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06 March 2014 @ 01:45 pm
Time, time, time or if I could save time in a bottle or perhaps the art of saying NO  
This post from Philip Nel struck such a resonant chord in me: http://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2014/03/03/essay-why-faculty-members-work-so-much. I am fairly sensitive when it comes to criticisms about the "banker's hours" comments I have heard from folks since I entered education in the 1970s (yes, I am that old). Weekends off. Free summers. Short days. Was it ever like that?

There are still folks who believe that I have it made because I teach at a university, AND i teach online. And I do post from time to time that I am working in my jammies, so perhaps I am contributing to this misunderstanding. I did work this Saturday (weekend) in jammies. I began with grading at 6 am, moved on to some audiobook judging until it was time to draft a column due next month. I logged off the computer about 9 pm. I was back online Sunday after church (weekend) for several hours. I work weekends, week nights, holidays, vacations, and summers.

I teach summers. I teach mini-sessions. I write. I serve on committees. I volunteer. Hello, my name is Teri, and I have a hard time saying no.

Nel points out beautifully how we come to get so busy. Habit is a big part of it. We develop the habit when we come to the university and work for tenure and promotion. By then, it has become so ingrained that we are still hard at work when we might take a deep breath. Technology connects me to work constantly. There are days that this is not as useful as others. Folks know how to find me. They can text, tweet, email, call. I am seldom out of range. This is a curse when I am on vacation but a blessing when I really need to be in touch with someone.

It is about blurred boundaries, as Nel suggests, too. My work like and my personal life are one when it comes to books. And I guess this is why I remain as crazily committed as I do: I love my job. It is often fun, generally enlightening, and so very satisfying. I look forward to texts from my "community." I do not think a day goes by without some contact. Back in the days before technology, I might have to go days, weeks, months without this manner of contact, this chance to talk, this opportunity to discuss the events of the day. We celebrate, we empathize, we commiserate.

I do think more carefully about time now that time seems so much more precious. I do take time off. I do move away from the computer. I do escape. But I also do miss the engagement, the community, the connection. If only time could be captured and saved up. If only.
 
 
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