Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A Day in the Life

Recently, Money Magazine ranked “College Professor” as number two in their list of the fifty best jobs (we lost to software engineer for number one). Many people have started asking, if it’s such a great job, what do you do all day?

Hey, I am the first to acknowledge that being a prof (particularly being a gay-prof) is one sweet gig, if you can get it. Much of my day is spent thinking and wondering. I am a thinker.

Let’s take a look at how a typical day for me usually goes:

    9:30 am --10:00 am: Wake-up/shower. Nothing forces me to be at the office at any particular time.

    10:00 am -- 10:30 am: Coffee, Read the news. Wonder how 51% of the U.S. voters could have been so feebleminded in 2004.

    10:30 am -- 10:35 am: Check e-mail.

    10:35 am -- 10:40 am: Lament the lack of personal e-mail. Well, except for a note from a very nice barrister who wants me to be a business partner with him. Apparently, he has access to a secret bank account and needs my help to free up this money. All I have to do is give him my bank account, then I will be rich! Perhaps, though, I have said too much.

    10:40 am -- 10:50 am: Arrive at the office and read snail-mail. Open the tenth box of free textbooks sent to me that week. Wonder why free textbooks seem to be the only Swag associated with this job.

    10:50 am -- 11:00 am: Meet with a disgruntled student who feels he/she should have gotten a better grade on an exam/paper/quiz. (During Normal Semesters – This semester, this is blog-reading time).

    11:00 am -- 11:05 am: Finally get the student to admit that he/she did not read the book for the exam/paper/quiz, thus resulting in his/her low grade. Lie Promise that the reading will get easier as the semester progresses. (During Normal Semesters – This semester, this is coffee drinking time).

    11:05 am -- 11:55 am: Teach first class (During normal semesters – This semester, this is blog-reading time)

    11:55 am -- 12:15 pm: Lunch – These days consisting of Hello Kitty! Pop-Tarts ©.

    12:15 pm -- 1:10 pm: Teach second class (During normal semesters – This semester, this is vintage gay-porn watching time – strictly for historical research)

    1:10 pm -- 1:30 pm: Chat with a colleague about newly-acquired historical documents that show how much money Thomas Jefferson spent on flax seed. Secretly be smug that my research interests don’t seem so arcane in comparison.

    1:30 pm -- 1:45 pm: Open word-processing program to my research project. Stare blankly at the screen for fifteen minutes. Realize that my current research project is so arcane that it makes the price of Jefferson’s flax seeds seem downright riveting.

    1:45 pm -- 2:00 pm: Debate about which character from the movie 9 to 5 I would most resemble if I were a woman and an office-worker. Conclude that I would be a mix between Lilly Tomlin’s tough and pragmatic Violet and Jane Fonda’s naïve divorcee Judy.

    2:00 pm -- 2:05 pm: Feel sad that I could never be imagined as Dolly Parton’s perky and sexy Doralee.

    2:05 pm -- 2:10 pm: Return to word-processor and pledge to write something on the research project in the next hour.

    2:10 pm -- 2:15 pm: Question how many times a cursor blinks each minute. Decide to count.

    2:15 pm -- 2:20 pm: Suddenly wonder what ever happened to my best friend from the second grade. What was his name? Matt? Mark? Melvin? Decide to google him.

    2:20 pm -- 2:30 pm: Listen to a senior traditional-history colleague who stopped by my office. Be informed that he has doubts that I will ever get tenure because Latino history is too “narrow and regional.”

    2:30 pm -- 2:45 pm: Regret moving to Texas.

    2:45 pm -- 3:00 pm: Actually write two new paragraphs for my research project, mostly out of spite for the senior traditional-history colleague.

    3:00 pm -- 3:15 pm: Celebrate having written something by reading more blogs.

    3:15 pm -- 3:30 pm: Take a well-earned coffee-break with a friend and junior colleague in the department. Have discussion about which word-processing program, MS-Word© or WordPerfect©, is better able to handle our needs. Take a firm stance for WordPerfect, but secretly think we are both hopeless dorks for having an opinion on this subject.

    3:30 pm -- 4:00 pm: Stare at research project on computer screen again. Maybe write one more paragraph. Wish drinking tequila in the office wasn't such a taboo.

    4:00 pm -- 4:30pm: Spend quality time hating and despising the liar-ex.

    4:30 pm -- 4:45 pm: Contemplate if I hate the liar-ex too much. Conclude that he deserves the hatred. Make a note to increase the time spent hating him to a full hour tomorrow.

