RBOC

  • I did not get a raise this year, but I was also not expecting one!  I’m just glad that I didn’t get an implicit pay-cut by having my retirement match cut like lots of other people are (more on that in a future post when I get some time).
  • I am way behind on reimbursements.  At this point I’m not even entirely sure what I’ve gotten reimbursed and what I haven’t.
  • I WAYYYYY overpromised things this year.  I think I have 3 separate papers that have not yet been written that I have promised to… 5 different conferences.  Fortunately the one that’s been promised to 3 conferences has an active coauthor who is taking the lead.  I also have a bunch of papers that are *almost* done that are not being presented anywhere and just need to be cleaned up a bit and submitted.  But those last few robustness checks, or last rewritings… can take a while.
  • If I think about everything that I have due between October and February I get really panicky.  But if I just focus on the next two deadlines it isn’t so bad.  This will probably no longer be true when I hit the third paper deadline (unless I have finished one of the first two!)
  • I’m expecting to have a bunch of papers out this next year, which is a little annoying since we have merit raises and my publications tend to be lumpy.  (This is one of the reasons I’ve had to get equity adjustments– I tend to publish way above average in years that there are no raises.)  Annual merit increases that vary each year because of how the state is doing based on publications in the previous year… not really the most equitable thing.  I could try to time things better, but that seems like a waste of scholarship (especially since publication isn’t always guaranteed in a timeline I can predict).
  • DC2’s virtual school is starting a synchronous component soon.
  • Why is yeast extract in EVERYTHING?!?!
  • SIL had her babies last week.  3lb 9oz and 3lb 5oz.   They’re in the NICU.  I don’t really know anything more, though her due date was some time in October, so they have a pretty high survival probability (like 98%).  It’s hard for us to keep up with what’s going on with them because they’re all so busy helping (SIL is recovering from an emergency c-section and being with the babies, MIL & FIL have the two older kids, other SIL is dealing with virtual learning for her own kids and hosting SIL since they live in the town with the NICU, both BIL still have to work full-time) and we live far away.  So we’ve been getting something like 2x weekly updates from various sources and we don’t want to push since there’s not much we can do from here.  I mean, I want to send casseroles but that’s not realistic (we sent a gift card to a pizza place when she was just on bedrest, but now that she’s staying with DH’s brother’s family and the other kids are staying with the in-laws, more food doesn’t seem appropriate until she gets back to her home).
  • Instacart continues to do worse and worse for us.  I think we’re now getting completely inexperienced people who don’t even know the grocery store very well.  So we’ve mostly switched over to the grocery store that has their own people doing curbside shopping.  At least the curbside grocery store has really good ice cream.
  • I’m a bit fragmented with everything going on, so expect fragments on Wednesday as well.
  • I should really do those reimbursements.  Money is good.  Filling out forms is such a pain.  I kind of wish I had a personal assistant, but not enough to actually find and pay for one.  So many things take longer to explain than to just do.  So… I should just do it.

37 Responses to “RBOC”

  1. gwinne Says:

    Glad to hear things with the babies are relatively okay. (FWIW, I was born at 3 lb 8 oz in 1972 and turned out okay :))

    I hear you on the “merit raise” problem. We are getting paycuts–both actual and retirement match. Ugh. All I can say is I”m very grateful I got a real raise/adjustment last year….

  2. Henry Says:

    I’m with you on the pay cut issue. Hearing about faculty taking pay cuts and even job losses at other places makes me glad that hammer hasn’t fallen here yet. It’s obvious that budget cuts must be coming but the administration has been cagey about the budget situation, which makes the whole thing nerve-wracking.

    Regarding evaluations, in defiance of university instructions our department does annual evaluations based on a person’s last three years of work. That helps smooth things out.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      And thankfully there’s no worry about my uni going out of business entirely– I have friends at small private schools who are legitimately concerned. (And one of the little colleges where I went to summer camp as a kid has gone out of business!)

  3. Michael Nitabach Says:

    I think yeast extract is in everything bcs it tastes so delicious (heavy duty umami) & is so cheap.

  4. Jenny F. Scientist Says:

    Our university cut retirement matches! By 2/3! It was not great and is contributing to my hard insistence that they get 30 hours a week. Another school in our consortium hired spare work-study students to watch kids during the day. The response here is ‘so work at night! also you can’t stash your kid in your office for even five minutes.’

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Well… 2/3 at least still has some incentive for you to contribute. That still really sucks, and boy are we going to have a retirement crisis down the line with social security in peril and professional people not contributing to 401k/403b.

  5. omdg Says:

    Old place of work cut incentive pay for my old group (which amounts to approximately 20% of salary). New place of work cut matching of retirement benefits (which is 10% of salary), but left incentive in place. They both say it’s just for this year, but I have my doubts. I am very worried about a long and protracted decline in income, which comes at a totally garbage time for me since I just finished training. Still, could be worse. At least I have a job.

