Don’t punch down

Racists punch down.  Misogynists punch down.  Bullies punch down.

If you’re in the majority, if you’re protected by privilege, even if you’re not as protected as a tall, wealthy, Christian, white male would be… don’t punch down to the people worse off than  you.

Don’t blame an entire group for the failings of a few members if that group is lower than you on life’s difficulty setting.  It’s not their job to police everybody who shares the discriminated against characteristic.  (Whereas you might be able to make an argument that there is nobody else to police the wealthy tall white male “Christians” but wealthy tall white male “Christians” themselves.)

If you’re going to punch a group, then punch up.

If you find the action of a single person or small group of people to be despicable, then call out that action.  Call out those people.  Don’t blame the entire group.  Don’t do things that are racist just because a black guy killed a cop or because a small group of terrorists killed a group of comic strip writers.  Extend the same courtesy to less privileged groups that you do to the most privileged groups, because without doing that, the patriarchy will never be defeated.

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breaking news: Books are good

You should read Love Is the Drug by Alaya Dawn Johnson.  Just get it.

This book is so good and I stayed up way too late to finish it. Also, if you can get the hardback, do, because the design is quite beautiful.  [Note, however, that the kindle version is $2.99, so even if you don’t love it as much as #1 did, you’re not out that much.]

The book is about high schoolers dealing with race and romance at an expensive prep school in DC.  The protagonist, Emily (or “Bird” to her friends), goes to a party and wakes up in the hospital, unsure what happened.  But there’s a spy chasing her, convinced she knows something important about the pandemic virus that’s sweeping the country.  She doesn’t, but maybe the mysterious drug dealer she’s been flirting with does?  Who can she trust?  Not her parents, not her boyfriend, and probably not the government.

 

I’m not doing it justice but it’s got all kinds of goodies.  Try it out!

(#2 has not read it… it sounds too suspenseful and #2 is in the regency romance portion of her non-work reading ability right now.  The kind where she reads the last chapter after the first just to make sure it turns out ok.  Even though there’s no way it’s not going to turn out ok because it’s a @#@#ing regency romance.  But #2 can’t really handle surprises right now.)

How do raises work where you work?

I work at a university.  Every year, the university decides what % raises each department will be able to give on average (usually ranging from 0% to 3%).  The department decides whether or not to top up.  Sometime in the summer raises are determined (initially we all got COL raises that exactly matched inflation, then we got 0 raises because recession, now there’s a seriously awful “merit” formula that makes no sense).  In any case, raises are determined at exactly the same time each year and we know when to expect them.  We don’t have to talk to anybody to get them, they just happen.  (Though complaining about equity at step increases such as promotions might help.)

We can get out of cycle raises by getting outside job offers.

My DH is working a real job right now.  We have no idea how raises are supposed to work.  He was going to ask at his annual review, but unfortunately his annual review got cut short (to about 10 min) because there were delays and it got pushed up right to his flight time.

He doesn’t know, is he supposed to ask?  Is he supposed to make a case?  Is there an automatic COL increase?  Does he only get raises when there’s an outside offer?  We don’t know.  So he’s asking.  He doesn’t want to ask, but he will at some point because without cost-of-living increases, one’s real salary erodes.  (Plus the company is doing well, partly because of his efforts!)

In the mean time, that got me curious, how does it work most places?

How does it work for our readers?  Are raises automatic?  Are they tied to something?  Do you have to ask about them?  Do they happen annually?

How do you get your raises?

 

link love

Vaccine delayers— also not really into science.  Favorite vax quote of the week:  “FACT: The anti-vaxxer movement was concocted by Big Pharma to induce people to shun unprofitable vaccinations so that they would catch the vaccinated diseases, and wind up in the hospital where they consume more profitable drugs to ease and cure the disease.  This explains everything, sheeple!”  Let’s see if this is true or just wishful thinking.  59% of the people with measles in California in this outbreak are adults.  Being an anti-braker.

