Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Out Of The Closet

Sorry for not posting much the last week or so - it's been a hectic time, what with a conference to prepare for, the end of the semester, and getting the house ready to put on the market. And a trip to the Unknown ancestral home (i.e. a 250 mile drive drive to our families' homes for Easter).

It's official now - I told my current department chair last week that I'm leaving at the end of the semester. Within a day, 3/4 of the people in the building knew. People who talk about the speed of light being the upper limit in this universe have it wrong -- it's information in academia that travels faster than anything else

Academia's unlike almost every other profession in the way people leave jobs. In the "real" world, people are often fired and told to immediately clean out their desk. In academia, by contrast, people typically know they're leaving (as do those around them) far in advance. It can be very awkward if you're not leaving by choice (i.e. because you failed to make tenure) - you have to see the people who voted against you in the hallway for the next few months (and sometimes for over a year). But in this case, I'm leaving by MY choice rather than by theirs, so there's a different dynamic. Surprisingly, people act like I'll be missed, and have told me often about the ways I've contributed to the College, the students, and the department. So all in all, it's been pretty good experience so far.

As a result of my being "out of the closet", I can now do things that I think make sense (and avoid the things that don't) without worrying about consequences. For example, I get to avoid all senseless meetings (which are most of them, IMO) from now until the end of the semester - starting with today's School of Business faculty meeting. I'll be home torturing data instead. In addition, I can give a final exam to my night class on the last day of classes rather than wait for finals week. They're small things, but I look at them as some of the little perks of leaving.

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