    As for having an assistant, this only works if they take initiative with things, and are on a similar wavelength. So many people I’ve worked with get paid quite a bit to be very literal and not to use their brains. It makes me crazy since I was never like this.

    • omdg Says:

      Oh also so glad things are going ok with the twins! Hopefully they will gain weight fast and be out of the NICU in the next month or so. Crossing my fingers there are no complications!

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Us too!

        Yesterday she told us they’d dropped in weight, but that’s normal and they should be getting back to their birthweight very soon. She’s pumping every two hours.

    • omdg Says:

      Also, so glad the twins are going ok! Crossing my fingers they gain weight quickly and are able to go home soon, and have no complications!

  6. jjiraffe Says:

    My twins were born at 35 weeks, 5 days and I was on bedrest for much of the last trimester. It’s really hard to go to term, and if SIL was due in Oct, doctors would say Sept was more likely. (Average twins are born at 35 weeks, my doctor told me.) The weight of the twins is actually great for this age, and a very promising sign.

    The NICU is a real roller coaster ride. I am wishing your SIL all the best. The people that work in NICUs, and particularly the nurses, are incredible.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      MIL said that she said that the super-preemie NICU people were excited about how big the babies were because usually they get under 2lb and the babies were both over 3.

      • jjiraffe Says:

        That’s good to hear re: the weight.

        The twins’ pediatrician recommended I read “The Early Birds”, after I was fretting too much over the twins as newborns. (They were so tiny compared to other babies! I was terrified I was going to do something wrong.) “The Early Birds” is a memoir written by one of her good friends, whose twins were born at 30 weeks or so. They spent months in the NICU. She wanted me to read it for the “happy ending.” it’s well-written and gives a good sense of what the NICU experience is like, for anyone who wants to support someone going through that experience. https://www.amazon.com/Early-Birds-Mothers-Story-Times/dp/1400079462

  7. CG Says:

    Hoping for good health for the twins and strength for your SIL. Pumping every 2 hours is no joke.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Next week her older kids school starts so she’s planning on driving in to the hospital every other day (2hr each way). My MIL will be moving to an apartment in her town in a week or two to help.

  8. SP Says:

    My husband’s university is currently offering early retirement and other “voluntary” ways to reduce cost. Hiring freezes (obviously), and also they’ve halted merit raises for the year. I think they are still doing “promotion” raises. In the Great Recession, they did furloughs of faculty, so that is on the radar as possibility. Although profs were allowed to supplement with soft money if they had it available at that time. I assume involuntary layoffs will eventually follow.

  9. accm Says:

    Very glad the twins are doing OK so far. I agree those birth weights sound good.

    There are so many things I should just do. Especially those things relating to classes starting next week.

  10. Matthew D Healy Says:

    DW and I are VERY grateful to have a local CoOp with excellent curbside service done entirely by its own employees. This time of year in Iowa they have oodles of fresh local produce. We place our order the night before and usually they have or can find good substitutes for nearly every item.

    My brother and his DW in Chicago have a challenge: teens with serious food allergies so one of them has to be on the phone in real time while their shopper is working on their list because unless it’s a brand name product they already know about the shopper needs to text a picture of the ingredients list for any substitutions.

  11. Leah Says:

    My leave gave us a big pay cut ;-)

    In all seriousness, my husband had to take a 5% pay cut plus no retirement contributions this year. I’m really hoping both are restored for next year, especially since our student enrollment was higher than we budgeted for. He’s still making his own retirement contributions, thankfully. But it is not fun to have to watch our spending much more closely.

    Glad the twins seem to be doing well! Fingers crossed for a smooth recovery.

    Re: groceries, we actually do still shop in person. We’re kind of picky about things, and we also do some meal planning based on sales. Thankfully, grocery shopping is fairly low risk. We also try to go at off hours so the store is less crowded. I do sometimes find myself dodging aisles to stay away from people who are wearing neck gaiters or can’t bother to cover their nose (ugh). At least our state has a mask mandate, so the majority of people are wearing a mask and doing so decently well.

  12. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    Yay for the twins making it over 3 lbs, that’s pretty awesome.

    We still grocery shop in person since we can do a reasonable job of keeping distance and the stores are good at preventing crowding but everything else that we can is shipping or curbside pickup wherever that’s offered. We try to do without if we can’t get it safely.

    Reimbursements, yes! I spent much of August working on that. Money is good.

  13. Katherine Says:

    My college cut the retirement match to 0. Several years ago (before I was hired) they “temporarily” cut the employer retirement contribution from 8% of gross salary to 5% and then never restored it. There is also no raise pool this year, but I’m pretty sure promotion bumps still happened; they’re not usually part of the “raise pool.”

    Our enrollments this fall look like they’ll be in line with what we’ve seen the past few years, but we’ll see what happens after the dust settles on census day.


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