As a TT assistant professor, the pressure is on to establish myself as an independent investigator, to get extramural grant support and to publish papers as senior author. Oh, and there’s also the teaching stuff as well as the service stuff. Plus the advising stuff. Plus the miscellaneous bullshit stuff. Sigh. The list goes on.
But what I’m struggling to reconcile right now is my urgent need for my trainees to generate data and write papers because that’s what I have to do in order to advance my own career versus my responsibility to ensure that the trainees get a first class education and training experience. I’m becoming more and more convinced that this is just not possible in the current system. That the students’ education is not being put first.
And then there’s my own internal reaction when discussing career stuff with trainees. Instead of being happy for the decisions they are making, my first thoughts are increasingly about how their decisions will affect me and my progress. Me and my career. The time and effort I’ve invested in them. I’ve had to stop and remind myself that they aren’t indentured apprentices. That they are free to leave whenever they choose. That I’m here to help guide them to where they want to be. And that I have the privilege of sharing their accomplishments.
I’m at the point where I’m jumping up and down in frustration because I can’t get what I want when I want it (which is always yesterday or last week or last year). My resources are limited and dwindling at an alarming rate. My students are swamped with classes and assistantship responsibilities. And yet I’m expected to push out papers. I’m expecting them to push out the papers. And data. Let’s not forget the new data. Grant reviewers always want to see the experiments done before they’ll give you the money you’re requesting. Experiments that take time and money. Experiments that the trainees are troubleshooting in between teaching labs, in between seminars, in between classes and in between that annoying life stuff that always seems to creep up on you when you can least afford the time.
I’m preparing my pre-tenure review and it’s lacking in publications and funding. I know I’ll get dinged for it. But I’m doing as much as I possibly can given the resources I have available to me. I’m being as selfish as I can.
Sigh. Methinks it’s chocolate time.