01 November 2008

Searching for the Muse

Here it is, November, and I'm still trying to get my poop in a pile. The new job is not conducive to blogging, for several reasons...but I hope to massage this space into something that works well for everyone. I'm still looking for the right muse.

By far, the worst aspect of my new job is the amount of time I spend on the road. I have quite the commute, but with the economy as it is...and housing market not so rosy...well, it doesn't make a lot of sense at this particular time to move (even with the price of gas). At the same time, I'm also finding it nice to have physical space away from the office and closer to my familiar "old" life.

When I first started this job, I was warned about the E.F. Hutton aspect to things. And during the week, I'm very mindful of that. But when I get out to lunch with my friends or exchange some playful text messages with people I used to work with, or even just grab a late night bite to eat at my favourite hangout, I am very glad that I don't live where I work. It keeps me from becoming my job. At least I hope so.

At the same time, having 2.5 hours of windshield time everyday creates a whole different sort of "tired." By the time I navigate my way through the rush hour maze to get home, I'm not finding a whole lot of mental energy is left available for blogging.

Meanwhile, the kinds of things I run across would be wonderful to write about---trust me, I'm enmeshed in all manner of tall tales with this job...but, the information is often privileged. I have to really pick and choose the specifics of the projects I share here. There is also an awful lot of Kool-Aid I'm asked to drink: the special interest groups all have their own concoction. I have to tell you that I'm not much of a Kool-Aid fan. It goes against my "Every Kid. Every Day." philosophy and my frustration with adults who are only looking out for their own interests. The Kool-Aid sellers are specialized around a particular cause or approach (hence the cult-like Jonestown reference). And, man, are they are out to tempt me with their wares.

I find this a rather curious position to be in. I am not someone who is able to give special favours to anyone else...and the fact is, I wouldn't even if I could. If anything, the presence of so many special interest groups where science education is concerned is a sure sign of Darwinian forces at work. Their diversity is astounding...as is their competitive nature. Playing favourites would seem to be a very dangerous kind of game.

But, oh, the Kool-Aid I'm asked to sample.

The days have a variety of roles for me to fulfill. Sometimes, I'm just an appendage, representing someone else at a meeting or sitting in with a process. There are other times when I feel like the person in the parade with the trash can and shovel who has to clean up after the elephants---the result of promises made by others and not kept translates to me trying to make things pretty again. I don't know that I'm "old," but I am "experienced," and this translates to different things in the office---especially when it comes to mentoring young women who are starting out with their various careers. It's not a role I've had before. And amongst all of this, there are a few flashes of brilliance here or there---the times I get to work alongside teachers in schools or really dig into the kinds of work that will make change happen in this state.

In the past few years, many good people have left my former district. I have yet to find a single one who has any regrets. Sure, you miss certain individuals, but to get a different view and see that there are educational arenas out there which are not dysfunctional (and in denial about what/who created that) is a relief in that you know you made the right choice. Whatever sacrifices and changes to your life the decision had, no matter the ripple effect, the current situation is the best of all possible worlds. At least for the present.

Perhaps somewhere in developing that happy state of mind, the Muse to blog will return.


Roger Sweeny said...

At one point I was offered an opportunity that required an hour of commuting each way. With regret, I turned it down. The thought of two hours of drive-time radio was awful.

So I'm curious. How do you fill up your "2.5 hours of windshield time"? Books on tape? Downloaded podcasts? Phone calls? Let your mind wander in silence?

When you were teaching, you often posted with excitement about new technologies. Have you found anything that helps your drive?

The Science Goddess said...

I've done some books on tape, CD mixes, and radio---all of which get boring after a little while. I'm looking at XM Radio so that I have some variety. We'll see what happens.

As for technologies, I think the only thing I'm finding that is helping are cell phone apps that translate voice to text (great for those little things I need to remember but can't write down while driving) and sites with free downloads of audiobooks.

I did see a guy with a tiny tv suction cupped to his window. He was watching the World Series while creeping along in traffic.

I hope to start telecommuting at least once a week. It's a lot of time (and money) lost in driving...even if it's cheaper than the alternatives at this time.