Thanksgiving and falling behind…and stuff

I hope everyone out there had a decent Thanksgiving! Visiting family is always something I feel an obligation about. Having a little one automatically allows me to have an excuse not to travel, and it was great. So I invited a couple friends and any homesick students over for dinner and games. A few students took me up on it (never ones to turn down free food) and I kicked their butts in Mario Kart, and they kicked my butt in Settlers. Then we hung out in the freezing cold with a good fire going. I intentionally don’t ask about my students’ personal lives much, so it was interesting to actually hear about it. It was nice to see them for longer than 30 minutes a week since I’ve been away so much, and also nice to not be talking shop the whole time.

I still felt a little guilty about not going to visit family, but to avoid the constant criticism from my family it’s worth it. I do miss seeing nephews and nieces, but they know I’m around if they ever want to visit. I’m visiting an industry partner a short skip away from them so I might stop through for a quick visit next week. On that note…

The industry partners are less understanding that I’m on leave. They still have pretty aggressive goals, and I remember part of what I hate about corporate America. Everyone says they care about something (in this case, paternal care), but there’s a lot of talk and not a lot of action. It’s not necessarily hypocritical, but it’s very fake. And it got me remembering how corporate America can be so fake with regard to employee welfare, the environment, work-life balance, among other things. Profit is the only thing that matters to them under the guise of caring about other things, and while I’m on leave I’m afraid they won’t be so accommodating. So I’ve brought in another senior student to help with the work. I feel really shitty because it’s not like this will go into her dissertation, but I need the help for the next few months. She understands and has said she’s grateful for the opportunity, but I just don’t like distracting her at this point in her program. But I need to keep this afloat for the next year so I don’t have a choice. Every time I get offered to go back to industry to run a lab, I get tempted because of the massive pay bump, but luckily I remember all the shit and politely turn them down.

The little one is doing very well. The amount of time needed is daunting. I can’t imagine with my old job pressures of being able to do this, and I have a newfound respect for some of the people having kids while in my previous high-pressure atmosphere.


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