The Waiting Room

This could take a while...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Change Would Do Me Good?

Posted by Seeking Solace |

My first job as an attorney was at a small law firm in Lake Effect Snow Central. The person whom I replaced left the firm because he had to do something new every three years. For him, the constant moving was a means to avoid boredom and falling into a rut. So, he decided to take a job at another law firm in a completely different area of law.

At the time, I thought this was crazy. I was raised to believe that you got a job and you pretty much stayed with that employer until you retired. That was what my parents' generation believed and they passed it on to me. Who wants to go through the hassle of constantly interviewing for a job, waiting for a response? How about having to prove that you are worthy to that new employer and colleauges? Ugh. The thought makes my head hurt.

As time went by, I found myself doing exactly what this guy did. I found that I had to move into a new position within an employer or find a new employer altogether.  A couple of moves were involuntary. But, I found that after about three years, I had to reinvent myself and try something new. I get bored very easily. I am one of those people who thrives on a new challenge. Despite my bitching and moaning about stress, I truly thrive on the pressure. I like learning new things and being pushed to my intellectual limit. So, like that attorney I replaced a long time ago, every once in a while I need something new.

Truth be told, I think I am getting near the end of my teaching run. I don't love it the way I used to. If anything, I am bored. Every term, I try to come up with new ways to present and interact with students. But, that can only go so far at the level I am teaching. There is only so far one can go as an instructor where I work.

Of course, I could make the jump to teaching law school. And, there have been a couple of opportunities that have come my way. However, I am not sure I want to go that route. First, there is the whole tenure thing. I have some strong opinions about the process. Simply stated, I am at the stage in my life where I am done kissing ass to move up. I am not suggesting that all tenure track position work that way. But, my biggest fear is that I would have to sacrifice teaching excellence for meeting publishing and other related requirements. Teaching excellence is incredibly important to me.

That being said, I could go the administration route. I am sort of in that position right now. I am half faculty and half administration. Let me just say that the grass is not greener on the administrative side. I often ask, in the words of Dr. Greg House, "What kind of ginormous crack pipe have you been smoking" when there are mandates that come from the gurus in the windowless offices. There are more headaches, more hassles and more hours.  I also worry that I would lose that connection with faculty and teaching.

Where is a poor Seeking Solace to go?

There have been some rumblings on my campus about major changes. I have been approached about some of those changes. I am not quite sure how I feel about them. The changes are for the good and would impact me in a very significant way. The question is: do I want to take that leap?



rented life said...

Thank you for writing this. We're both struggling with what our next move should be and I've been asking some serious questions about my role in higher ed. Here's hoping we all find the change we need!

Seeking Solace said...

RL: Your so welcome. I think there's a lot of us who are wondering the same thing. I just spent the morning writing an email to my niece who is thinking about taking a year off from college. She's just burned out.

Anonymous said...

I bet you would like teaching a whole lot more, at a better school with better students.

deb aka murphthesurf said...

I say follow your dreams just so long as you are funding a retirement account personally. I can so relate to the boredom that comes with the repetitive nature of careers as time goes on. My only concern for those that tend to jump ship is that they make sure they have a good retirement account set up that they are funding outside of employment. Looking forward to reading what you decide. I have been out of the work environment for quite awhile now (unfortunately) but so love the mind challenge of working.

TiredProf said...

Wow, this couldn't have come at a better time, as I'm mulling similar things (though your teaching situation is far, far bleaker than mine). And I'm not convinced that having better students is necessarily the remedy. I look forward to reading about your journey, as I mull mine.

Anonymous said...

I understand your position -- and, if I were teaching someplace else, I'd probably feel the same way. The thing is, I've been involved in a variety of non-teaching functions so I'm not on the bored side yet.

Do you have the option to change curriculum, change books or add new classes to your program? Do you have a sabbatical coming up at some point where you could learn something new? Teaching online is a new challenge, is that possible -- or even half on-line...

I think the key to not being bored at the same institution is to stay long enough so that you can have the influence to really shape things to be the way you want them to be -- and to get into the stuff that interests you.

Anonymous said...

I found you by way of ABC of RA.

I am no scholar of the books but I am on life. I find if your instincts lead you to lean toward the new changes, go with it. In the end you can always say you got of your "ass" and tried something new. If you hate it, you were brave enough to give it a shot. Many would jump for oppurtunity for change without the fear of loosing a job all together these days.

Go for it. don't look back. Keep your eye on happiness and contentment.
Thanks for having me.

comebacknikki said...

I am so with you on this! I've had the "time to move on" mentality for the last two years -- unfortunately, I don't know what the next move should be (well, other than to lady of leisure). :-)