Monday, August 25, 2008

I Love My Job

I know it may be premature and saccharine, but I love my job! I'm aware that any form of gainful employment will seem celestial after six years in scholastic purgatory--but a few signs tell me that I am on the right track professionally.

1. I'm surprised when it is 5:00. The time races by at work. I enjoy teaching my classes, getting my lessons together, writing tests, learning how to handle all of my grades, playing with "instructional technology," etc.

2. I get to go home when it is 5:00. If I work hard all day I can leave everything at school. None of it follows me home. I don't assign homework so I don't have to take home papers. (Sorry, English teacher/history teacher types.) The only homework I have to grade is lab reports and those aren't too bad.

3. My co-workers are cool. All of them seem pretty easy going. My department chair is VERY nice. One of my cubicle-mates is a falconer. He also hunts and is a fantastic wildlife photographer. He just got back from safari in South Africa. I'm taking the kids out to see his place on Saturday. He has two peregrines and one gyrfalcon. He also has a half-mount stuffed zebra and other dead things hanging out all over his place. My other cubicle-mate is the caretaker at the local nature preserve and is great. (The cubicles are temporary until I get my OWN office in the renovated science hall.)

4. The students are fun. I like my non-science major students. They're not academic whiz kids, but none of them are "dumb" either. I can identify with them and I want to help them meet their goals. I think I can help them have a good academic experience which motivates me to improve as a teacher.

5. I get summers off. My salary isn't what it would be if I was a research professor or had gone into research in government or industry, but I will have time to work with the kids on our garden and farm projects all summer.

So there you go. I would have never seen myself here until a little less than a year ago, but I'm glad things worked out the way they did. How about y'all? What do you like about your job? Anybody planning a career change?


  1. Dang, Rob. What did they do to you at NC State?

    I like my job, too. I like everything that I do. But I'm having a hard time figuring out how to switch between researcher and teacher. I'm not very good at doing both in the same day.

    Also, I have a hard time taking a long view in different aspects of my job -- like advising graduate students and managing research projects.

    I figure it's all part of the learning process, but I'm also trying to deal with these issues with the pressure of tenure and promotion and three year reviews looming in the background.

    So...yeah. I'm not looking for a career change any time soon, but I'd give my right kidney to live somewhere besides Lubbock.

  2. NC State is a fantastic research institution. It just took me a few years to realize that I was a round peg trying to fit myself into a square hole. Running a molecular biology research program and earning tenure are serious challenges and I finally realized that unless I was truly engrossed with my field of study I couldn't put in the energy to make it all happen.

    You will figure it all out, but I it has to be a challenging adjustment to go from graduate student to research mentor, grant writer, and teacher.

  3. Phhh! Teaching? No no no, Research, friend, RESEARCH! Let those little blood suckers that the university call "students" fend for themselves.

  4. It's nice that you found what you love Rob! Too many people do something to just pay the bills or because they don't have the cojones to actually go out and do what they love. Bravo to you!

  5. Seriously dude. Give it up for academia and its great vacation breaks. I'm so going to miss the three weeks I got off for Christmas when I was in school. None of that where I work.

  6. I love my HUSBAND'S new job! (and the fact that I don't have to teach anymore unless I WANT to, which I don't think I will for a looooong time). I'm happy for you, Rob.