21 December 2018

Rubber, glass, chainsaw

Being an academic is a juggling act. You’re expected to perform teaching, and do research, and do service. And that’s just the highest level breakdown of your responsibilities.

With so much to juggle, some balls get dropped. It happens.

But one of the things you have to learn is that not all the things you juggle are the same.

Some balls are rubber. You can drop these. They’ll bounce and be okay.

Some balls are glass. You can’t drop these or they crack, break, or shatter.

The trick is knowing which one is which.

A lot of the tasks that administrators give rank and file faculty are rubber balls. Answering every email is a rubber ball.

Teaching, on the other hand, is usually a glass ball. Writing that scheduled exam is a glass ball. Grading final exams so they can go on student transcripts is a glass ball.

And sometimes you’re juggling a flaming chainsaw in the mix, too.

Your research is a chainsaw. Drop it, and it will sputter around wildly and has the potential to really damage you.

External links

Tweet from 4 December

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