Monday, January 16, 2012

More thoughts on unsolicited professorial advice

One other thing you get a lot of advice about as a new professor is how to run your show.

"Don't spend too much time on teaching"

"Write every day"

"Don't take too many grad students your first year"

The thing is, like anything, do what works for you. You want to spend 14 hours on making Teh Perfect Slides for your first class, do it. You want to get up at 4am and start writing, go for it. Want to relax all weekend playing Facebook games while occasionally picking at your grant proposal, sounds grand!

The trick is to know what makes you happy and know your own style, and work that way. You have a lot of flexibility in your schedule, the trick is figuring out how to best structure it so you're most productive. And to factor in recharging time, for whatever that means for you.


  1. OMG this.

    I've met many a person who has some system that they swear by, and they always tell me that I'd be more productive if I followed their system. My response is always that if I had the discipline to follow their system I'd probably have the discipline to write more without having to follow their special system. Yet somehow they're convinced that the only reason I'm not more productive is that I just haven't read their self-help book.

  2. I'm with you that those pieces of advice are pretty silly, but why do they bother you so much? Mee thinks you have a chip on your shoulder. Just smile politely, filter it for content, and move on. That's why I do, whether the advice is unsolicited or not.

  3. Good point, FCS and Anon @ 10:14 AM. Teh Awesomest system for one person is... Teh Awesomest system for that person. For another, it could be a recipe for disaster.

    And, heh. Thanks, Anon @ 01:49 PM. My shirt was wrinkled before you helped out with the irony. :-)

  4. This is Anon @ 1:49pm

    Dang, you blew my experiment. I was waiting to see if there was an aggressive reaction or not to my unsolicited advice from FCS thus proving or disproving my "chip on the shoulder" hypothesis. Now we'll never know. :-) :-)

  5. *lol* You crack me up!
    Sorry to have gotten in the way of your science. Just call me Tom Coburn from now on!
    -Anon @ 04:19

  6. Good for you FCS that your own system has been working so well. We are glad to hear it.

  7. Of course I have a chip on my shoulder, Anon @ 1:49pm. :) If I didn't I would have dropped out of this field ages ago. Being a woman in a male dominated field means you encounter a lot of older men who treat you not as a colleague, but as a rare specimen they need to handle with special care. Often this involves receiving remarks that most people would probably construe as patronizing.

    I know that people Mean Well, and I do try to take all advice in that vein, but it can still be disheartening at times.

  8. I know the feeling.... Hang in there.

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