Saturday, November 08, 2008

Getting out of the post-tenure slump

I know- you'll cry me a river for the pity you feel for me- being a tenured professor and all- it's so sad, right? Well, it certainly is anti-climactic- the same way that defending your dissertation is anti-climactic. Don't get me wrong- I am THRILLED to have tenure and to have gotten the big raise before all of the economic downturn crap. BUT, I have been in a professional funk this semester. I can't seem to push myself to be productive. I am doing small things here and there for the grant, but I mostly feel in limbo. Part of it is that we are waiting to get some more data- then there will be more to do in that respect- but there are still other things I could do. I also have some other projects that need finishing- including the one I plan to finish for InaDWriMo. It's a paper I started (and almost finished writing) summer 2007 and then essentially dropped when I got news of our grant being funded. The paper is mostly written, so it is ridiculous that I have not finished it and submitted it. 

Then, there's a project H and I started with a summer research student that we never finished. I think we tried to do too much in the short time we had and as a result need to do more analysis to really be able to finish the paper. I also had a paper in review from a student thesis. The student is notorious for being AWOL- he had graduated and left, but we don't even know where he is (we have an email address). He emailed to tell us that the paper was rejected, but did not send the reviews. We have to get the reviews from him, since he's the corresponding author, but have not heard back since requesting them (I think I'll go email him after this). I have another paper (I am like 4th author) from another student thesis that is being revised for resubmission, too. It just seems like this semester, all I can manage is to catch up on teaching stuff. Next semester will be worse, because I am teaching the big freshman class again (with a new book- why do I always decide to do that?) and modifying my other course, too. 

I am hoping to get out of this slump/funk/laziness/whatever soon. I still love research and have exciting things to do, but am just lagging right now. I feel really guilty when ever I read profgrrrrl, too- she was also just tenured and is pregnant, too! If anyone has reason to slack off, it should be her, but she sounds like she is getting stuff done. Maybe the impending arrival is motivation to do work now, while she can? Anyway- I have no excuse. I have a lot of grading coming up this week (a lab exam, first draft papers, etc.), but I also have my Tuesday/Thursday work-at-home days this week.  I am not writing this post to beat myself, but more to try to make myself accountable. I'll let you know how things go. Maybe I can get some grading this weekend and have more time during the week for research.


Anonymous said...

I think it's normal to hit the slumps, but I do think it might be helpful for you to consider why you are in the gig to begin with to re-capture some of the initial motivation. I do not think you became an academic so you could get tenure. Keep your chin up.

Seeking Solace said...

I agree with Academic. Slumps do happen. Forcing productivity is not a good idea. Just keep plugging away. I know you will do just fine.

Dr. Bad Ass said...

OK, I'm having similar issues, but with my teaching, not my research. I also just received tenure. I'm actually more motivated than ever to do research and am being quite productive with it. BUT my classes are driving me crazy, I can hardly force myself to prep for them or to grade, and I don't have much sympathy for students any more. I usually love teaching and have to push harder to get research done. So what's up with that?