Southern Man

Thursday, December 01, 2011

A Day In The Life

Teen daughter has asked Southern Man a couple of times "Just what do you do?" She seems to be under the impression that Southern Man has no life, which is more or less true at this particular time. But at any rate here is a typical Working Thursday in the Life of Southern Man.

6:00 - Got up, showered, had breakfast (two eggs, bacon, juice), tuned in a classical-music radio station and browsed the 'net for morning news and entertainment.

8:00 - Arrived at the office (often picking up a geocache or two along the way; just got one this morning) and "worked" as defined below for an hour.

"Work" is more or less evenly divided into five chunks:
(1) Course-related routine work; lecture prep, grading, writing proof-of-concept code, writing and copying handouts and worksheets, record-keeping, posting to the course web sites, syllabus updates, and so on.

(2) Administration-related routine work (Southern Man is both a department chair and member of the Dean's leadership team, so there's plenty of that!); writing and editing assessment and accreditation reports, book orders, course scheduling, catalog updates, writing recommendation letters for students, various committee duties and meetings, and so on.

(3) Putting-out-fires work; work that pops up out of nowhere (usually initiated by a phone call or email from one of the deans or other administrators) that has to be dealt with right then. Varies from routine ("Can you come over and evaluate this transcript?" or "Can you help Student X with his schedule?" or "Can you review this press release about your new supercomputer?") to urgent ("We need to meet because Student X has a complaint about Professor Y" or "We have an honors code violation and the Student Affairs Committee (of which Southern Man is a member) needs to meet today" or "Can you install this program for me? Campus Tech tried and couldn't do it!").

(4) Professional development; reading and studying to keep current in the field (no small task in computer science!), working on whatever research paper is currently at the top of the pile, developing and writing learning modules, and working on one of a couple of large-ish software projects.

(5) And about a fifth of Southern Man's office time is spent in meditation, listening to music (orchestral Christmas music is the current selection), browsing the 'net, dealing with personal issues (such as posting allowance to teen daughter's checking account and scowling at a weather forecast which predicts "no outside fun this weekend"), walking the building (offices of friends or to listen to the pianist - yes, we have paid pianists performing for a few hours each day) or the campus (the library, bookstore, and coffee shop are frequent destinations) and writing blog posts.
And now on with the day...

9:00 - 10:40 - Taught the Advanced Object-Oriented Programming class. Today they gave progress reports on their projects so it was mostly them talking and Southern Man listening and asking questions.

10:40 - 11:30 - Worked.

11:30 - 12:00 - Had lunch at the cafeteria (very inexpensive for faculty, and quite good; today it was spaghetti (cooked to order) and garlic bread sticks and Caesar salad and ice cream for dessert.

12:00 - 1:00 - Worked.

1:00 - 1:30 - Had a staff meeting with other faculty about our new LittleFe supercomputer.

1:30 - 2:30 - Worked.

2:30 - 3:45 - Taught the Logic class. Today we finished a series on fuzzy-logic controllers and reviewed for their upcoming midterm exam. Yes, Southern Man is that evil - midterm next week, comprehensive final exam the week after.

4:00 - 4:30 - Drove to evening job at the local community college, geocaching along the way (got one today that's part of a geo-chess series that Southern Man is slowly working through).

4:30 - 5:30 - Held office hours at evening job, which is usually spent on last-minute course prep, chatting with early arrivers, and surfing the 'net; tonight one of the handouts had about twenty URLs to photos so Southern Man had twenty browser tabs loaded and ready to show.

5:30 - 7:20 - Taught the Astronomy class; opened with a lecture on galaxies and cosmology (with lots of pretty pictures on the projection screen) and finished with a video on active galaxies.

7:30 - 8:00 - Drove home. No geocaching; it's dark and cold and Southern Man is tired after all that "work."

8:00 - 11:00 - Had dinner (homemade beef stew and a beer), took care of dishes and laundry, generally tidied up a bit and relaxed with books and music and movies and video games.

11:00 - Went to bed, continued to read and play simple games on the iPad (the current addiction is Jumbline 2) for half an hour or so, then went to sleep. Or tried to; insomnia is still a problem.

Yes, Thursdays are mostly work due to that evening class, and mostly indoors since it gets dark so early this time of year. But it's not terribly difficult work and Southern Man has plenty of free moments during the day to relax. And the lack of social life isn't much of a concern; he'll have plenty of friend time on the weekend (Christmas party Friday night, football watch party Saturday night, Sunday School on Sunday) to make up for it.

2 Comments:

At Friday, December 02, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gotta add your travels too.

With all I read, when do you have time for a social life? Are you content not to date? Does your family (don't mean kids) fill in any gaps?

Holidays make me yearn for my family the older I get. I just don't have any around any more. Love your family while you have them near and living.

 
At Friday, December 02, 2011, Blogger Southern Man said...

Teen daughter asked me the other day if I was "happy." "Content" would be a better word. I'm usually busy (either at work or doing something I enjoy) and I'm seldom bored. Being an introvert I like my social life in small doses and I get that on the weekends. My parents live nearby; I at least speak to them on the phone a few times a week and try to see them at least o once a week. My children are a constant joy and I don't see any of them nearly as often as I'd like. And I'm quite content with not dating. For the time being, anyway.

 

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