    4:45 pm -- 5:15 pm: Search e-bay for golden, silver, and bronze-age Wonder Woman comics.

    5:15 pm -- 5:30 pm: Make one last effort to write something on the research project.

    5:30 pm -- 6:20 pm: Attend therapy session to find more healthy ways of dealing with my life. Question legitimacy of psychotherapy, but decide to keep attending therapy for access to Xanax.

    6:20 pm -- 8:30 pm: Gym time – Divide time between straining muscles and wondering if this will be the day that the hunky guy in the blue shirt will actually talk to me. He does not.

    8:30 pm -- 9:00 pm: Return to apartment and prepare dinner. This usually involves punching holes in some type of bag and tossing it in the microwave.

    9:00 pm -- 9:50 pm: Read new history book for work. Wonder how I will ever get my own research done.

    9:50 pm -- 10:00 pm: Pledge to spend less time reading blogs and more time working on my research project tomorrow.

    10:00 pm -- 10:40 pm: Watch re-runs of Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie on DVR. Be pleasantly surprised by how dreamy Larry Hagman used to be. Be equally horrified by how grim both Darrins used to be, especially compared to Samantha.

    10:40 pm -- 11:00 pm: Write a new blog entry – Wonder why I can’t have a career writing and reading blogs.

    11:00 pm –- 12:30 am: Write e–mails chronicling my action packed day.

    12:30 am -- 1:00 am: Suffer from insomnia. Contemplate drinking a fifth of vodka to solve the problem.

    1:00 am -- 2:00 am: Decide, instead, to watch Wonder Woman on DVD to solve insomnia problem. Play game trying to deduce which scenes involve Lynda Carter wearing a wig and which show her real hair.

    2:00 am: Sleep. Dream of something historical.

Yeah, it’s a real mystery why people think being a college professor is such a cushy job. Look at my day! All I do is slave, slave, slave – work, work, work.


Adam said...

what about the procrasturbation? what time of day does that occur?

Anonymous said...


OK, first, this is a sabatical period, yes?
Second, I count three paragraphs in one day. That's pretty significant progress to me!
Third, swag... Hey it could be worse: in the sciences, the main swag I saw were clear glass coffee mugs made to look like graduated cylinders, and T-shirts saying witty things like "Born to Clone".

Sounds like a pretty ok daily life, over all.

Chad said...

How odd. Your life is a lot like mine as a graduate student, although I'd add in, "Spend at least fifteen minutes worrying about the crushing debt that will one day overcome you, just because you wanted to be a grad student."

vuboq said...

hm. I always imagine you as the sexy and perky Doralee. I don't think Judy or Violet would eat Hello Kitty! Pop-Tarts.

Kalvin said...

Of course Word Perfect is better, but no one else uses it, so how am I supposed to share documents? And what you said to the student was what I imagined my professor would do if I ever went in to contest a grade (why do students think that they are negotiable?). Plus, it's great that you question the effectiveness of psychotherapy (hey, would you have wanted to be out in therapy prior to the APA's change in position), so just remember they aren't infallable, and use it for you, and not to match up their theories. I'm also happy to know that other people wonder if people will come talk to them in the gym (isn't the mental mapping of the gym and it's members half the reason for going to the gym?). Sounds cushy...

Brad said...

Loved the post. I am obviously in the wrong line of work!
I used to have a couple of decent and fun jobs until my ex forced me out of them. Sat behind a microphone for four hours each day wiggling my lips and spouting clever comments on the radio for pretty good pay and then at night wiggling my bare butt as a dancer and also for pretty good pay.
Now? Military. Yea, THAT was a step up sheesh!

Frank said...

Ah, it's a man's life in modern academe! You're right, it seems like a nice gig if you can get it, but I don't think I could put up with all the other crap (like senior traditional historians). I must say, though, that for me free textbooks sounds like great swag.

I'm totally Judy, though I'd love to be Violet. "Workin' nine to five..."

Oh, and "strictly for historical research"? Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. *hehe*

Alden said...

That's just so wrong...it's right.

Anonymous said...

Can we switch jobs for a week?!
Please?! I want to sit at a desk contemplating life, reading blogs, researching vintage porn, and eating Hello Kitty pop tarts.

Can I be GayProf for a week?


Chris said...

this has a small resemblence to my current bf's life when he is not teaching. he has his eyes on the prize (tenure) so he spends a bit more time writing. So much so that friends from out of town stay with us for weeks and just write because my bf does not put up with anything but writing.

i am so lucky to have a real job.

tornwordo said...

Sounds almost as good as getting paid to read and write blogs.

Roger Owen Green said...

