Monday, October 20, 2008

Day 34 (Round II) "In the trenches" (lights-out edition)

Week 09: lot going on. Extra-short (or extra-long) week for me, as I'm double-dipping on a conference weekend: one in St Louis (panel on 16th century Ireland; my paper is "Gaelic and Continental Interaction on Europe's Harmonic Frontier") and one in Connecticut (panel at the Ethnomusicology meetings; my paper is on Afro-Celtic musical interaction in the minstrelsy project). Both papers are done--the latter I could basically improvise--and I like hanging with various professional peeps.

But I still wish I didn't have to go. At this stage of my life, I would substantially rather have the extra time at home, and avoid the cost- and time-sink that is travel. Though lots of colleagues like the conferencing because it gets them out of their local environs and lets them interact with professional peers, and I like that too, at this point I need the time way more than I need another line-item in my CV. I recognize that this is a good problem to have--lots of people are in the position of still having to scuffle hard to locate conferencing opportunities, and at a point in their lives when they usually have to pay for the damned things out of their own pockets. It's a frustrating irony that, as you get a little more advanced in this profession, the opportunities to present conference papers increase in inverse proportion to the amount that you need them for your CV, and the degree to which you have to pay your own way (as opposed to having your employer foot the bill) decreases in inverse proportion to the degree to which you could. The younger you are in this profession, the more you need the conferencing opportunities and the harder they are to come by. The older you are in this profession, the more you can afford to pay your own way, and the less you have to.

I am sufficiently conscious of this that, when the most recent round of travel-money requests went in, I told the Boss: "look, if as always you don't have enough money to fund everybody, for cryin' out loud give the most of it to my junior colleagues--they need the CV items and they lack the money a lot more than I do." Not that he can necessarily do that--and I recognize that my presence out there presenting and chairing at the national conferences is an important part of our recruitment--but I still wish there were ways to invert those equations such that my more junior colleagues got more help more readily.

Below the jump:

Damn. Just damn. Lights out on my boys.

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