I really want this week to be over. I'm exhausted.
Tuesday night was Board Meeting, which was most of the evening. There were a couple pieces of fairly hopeful news presented, but still - it's hard to really renew for the next day when you're in a meeting all evening.
Last night was feeding the Hope for Homes kids. We did a cookout. Most of our duties were standing around and using paper plates as fans to keep the flies off the food. Everyone was very appreciative but still, it was several hours standing around in the heat, and the pollen, and the smoke from the big grills being used to cook the burgers, and I have a sore throat and a headache this morning and I can tell I'm not as awake as I should be.
And I got an e-mail from my chair - would I have a few minutes to meet today, there are some "big things" that were passed on to her by an administrator and she wants to inform everyone of them, and also she had a few "load" questions for me.
The "big things" scares me a bit; it could be anything. I'm trying to tell myself it's probably not anything too horrible. And it's not anything JUST concerning me; she is wanting to meet with everyone. But the fact that she didn't mention what any of them were in the e-mail could mean one of two things:
1. She was pressed for time when writing the e-mail (it was sent at the very end of the day after I had left) and didn't really consider that some of us have brains that immediately go to the Worst Possible Place when we hear something like that.
2. He told her "don't leave a record of this." Which would be very scary indeed. I doubt it's that.
But the "load questions" scares me, too: at one point she floated the idea of my taking on a paid overload (essentially, teaching an adjunct's load for an adjunct's pay) and I politely turned her down, observing that I had a hard time getting stuff done sometimes as it was. (And, but I didn't say: I'm intellectually and emotionally worn out at the end of some weeks, and I don't know what having even more grading, and even more students with potential problems, would do to me). So I'm afraid that the "load question" is going to involve my polite demurring of "Well, I'll do it IF YOU CAN'T GET ANYONE ELSE but I really don't want to." (Note to self: be more "Ask Culture" when dealing with chair. One thing I'm learning is the sort of polite demurrals (which in my family would be interpreted as "She really would rather stick pins in her fingertips than do this so let's not press the issue") tend to get interpreted as "I guess she's OK with doing it, even if she'd rather not.")
Sometimes it's a little hard coming from a family where subtlety and gesture and lots of polite diplomacy worked, and having it not always work in other situations.
I also have difficulty because sometimes I'm still stuck in Grad Student Mindset, which is "agree to whatever your superiors suggest; don't rock the boat." I'll have to remember I'm a Full Professor now and that it's possibly OK for me to say "No. I will not take on two extra lecture sections and another lab, even for more pay."
ETA: She e-mailed me back and said it was "long term planning stuff" so I wonder if maybe it's a "hey, we need to start lobbying NOW to replace the person we have retiring in 2014." I also think there's an increased push for online classes, which we've largely resisted until now. (Lab science tends to work very poorly with online delivery....)
And at any rate: my job cannot be in danger. Because of tenure, but also because I got my faculty evals yesterday and they were quite good again; I think I've hit my stride for teaching and can balance professionalism with interacting with the students. (I think in the past I got dinged because I'm shy and sometimes have a hard time striking the right balance; I tend to come down on the side of being too formal).