Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Therein lies the rub

And I ain't talking about that scrumptious rib rub my Samoan-Mexican bagpipe playing brother-in-law makes either. I am talking the kind of rub that leaves you in a jam, a pickle, a tight spot, between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

We are currently searching for a department head--it turns out that this has been a far more educational experience than I ever imagined! To watch the politicking and posturing which has occurred over the past year has been interesting to say the least. I realize that my department is vastly more serene than many others out there and frankly...that frightens me. I keep asking myself, "Is this what I have to look forward to the rest of my professional life?"

Simply put, I am going to be up a creek without a paddle if what I have a feeling is going to happen actually happens. Even more, I can see the raging rapids and the careening water fall dead ahead of me and I am not sure how to jump ship and still survive.

I called my new-and-improved dad tonight to talk about gardening but ending up asking him what I should do. He has been around the academic environment enough to know a few things and he gave me some great advice:
  1. Go see the Dean of Graduate Studies, our old department head. Talk with him about my concerns and fears about what will happen with my adviser not getting tenure (pretty much a given at this point).
  2. Find a new major professor who will work with me and mentor me in the things that I need to learn.
  3. There isn't a professor in the department who wouldn't find me an asset to their research.
  4. I need to be "selfish" in this matter--my professional future is at stake and my family's happiness as well. (For new-and-improved dad tell me to be selfish about something is startling to say the least--I was left speechless after his talk.)
So how to do I tell my adviser that I think I need to make alliances with other professors so that whif (when + if) tenure doesn't occur (which is becoming an increasing reality), I am not left in a department that doesn't like my adviser (and by association) most likely doesn't think that highly of me?

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