Friday, December 15, 2006

Time: Why Grad School Beats Tenure Track

It's 5:31 p.m. on Friday of finals week. As soon as I finish this, I am going home. It seems that I am alone on the second floor of the mass communications building.

That's the big difference between the professor job and graduate school (besides the paycheck). My family sacrificed for 6 years of graduate school. During grad school you kept working until the paper was finished. When the muse struck, you wrote until it was done.

Family? They came second.

But not anymore. Sure, I am on a roll. But there are only so many times you can work alone late on a Friday until it gets old ... or your wife leaves you.

Today I picked up a paper on which I last worked on March 24, 2006. That's almost 9 months. If I worked until midnight tonight, it would almost be ready for journal submission. That's just a little over 6 hours.

When I come back on Monday morning, I will have forgotten where I was. I will have forgotten what I was thinking. There will be people here talking to me. I will not finish in 6 hours. It might take 6 days.

One of my former students sent me an e-mail today about the important things in life. I will try to keep that in mind when I turn around to look at the list of 8 manuscripts awaiting my attention. If I am lucky and dedicated (and my mom comes to watch my kids), 3 of those will be at journals before classes begin in January.

The other 5 will wait until spring break or summer.

If I win the lottery, I'm going back t0 grad school -- the intellectual womb.

I cherish the time with the family, but I tire of the seldom shrinking To-Do list.

Someone just left. So now I am alone.

Time to go!


Blogger H. said...

I think that "someone" was me. I came back to get my cell phone around that time and I did make a really loud noise when I shut my damn door. Glad you heard that and decided to go home :) Family should always come first...even if your only family is named TIVO ;)

9:50 AM  

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