The sad trhing is I've done about 85% of the things on your list. (I don't drink coffee, and I don't live in Texas.)

What happened in 2004? (OK, I'm STILL in denial.)

batmansf said...

Being A gay prof is a good job....being THE GayProf??? Well, the rest of us can only dream!

GayProf said...

Adam: Oooh – I love this new concept "procrasturbation." Must work it into my day.

Atari_Age:: Your Swag sounds bad, though I did once get a t-shirt that said, "Historians, We're Gonna Party Like It's 1859!" I burned it. Then I took a ritual bath to cleanse myself of its horror.

Chad: You still think about all that debt after grad school, but now it's about ways to avoid answering the phone so the bill collectors won't find you.

Vuboq: Thanks for the vote of confidence. Let's face it, though, nobody would ever accuse Dolly of having gravitas. **sigh**

Kalvin: WordPerfect is an infinitely better program! My main reason for not switching to Mac has to do with the fact that WordPerfect is not available for Mac-OS.

Hey -- you tricked me into showing my dorkness again. Drats!

Brad: Sat behind a microphone for four hours each day wiggling my lips and spouting clever comments on the radio for pretty good pay and then at night wiggling my bare butt

I am guessing that your military duties involve pretty much the same, only with less pay. At least, that's what my videos seems to suggest about military life...

Frank: If you want some free textbooks, I can hook you up. They are really, really, really boring textbooks, though. I would never assign them to a class out of fear of an Oz-like riot.

Alden: Hail, Amazon Sister! Thanks for stopping by my little bloggy!

Cooper: It’s tempting – How do you feel about growing a goatee and becoming uncomfortably bitter?

Chris: I wish I had your partner's discipline. sigh

TornWordo: You are right, my current gig is pretty sweet all the same. Actually, I think if I did find a job that paid me to read and write blogs, I would suddenly find it much less interesting than other things. Aaah – the lure of forbidden fruit.

ROG: No coffee?! Why do you continue to live?

BatmanSF: Don't dream it -- Be it!

Homer said...

I'm a fan of WordPerfect myself.

Perspective of Pete said...

That was hysterical. You forgot the catered lunch conferences to discuss research findings, though.

palochi said...

"Question legitimacy of psychotherapy, but decide to keep attending therapy for access to Xanax."

I think you just nailed the reason I keep seeing my shrink, too. Gah.

Elizabeth McClung said...

The only part of the day I found at all hard to comprehend was the two hours spent daily in the gym. Is that at the juice bar or are there really people that actually use those machines for two hours a day?

GayProf said...

Elizabeth: Yep, I really spend that long in the gym. It also includes shower time, though. Sometimes I spend even longer there, though! I need help.

vuboq said...

I hate to keep harping on this, but I think Dolly Parton has a pretty high Center of Gravitas.

get it? get it?
I slay me.

Reluctant Nomad said...

I always knew I should have gone on to do that phD!

Dennis said...

Taught mathematics for a number of years. My day was similar except for gym time being racquetball from 2 to 4 and beer time was around 7. Left teaching because the students were always around 21 (started to give me a reverse Dorian Grey complex), I got tired of hearing "thats my prof" in bars and the guys were getting cuter and beefier. Didnt like the direction things were moving. Then there was the tenure issue and departmental meetings arguing what should be in the first course of differential equations.

Wayne said...

So - How much did Jefferson spend on flax seed?

PS: I'm holding my breath until you reply. AND holding you responsible for the consequences

Jennifer said...

As always, Gay Prof - love your posts! I've been away for awhile working on stuff- but I'm back! I can't wait to catch up...

Darkbear said...

dear colleague, one question: what kind of computer you have to still get a blinking cursor??? I'd love one!!!!

Joe.My.God. said...

Yes, blinking cursor? That's so...so...War Games, Matthew Broderick!

Oh, and I first ran across "procrasurbation" during the early Manhunt years, as it defined the act of jerking off while skimming thru random profiles, while deciding whether to go out.

Lynn said...

I HAVE made a career of writing and reading other peoples blogs--but for seom reason, the title on my office reads executive assistant. Huh.

GayProf said...

Wayne:If I told you that, what reason would you have to buy the book?

Darkbear and Joe: My cursor still blinks in both WordPerfect and MS-Word. Should I be calling tech-support?

MaggieMay said...

I've just started reading your blog (linked over from oso's), and I must say here that I LOVE YOU. This post almost made me snort coffee out my nose (11:00-11:30, coffee drinking time).

Sniper said...

God damn. This is nothing, nothing like teaching in the public schools.

So jealous.