Risks leading to death in perspective.

in THIS week’s f- the police  Police brutality and racism is unconscionable.

How a female founder is treated differently than her male cofounder.

Women, work, and the name change.

Women doing office housework.

An oldie but a goodie.

Here’s the answer to the question on my mind.  So maybe not racism in this case.  Though Kanye was totally right about the all the single ladies video.  The grammies are just messed up.

definition of a post-doc

the plaintiffs behind the latest challenge to obama care

A withholding calculator.

Baby!

Development!

How many licks to get to the center of a lollypop.

It is possible to have a favorite page from a freezer manual.

The number of f’s you need not give.

This is hilarious.

Why cats love boxes.

poor kitteh

the complex thrill of uncut pages

Ask the grumpies: Advice for moving institutions

Mimi asks

I am an Assistant Professor at a directional state school, where I have taught for 4.5 years. I am moving after this semester to a much better, highly ranked private institution (in a much better location! with a job for my husband!) and I am beyond excited about it.

At my current institution, I did way too much service (sitting on university wide committees, directing a program) partially because I didn’t say no, partially because the institution is full of men who think that female professors should be on all committees relating to teaching and do all service, partially because I was thrown under the bus by my chair and dean. Needless to say, I am delighted to be moving. And that I am better at saying no now than I was 5 years ago.

My big question is this: what advice would you give someone who was moving about adapting to the new place? Are there things that faculty who have come to your departments / former departments did that drove you nuts? That you saw as particularly savvy or smart? I am bringing lots of credit on the tenure clock to the new place, so I have one year there before I go through the tenure process, if that matters. 

Oh gee, once again we’re pretty useless on this one.  Congratulations on the new job and fixing all sorts of problems!

Most likely you’ll be able to dodge excess service this year because you’re new and you’re doing that last-minute tenure push.  As a tenured person if you’re in a good place, you’ll take on more service than pre-tenure people do because you’ll be protecting pre-tenure people.  Unless, of course, they’re hiring you because they don’t have enough people to do service(!), in which case your load might be a bit higher than expected.  Do ask around what the normal load is for pre-tenure folk, and not just for women.

I don’t think there’s been anything off-the-wall with people we’ve had move from other institutions in either positive or negative directions.  One of my colleagues delayed going up for tenure for too long (negotiated a really long clock upon coming) which meant ze sailed through tenure, but hir letters read things like, “I thought this request would be for promotion to full,” but that doesn’t sound like your situation since you’ve only negotiated a one year clock.  (Granted, ze was able to take advantage of pre-tenure perks like leave and a post-doc.)

People hired without tenure have tended to be a bit more tentative as a group than people hired with.  They’re quieter at meetings, and don’t tend to provide opinions unless directly asked.  People hired with tenure have come in and changed things up (for the better!) or come in just as quietly as the pre-tenure.  It depends on their personality.  Who is to say what is right, though?  We’ve had first year hires every bit as opinionated and active as people hired with tenure.  As long as the goals are good and the environment is supportive and non-toxic, it’s ok to speak up.  If everyone has the same goals of moving the department forward, supporting the students, and doing good work, then disagreements become discussions rather than problems.  Still, if you’re pushing for tenure right away, there are benefits to keeping your head down.

We do think that the really important thing is to remember that academia is just a job and that there are a lot of other jobs out there.  As such, you don’t really need to try to game the system.  Do what you need to do to be a good researcher (and good teacher and good citizen) and, more importantly, to enjoy that research and teaching and service.  Focus on what gives you meaning.  Maybe stepping lightly that first year as you get your bearing, but if anything is too horrible, remember, you can always leave again.

So… not really that great advice above, but we’re hoping our readers can give better advice!  Maybe we’ll jump over and ask Historiann if she can signal boost for us so you can truly get some good advice from a variety of people in academia.

Do something every day that scares you, and riding horses

Riding horses is good for my anxiety.  It lets me expose myself to things a little bit scary in a relatively safe way.  Also, you really MUST be calm around horses, so you have to regulate your physiology.

