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2009-04-11 - 3:01 p.m., clothing, grindstone...

I just came back from the hair salon. I have a unique problem. My hair has always been thick. It got thicker when I got pregnant. Now that Susi is one step closer to being hair has gotten EVEN THICKER. I had it cut 5 weeks ago, and had to go back today to fix it. It grew out in uneven lengths. I looked like a walking mop. horrible.

The lady at the salon took one look at me and said, "what happened????" (she of course, is the person who cut it last.) So she spent an hour cutting clumps of hair out of my head so that it will lay flat. So, I'm going to Germany / London / Ottawa next week. This cut has got to last me 6 weeks. We'll see...

So that's probably not an awful problem to have. Thick hair. It's kind of an expensive problem if you have to get your hair cut every 5-6 weeks. But oh well.

K and I hit the action items today. This morning I boiled oogabs of eggs for coloring. We went out and bought a super light travel bed for Susi (it's currently degassing all of those plasticky smells on the floor beside me). And I went to a clothing store to buy myself a special dress for Europe. I really don't have much clothing that fits me well, and this dress just seems to know exactly which curves to accentuate. Plus, it's one of those "dress-me-up dress-me-down" kind of styles. very very practical. I'm happy.

So I recently deleted a 'personal' entry. I'm glad that I did. It served its purpose in that through typing it I was able to vent some negative thoughts about my workplace. But I didn't need to immortalize those feelings by keeping them there, and now I can address them in a more even light.

Professorial payscales are strange - we move from assistant to associate to full ranks of professor. Each rank has several 'steps' on a payscale. Evaluation for tenure is usually coincident with moving from the assistant to the associate rank.

When I came into my current position, I came in with a lot of experience. However, I could only be hired at the lowest rank because I was being brought in on a governm't funded research chair position, for which the rank was predetermined. The compensation was to bring me in on a high step in the lowest rank.

The problem with this situation is that each rank only has a certain number of steps. This year I've topped out at the top of my rank. So, no matter how hard I work, and no matter what type of reviews I get, my salary is basically frozen. Actually, it is frozen unless I get a truly exceptional review, which won't happen as long as I am asked to tons of committee work, and my department colleagues are taken off committees so that they can produce lots of papers. It's the papers that allow you to get the truly exceptional reviews. My committee work, on the other hand, gets me a pat on the back. One might see why I viewed this situation as a bit frustrating.

So I am stuck with out a raise, until I go up for tenure. With tenure, my job becomes permanent and most likely I will be promoted to the associate rank. The trouble is... I don't go up for tenure until May 2012, or potentially longer (because of my mat leave). So it is not possible for me to see a raise until then, no matter how hard I work, and no matter how good my performance reviews are.

The only way for me to surpass this stalemate is to go up for tenure early. The tenure process is a big deal. It involves a lot of paperwork, a lot of evaluation. It takes over a year to be finalized, and every person in my department who has gone through this process has felt demoralized. Furthermore, because of my mat leave, and because of the 18 months of horror that I experienced during my startup, I am WAY behind on my publication record. So this would be a real challenge. I think that I can do it, though - it will mean a lot of writing this year, but I can do it.

The question is whether or not I wish to do it. I think that I do. There is always the chance that I would not succeed, in which case I would be asked to leave. I'm feeling somewhat ready to face that prospect and ready to reach the crossroads where we decide if Funcouver is the right place for us to be.

On that note, I have a publication that I need to work on....

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