Academic or Manager?

K. and I have been Minou-sitting for the past few days. Pauvre Minou has abandonment issues. She can be quite sucky, but currently she has plunked her fluffy little butt in between me and the laptop, which is sitting on the bed. She's also purring like a Harley engine. Her owners are home so I'm contemplating putting her outside...especially now that she's licking my knuckles.

So, the Lermontovskaia entsiklopediia, that's the Lermontov Encyclopedia that I ordered from Russia this summer arrived today. Yes, it did take a while, but the thing cost my five bucks U.S. so I won't be complaining too much about its tardy appearance. Dr. S. told me to read it about a year ago, but he never told me when to read it.

Doctor Cz. has had the brilliant idea of putting together a day-long grad-student-only conference on Czech studies this April. There's a competing group of Czech specialists at the university who are overseen by a woman who wrote her dissertation on the dissident movements in Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia. She knows neither Polish, nor Hungarian, nor Czech. Really. It's so far beyond my comprehension that I couldn't make this up. So, we're going to play adult and invite them to share. It might also be a good opportunity to get some publicity for the Czech program in our department, because the chair seems hell-bent on grinding it into the ground. We'll ignore the fact the Doctor Cz. alone is supervising five graduate students while the four Russianists combined have only four students. Anyhow, if this thing is going to get organized, it needs a swift kick in the pants, which is what I gave it yesterday by firing off an email and demanding some answers. One of the other grad students, uh, Cranky responded, but the suggestions were ridiculous. I already know what the answers should be, but I wanted everyone else to feel like they were involved in the planning, before I ride rough-shod over the whole process. K. commented that I would make a brilliant manager. So now I'm facing a fork in the road: middle management or academia? Both have to deal with stupid minions, even dumber superiors, laughable jargon (onpassing anyone?), and too-small budgets. The key questions to ask then are: 1. Which one has more job security? 2. Which one makes more money? and 3. Which one has a lower suicide rate? If you have any answers, feel free to contact me. -Zh.


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