I’m not afraid of falling off (very much) because I have fallen off and it was ok.  (N.B.:  always wear a helmet!  always!)  Falling off sucks intensely for a relatively small number of seconds, but within a few minutes I’m back on again.  I have been lucky not to be injured, and also I fall off less these days.  Mostly when you fall off you’re not seriously hurt.  When the consequences would be worse (such as you would fall on rocks or off a cliff or something), then ride more conservatively.  My mom’s worried I’ll end up like Christopher Reeve but I can’t think about that; also I take reasonable safety precautions.

But I also feel free to try new things because falling off isn’t that bad, even the nastiest fall I had that scared me and the teacher.  My teachers can coach me through a hairy situation and they calibrate challenges to my skill level.  They wouldn’t ask me to do something that they honestly thought I couldn’t do.  Yet also I know that I can always say no and refuse to try the thing they asked.  So therefore I always say yes and try it!  It helps that I don’t care if I look really dumb.  There’s not much room for worry on a horse: you just have to ignore your anxiety and breathe through it, so as not to rile up the prey beastie or just make yourself tight and everything harder.

Of course, there’s also the part that riding is extremely fun, and I enjoy learning new skills and getting more competent, which will never happen if you don’t stretch yourself.

#2 adds:  The helmet is so important to this metaphor.  Calculated risks, measured risks, these help us grow without killing us!

Do you do things that scare you?  What is your helmet?

7 min is a long time

In which #1 chronicles week 1 of her 7 min challenge.  For, you know, posterity.

Day 1:  Jumping jacks are easy but tiring.  Wall sit, this seems easy oh but now my upper legs are burning.  Why are my leg muscles burning?  Woo, 3 push-ups, go me, I guess.  Cannot do another.  I cannot do a single abdominal crunch or sit-up.  Step up onto chair, another one I don’t understand.  Squats are easy… it’s like how I picked stuff up when I was pregnant.  Triceps dip onto chair, I have never done this and it kind of burns.  Plank… doesn’t happen.  First my toe slips on tax papers on the floor and then I am completely unable to do even one push-up.  I ran out of push-ups in step 3.  High knees running in place– no problem.  Lunge– why is this even an exercise?  The last two things don’t happen– no more push-ups left so no push up and roll and no side plank.  During this time, the kids keep coming in demanding attention, despite having declined to try the exercises with me.

Day 2:  It becomes clear why people online said the wall sit was a challenge.  My day starts with sore leg muscles that remind me they exist every time I walk.  My colleagues ask me if everything is ok and laugh when I tell them.  Two of my colleagues used to force their younger siblings to do the wall sit, they tell me.  Another one says, “oh, I tried the 7 min workout once,” and grimaces.  After dinner I force my tired self to do another set.  This time I get 3.5 push-ups and manage to at least start the plank.  Not the side plank (wait, my rear end is supposed to be off the ground?).  My 8 year old successfully completes the entire circuit and then runs off.

Day 3:  Still sore, but maybe not as much.  Or maybe I’m just used to it.  Back to only 3 push-ups, and forget any crunches.  And I’m pretty sure the side plank isn’t going to happen this month, but you never know.

Day 4:  Amazingly, no longer sore.  Still, took the day off from the work out because of teaching for 6 hours.

Day 5:  My sister asked how it was going.  I told her some exercises were more doable than others.  Not at all sore today.  I did four push-ups in the first set and one in the last (and was able to plank for a bit).  I feel great today and at first attribute it to my exercise regimen, but then realize that my nose is no longer dripping, my head is no longer muffled, and I’m no longer getting vertigo when I dip my head down.  Not being sick is AWESOME.

Day 6:  FIVE pushups in a row.  And 2 in the last set.  And I’ve discovered 7 min goes a lot faster if you’re watching the daily show during it on the other computer monitor.

Day 7:  Another 5 pushups in the first set and 3 in the last set.