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This job ain’t so bad

Yesterday I met with my Department Chair to reveal the existence of ye old fetus. He stared at my belly, with an expression of obvious astonishment that there could be anything in there. (Yeah, I’m not showing. But I swear it’s not an elaborate ruse to get a reduced workload.) The meeting was totally fine. One of the glorious things about academia is that there are clear policies about all this shit, and, because a university is supposed to be a sensitive, family friendly place, they pretty much have to be nice to me. But there is bureaucracy. I got to draft a little letter to go up to the Dean. Here’s how it reads.

 In accordance with Section II.E of the faculty handbook, I am requesting workload release from teaching and service duties for the Fall semester of 2011. I expect to give birth in May of 2011. I will be the primary care-giving parent of this child.

Isn’t that romantic? Nothing says bundle of joy like quoting Section II.E of the faculty handbook. But I have been experiencing a renewed sense of gratitude for my job. Partly because one of my students recently asked me when I decided I wanted to be a professor. I was fifteen. And I made it happen. If you know anything about academia, you know that’s not easy. I’m very lucky. And partly because I’ve been doing real work this week (as per my resolution), which has begun to remind me ever so vaguely of a time when I loved my research. And partly because I’ve been experiencing a renewed sense of gratitude for EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD. Okay, except poverty, and hunger, and oatmeal (blech!), but all the other stuff.

20 Comments Post a comment
  1. You've obviously never had my delicious oatmeal, soaked overnight with salted water and whey, and cooked up slowly the next morning, topped with a giant dollop of cream and drizzled with maple syrup…mmmmhhhh.Congrats on getting through the meeting! Although it's rather cold and not at all romantic, I'm glad Section II.E is there to protect you :).

    November 11, 2010
  2. I love that you're in that place where you're loving everything… You sound so blissful!You should put the note in your baby scrapbook – so romantic!

    November 11, 2010
  3. Bunny, are you glowing? "Not showing," my ass; you're sparkling the screen of my phone all up! I love hearing you so happy, and hooray that work is set up to make sure you get what you need. And yay for enjoying again! Sorry Alice W. was such a biyotch to you, btw. She seemed all lovely-like when we saw her speak a couple years ago. Wonder whether there's still time to change my answer…Or maybe I'll just gave her prepare the meal we have together–I'm nor clear on how good a cook Thich Nhat Hanh is.

    November 11, 2010
  4. i just had a shitty meeting where i put my boss in his place for being an asshole in front of my new boss. got back to my desk and though, this job SUCKS ASS, so was funny to refresh my blog and see the title of this post. retail isn't a friendly place to be in when business is soft. shit trickles downhill, and i'm not the type to blame ppl below me, so the buck stops with me. UGH!!sorry for the bitching. glad that you are fully out in the open now :o) xoxo.

    November 11, 2010
  5. This is a very happy post and I heart it. YIP!!!!!! 🙂 Oh, and that is awesome you have some sick maternity leave time ahead of you my friend. {dying of jealousy!!!} xo

    November 11, 2010
  6. Teach me how to work. Seriously, how did you up your productivity? I think it is something I used to do. Now spend my days googling and obsessing around blogs. Mother father, I think I just might implode. I tell you what seems to help: you have a real love for your job, huh? It just got lost in the shuffle for a while. Enjoy this energy – it is so great when you have it going on. I love to see it.Setting a childhood goal and achieving it is pretty rock and roll.

    November 11, 2010
  7. I love your letter. It's awesome. And Section 11.E rocks also.And perhaps you need to change the title of your blog now from Glum Bunny to Super Awesomely Happy Bunny. Having an appreciation of everything in the world is no small achievement. x

    November 11, 2010
  8. AL #

    Awesome that your work is so accommodating to maternity leave and you have a renewed sense of motivation appreciation for it.Love how happy you sound in this post 🙂

    November 11, 2010
  9. Oh, hurray, the fun bit! This is GREAT.I love the Section II.E. It's so 1984. Whoo!

    November 12, 2010
  10. I LOVE this post! We don't have section IIe. On my campus one is entitled to 6-8 weeks paid medical leave for giving birth (zip-zilch-nada for adoption) and the 12 weeks unpaid leave guaranteed under FMLA for care-giving. I'm due in Feb, and I won't be teaching, but on paper I'll be expected to do other service work on the days I'm not on leave. My dept won't expect me to come to meetings and do advising or any of that, but people in other departments have gotten totally screwed.

    November 12, 2010
  11. I love your letter, bunny. A very academic description of bundle of joy, indeed.

    November 12, 2010
  12. Glad work is going better and your enjoying it more. LOL at that letter!

    November 12, 2010
  13. What a heartwarming letter… Seriously, I love how happy you are. It's reminding me to try to be happy and thankful too.

    November 12, 2010
  14. Have I mentioned how excited I am for this baby??

    November 12, 2010
  15. It's awesomeness all around! You've inspired me to get back to work 🙂

    November 12, 2010
  16. Whoo hoo! Yay for good policies! You deserve every second of your leave and you shall enjoy it!

    November 12, 2010
  17. Hurrah for the public sector! That's one of the reasons I love it – clear policies on this sort of thing. My, who is this happy glowing person and what have you done with our Bunny? 🙂 Seriously though, I am ever so happy for you. Would love to hear more about why you decided to become a professor, age 15.

    November 13, 2010
  18. So warm and cuddly, that Section II.E:) Glad things are good and much as teaching at an institution of higher learning has its annoyances, it has some pretty good upsides, too. So glad things are good.

    November 15, 2010
  19. Nice! Glad the telling to the department chair is over and done with. Despite the tactless stare at your belly. Is it a little bit astonishing to you to think that next year at this time you will be on mat leave?? I hope it hits you once in a while and that you savour it. AND, I'm really glad that your research is starting to jazz you up. So much easier when IF-related sadness and anger are not obstructing the way.I'm with Andie; I would love to read about how you decided to become a professor at age 15.

    November 17, 2010
  20. So you've been keeping up with the resolution. I was wondering! Congrats; I think it represents a ginormous shift in your mental energy away from scary things and into getting your ducks in a row for becoming a primary care-giver.

    November 17, 2010

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