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On Having One Boss, or Dozens

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I am an academic. Although my work history includes being a TA, an adjunct, an assistant professor and an associate professor, I have always worked under the assumption that I am my own boss. The criteria for success in my profession have always been more or less clear: teach well, publish your original research in respectable venues, do the work of keeping your institution up and running in a sensible manner. Aside from an annual check-in with the head of department, I have been a free-range scholarly chicken, pecking at my piles of work until I considered them done.

Being your own boss, while it conjures images of independence from authority, flexibility of hours, and the ability to set one’s own goals and priorities, can be quite a bitch. When you are your Own Boss, there is never a day off. You are always there, peering over your shoulder, wondering whether ¬†you should be knitting that Christmas stocking or perhaps reading a few articles for that research project you’re neglecting instead. You can be a very annoying boss indeed. I found My Own Boss to be a rather persistent off-hours stalker, who pestered me in a quiet, nagging way that grew tiresome.

In my current position, I am not My Own Boss, which is a good thing (see above). I have A Boss. But he isn’t really the Boss-y type, which leaves me in the position of being My Own Boss again, or, allowing each committee, team, project I work on to be populated by a small army of bosses, who each feel that they know what I should be doing. Dozens of bosses, daily informal performance evaluations (that isn’t what we wanted, Jennifer!), and no authority in sight.

Time to put on my Big Girl Boots and show that I know very well how to be My Own Boss.

Written by Jennifer

February 29, 2012 at 10:24 am

Posted in life, work


with one comment

Or, as some of us like to think of it: mlaaaaaaaaah. (said like you’re showing your tonsils to the medic.)

I’ve never been to LA and the only other time I’ve been to SoCal was when the MLA was in San Diego. I was interviewing and not doing any touristy things. This time around, I’m on the other side of the table and plan to see a few things. The Getty, the beach, a few awesome restaurants.

When packing for this trip, I became pretty confident that I have nothing “Southern California” enough in my wardrobe. So, I’m throwing in the towel and going as ” professor.” The academic wardrobe is universal: lots of black, some denim, orange accessories. Doesn’t matter if you’re in Berlin, New York, London, or–I’m hoping, Los Angeles. I’m going to dress things up a bit with a skirt that has abstract flowers on it.

So, if you have some must-eat restaurant suggestions for my colleagues and me, let me know soon.

Written by Jennifer

January 4, 2011 at 10:06 am

Posted in dining, work