tenured position, so they can join us in this exercise next year, or 3) you’re fired, you’ve got one year to clear out your office. I hate it. We take it seriously, which means we have to read all these big tenure & promotion files the week before, and sometimes these meetings go on for hours. And there are two evenings of these meetings!

The first meeting is tonight, the second is tomorrow. At least it’ll be over soon…and I’m sure the faculty we’ll be reviewing will be even more relieved.

On top of that, I’m grading exams. They’re mostly done, except for the grand essay question that I told them would require a couple of pages of discussion, to be graded for grammar and quality. That I will get done today, or die.

I still teach classes and have spiders to take care of! To make it even more fun, I’m getting my COVID vaccination tomorrow. Whee.


  1. numerobis says

    In grad school there was the mighty meeting of faculty evaluating the grad students. We students would have a big party while it happened, and there was the ceremonial delivery of a case of well-chosen beer to the faculty.

    Chosen by name, of course. It would be Fat Bastard, Blithering Idiot, or something to that effect. Tradition was to find a new one every semester.

  2. says

    The first meeting is tonight, the second is tomorrow

    Just imagine, if you were a supreme court justice, you’d be flown on a private jet, eating canapes and drinking good wine, a quick ride in a luxury car to the resort, then enjoy your suite for a while until the cordon bleu dinner, and cigars and expensive whiskey with the rest of the committee until it’s bedtime… Then up for a massage and breakfast, a dunk in the pool, and the next day’s meeting is 2:00pm-4:00pm.

  3. rockwhisperer says

    Back when I was getting my MS in my late 40s to early 50s, I remember a faculty comment about an adjunct professor, a terrific teacher, who was angling for a tenure-track position that had opened. The gist of it was that he was not good tenure-track material, he could and needed to do better than working as an adjunct, and they, as his friends, ought to encourage him. As I write this, many years later, he’s a successful geologist working in the next state over. My point is that they encouraged him to find a job that really played to more of his strengths than being a great teacher.

    Not everyone is suited to being a college professor. The workload is high, beyond teaching or researching, and you all have to manage whatever your administration throws at you, including the unpleasant tasks like the one you’ve described. It is a gift to give younger colleagues a push if they are reluctant to admit it to themselves.

  4. Akira MacKenzie says

    Ugh… I just got back to work after a week’s vacation. First thing I note when I log onto my work computer is that there were already about 90 people waiting in the call que. Ninety people who inevitably yelled at me for the long waits.

    It must be nice to have a job you actually LIKE instead of having to take whatever lousy job anyone can give you so you can ” get by.” It must be fantastic to have talents and abilities instead of being a barely-functional drudge who hates his job AND the braindead, clueless MORONS that I’m legally required to consider human.

    I hate my life.

  5. birgerjohansson says

    Monday may suck, but as a member of the librul academic elite that rules everything behind the scene you can take comfort in the big piles of money you are making, right? Right?

    BTW if you need cheering up, just leave bird food outdoors within sight of the windows. Watching happy birds feeding in the snow is a pleasant distraction from the daily grind.

  6. says

    Ahhh! Winter and the joys of the academic bureaucratic system. as is often said: The floggings will continue until morale improves! Sorry, PZ you are caught in the jaws of big dumb carnivorous animal. So, sic the poisonous spiders on them!

  7. Akira MacKenzie says

    Autumn is always bitter sweet for me.

    Ay, see how brave they fall,
    In their last journey downward from the bough,
    To rot within the clay; yet, lovely still,
    Hiding the horror of the last decay,
    With all the wayward grace of careless flight!
    –Edmond Rostand
    Cyrano de Bergerac, Act V Scene 5

    Summer maybe hot and miserable, but at least everything is green and alive. Autumn just reminds me that everything is going to become cold, gray, bitter, and dead.

    I suspect that my part of my depression maybe seasonally affected.

  8. hemidactylus says

    No judgment but why did you take so long to get the COVID vax? Were you timing the after malaise with your busy schedule? Or 3D chess timing max immunity against future winter surges? I thought about that when I might have been amongst the first recipients of Spikevax XBB just over a month ago in Floriduh of all places. I worried Desantis would ban the shots!

    Thankfully I had a 4 hour short day the day after and came home to be kinda miserable. I had stocked up on comfort food like ice cream sandwiches!

    Hope you make it through without too much misery. But it is worth it 👍💉🦠

  9. hemidactylus says

    Wow those emojis did not work out as anticipated. The shot has blood pouring out and the virus got transformed into some sort of paramecium.

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