Monday, September 14, 2009

Knocking Wood, Making Sign of Cross

Because I'm ultimately nothing if not superstitious and religious (in a very lame way - not because religion is lame, mind you, but because as a girl who was raised Catholic I know that invoking the Father, Son and Holy Spirit only when I fly on airplanes or when I want something is not how the whole set-up was intended) when it comes to situations such as these.

I do believe, after all the meetings, and after spending this entire day (and a good part of yesterday) in a flurry of emailing, and after all of the political maneuvering and compromise, that Major University-Wide Curriculum Issue has reached the conclusion of phase 2. You will note that this is only the conclusion of phase 2, and not the ultimate conclusion, for we still have phases 3, 4, and 5 to go.

So why am I crossing myself and knocking wood? Well, because in many respects this was the most delicate of phases. This was the phase in which it was necessary to turn disparate things into one unified thing; this was the phase in which it was necessary to engage the faculty as well as to battle over major philosophical differences and personal agendas, with the aim being that as things move forward that there won't be quite so much bare-knuckled brawling over these things. (There will still be some - I may be an optimist but I'm also a realist. I just am hoping that those who want to brawl will be outnumbered by those who see the big picture and thus the brawling will be kept to a minimum.)

How am I feeling? Well, I'm feeling very proud of myself, quite frankly. I'm feeling like I held my ground where it was necessary, and I'm feeling like I was the very essence of compromise when it counted. I'm feeling majorly respected by my colleagues (and yes, that includes some of those to whom I referred in my dick-slapping post), and I feel a tremendous amount of accomplishment for my very central role in this process. I feel tremendously brave for taking this on and for daring to play an active and visible role in the proceedings. I feel tremendously capable and smart. I feel like this is exactly what it should feel like to be a faculty member with tenure.

Now, I've got miles to go before I sleep. I'm on another committee that will see all of this again (phase 3), as well as a subcommittee of that group who will deal with some details (phase 4), as well as potentially another two committees that will figure out administrative shit (phase 5). I joked with the folks on yet another committee recently that this MUWCI was going to add a page to my CV. Seriously, this is not at all an exaggeration. (And yes, I know the value of saying no, but I'm much more about saying no to things I don't give a shit about and that I think don't mean shit. This MUWCI really matters - both to the education of our students generally, but also to me personally. I volunteered for this at the start, and I'll likely keep volunteering as things move forward.) Today I feel like a major potential roadblock in the process has been passed with finesse, and that feels really, really good. Now, if all goes according to plan (knocking wood, crossing myself) all that needs to be worried about is the crossing of t's and dotting of i's, and the implementation of the thing. If you could all knock on some wooden things, it couldn't hurt.

So, now after all of that self-congratulation and pride and such, let me digress in conclusion. Not a few people in recent weeks have noted to me that my exemplary performance in this endeavor makes me a target to be wooed into administration. On the one hand, I take this as a total compliment. (Not in the least because some of the people who've indicated this are administrators whom I really and truly like and respect.) And I like that I've demonstrated that I would be capable of such a move, and that people believe I could make such a move successfully. This gives me options, and options within academia, once one has achieve tenure, are few and far between. On the other hand, at least for the time being, I'm totally not interested. I'm not motivated by money (dude, I make more than my mom and G. put together, so I'm cool on that score), and I'm not motivated by weilding power over other people. What gets my rocks off is having a voice in things I care about, and not having to deal with shit that I think is stupid. As I see it, there is no better job in the world for fulfilling those desires than tenured faculty member. And also, I really love teaching and research. Sure, this kind of service satisfies me mightily, and isn't it great that I get to do it in my current job? But that doesn't mean I want my job to be managing this sort of thing. That doesn't mean that I want my job to consist almost entirely of meetings (which I loathe - even when they are productive and even pleasant.) What I care most about right now is making full professor rank, so I will have even more ability to pick and choose to do what I care about and so that my opinion will have even more weight when I decide to voice it. My reluctance to take the administrative path isn't about not wanting to "cross over to the dark side." It's about wanting to be a strong advocate for things I care about, and to be a strong advocate for those administrative initiatives that are on the right track. That said, if I could go directly from the position of tenured professor to the position of provost? I'd do that shit in a heartbeat. And then I could awesomely rename myself Provost Crazy. Mwahahaha!

So don't forget: knock on some wooden things for Crazy. Don't let this whole thing implode in phase 3 because of YOU!


~profgrrrrl~ said...

I got down on my knees and knocked the hardwood floor for you, Crazy dear!

And my verification word is "oboingno" which is a good sign, yes?

Anonymous said...

<<< I'm feeling very proud of myself, quite frankly.I feel a tremendous amount of accomplishment for my very central role in this process. I feel tremendously brave for taking this on and for daring to play an active and visible role in the proceedings. I feel tremendously capable and smart.>>>

I had a committee meeting today as well. I didn't know I could take away pride and bravery from it. I thought it was about doing stuff for the school. I must be missing something.

Digger said...

Wood has been knocked!

GP said...

Wood knocked, cross signed, salt thrown over shoulder (which one was it again?), prayers for strength regarding any future needed dick-slapping, etc., etc.

Go Crazy go!!!

heu mihi said...

Wood: Knocked.

Rock it, girl.

Dr. Crazy said...

Fab Sunshine, I think that when things work totally right, you get to feel both - that you've done something for the school and that you've done something for yourself. Note that for me this has been a VERY rare combination.

Dr. Crazy said...

Thanks for the wood-knocking, my peeps! Every little bit counts!

Belle said...

Wood knocked here too: floors, doors, head.

Fingers & toes crossed.

I agree with you on the good feelings: I've had a few (too few) similar experiences. 'Tis very satisfying to be 'an agent of change.' I also tend to get pissy when later, some twitwad tries to undo my work so they can build their little empires. Go crazy Crazy!

Historiann said...

You're right--other options are always good to have, even if you don't think you're going to need or want to exercise them. Congratulations and good luck!

Brian Ulrich said...

I was actually thinking that you should take over health care reform.

Historiann said...

p.s. As for wood-knocking and breast-crossing: I think it's wise to follow the example of Native Americans who had contact with Catholic missionaries in the colonial Americas. All opportunities to gain some spiritual power are good--we should never turn down the opportunity for spiritual protection, in whatever form. Having multiple gods and multiple ways to channel the divine can only help us, right?

Janice said...

I really admire your focus. Let's just say that, if I had my current wisdom in hand, my actions after receiving promotion to associate would have been more focused on what I must do to achieve promotion to full professorial rank. Lacking this final step has undercut me in some aspects of university governance, I'm afraid.

*scurries back to her open word-processing window*