Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rehashing Old Grants

I have a proposal deadline coming up and I'm preparing to resubmit a proposal that was given very good reviews last round (but not funded). Every time I revisit a rejected proposal, I feel extreme dread and loathing towards the document - even when it got shining reviews! Why is that? I get rejected all the time. You'd think I'd get a thicker skin.

So here I am… at my computer… with three weeks to go… procrastinating.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Harassment II

I've spoken with my head and an Ass. Dean, so I've got some course of (in)action to take. Because the harasser-in-question is leaving soon at some unknown date, it may be better to do nothing than to do something. This is the type of person who retaliates and retaliates big, so it is probably best to not respond to his emails. The only thing to do is to cooperate and be quieter. I'm very happy to attempt being quieter since it's only a temporary situation. I might even have my office hours in a conference room rather than an office to minimize problems. I'm mad as hell about the harassment but I want to be as cooperative as possible. If he continues to harass me, then I can at least point to my attempted cooperation.

Still, when I see him in the hall, he gives me withering looks. Today, I even ducked into a restroom to avoid interacting with him! I feel like I'm five years old again.

Strangely… he was really loud today in his office.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I periodically get harassing emails from the famous, senior faculty member whose office is next to mine. These emails usually complain about how I am too loud, etc. I always ignore them.

The latest email, however, crossed the line. He wrote that I was too loud (again), and why didn't I respond to his previous emails. He then wrote that junior faculty should always respond to senior faculty. But here's the real problem: he CCed my department head.

This guy has a history of problems, and everyone here dislikes (some even hate) him. Lawsuits and grievances follow this guy everywhere, so I've been careful to limit communication with him. He's even leaving this position in a few months for a new place, so this harassment should be only temporary, unless he sues me or files a grievance.

What can I do? What have I done? I wrote my department head that I need to meet with him as soon as possible because these harassing emails have got to stop. I also wrote an Associate Dean who's been on women faculty's side. I'll have a meeting or two in the next couple of days and see where it goes.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Crossing my personal boundaries

I found a post-doc even better than the one I was replacing. They were visiting here to look for housing, so I took them out to lunch. At the conclusion of lunch I was waiting for a to-go box. The post-doc asked, "Can I have your meatball?" Shocked, I replied, "No."

My friend later said, "That was a meat-ballsy move."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pregnancy and RA Remission

With my first child, I went into blissful remission of my RA symptoms. With this second child, I am nowhere close. Why is there such a difference, and why does remission occur for RA during pregnancy? I get these questions a lot from my friends. One article from the Arthritis Foundation (a reputable source) says that the degree of remission is linked to the quantity of fetal DNA circulating in the mother's system. If this is true, then I would guess that this second baby just isn't circulating it's fetal DNA the way the first one did. That doesn't imply there's something wrong with the baby, just that our interactions are different from the first.

The other statistic that I see from multiple places, as well as from that article, is that 90 % of mothers have a flare within three months of delivery. Considering I'm still flaring, I'll probably be raging come this Spring. I'm not looking forward to that. I won't be teaching, but I'm supposed to be doing some other kind of activity to "make up" for the teaching relief. What kind of activity can a person do, if they can't even dress them selves or if they can barely type? Of course, this sounds really negative. And with the right drugs, I should be in much better shape than last time. I just struggle to imagine what this Spring will be like. I kind of just want to get a motorized scooter and putt a big red flag on it and do donuts in my department's main office.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Change is Inevitable

We have a new department head, and change has stirred everyone into a whirl of emotion. It's inevitable that leadership changes and that I'll have many different bosses in my lifetime - some good and some bad. When leadership changes, people become uncomfortable at the uncertainty of the direction of the organization or their place within. My current thought is to be a good citizen to the department, to fulfill my teaching and duties, and to carry on as before. With time, I can observe and form my independent opinion.

I'm a little frustrated that people air out old dirty laundry in this time of change, when we should all be focused on the future. Even worse - some have a knee-jerk reaction to quit service activities or to start looking for a new job. I don't believe that it's an appropriate choice in 100% of cases. In some places, leadership changes every year. One can't mentally survive if they over-react to every change.

Besides, I am more interested in growing babies than I am in drama.