What have I been up to?
Mostly... C++. I've worked my way through about 350 pages of the text, finally at the point where I'll get back to some coding. I realize at this point that what I'm trying to do, while in some ways quite simple, really isn't. In a way, that's really good. Because, if it were really quite simple, I'd have a lower confidence level that it's truly new. Because it's so involved, I have greater confidence that it's not likely been done before. Which, to an entrepreneur, is quite a pleasant thing to imagine.
I've not done much work on my course prep this past week. I received my contract last week, which I immediately signed and returned. It arrived about a month later than they had given me to expect it. Point 2 of the contract read, with a sprinkling of bold face, and all caps, that employment for all new part-time faculty is contingent upon attendance at their orientation session. You'd think they could have given new faculty more than two and half weeks' notice, eh?
Fair enough, normally I could attend a meeting with two weeks' notice... except, it happens to be scheduled at a time when I'll be in New York attending [Applied Research Field Industry Conference]. I've sent quite a few emails to various parties trying to ascertain how to proceed. The word I get is that they require it to ensure attendance, but every year there are some people who can't make it. Problem is, I've signed a contract, which by their composition contains a screaming section explaining that my employment is contingent upon fulfilling a requirement that I simply can't fulfill (rather, I'm not willing to cancel my flight and miss the conference).
In terminology I'm familiar with "contingent upon" means that I will not be employed if that requirement is not satisfied. Yes, I understand (from their mollifying remarks) that it's hyperbole, yet it's legal hyperbole, that protects them, not me. Real problem is I can't get anyone in my department or college to respond to my emails requesting an alternate orientation session (which is what I was asked to do by the chancellor's office). My emails have actually been courteous (I'm bitching here to get it off my chest.)
So, do I leave them hanging? Probably not, but this is really annoying, and a bad start to my return to the classroom. We'll see.
Today, then, is reworking my algorithm to more closely fit the way C++ works (at least as much as I know and understand), and beginning to code the initial test program for the proof of concept. Next week, I suppose, I get back to course prep in earnest (unless of course I'm not to be employed). Frankly, the $7700 (for two classes--they only gave me a contract for a single term, though I had been asked to teach the courses for two) couldn't hurt us (especially in today's market), but we won't go hungry without it. I've tried hard not to feel insulted by the payscale, considering I spent six years getting a PhD (after the Master's) in order to qualify for such low pay (and this, AFTER a 7% pay raise!) Granted, it's twice what I was making for teaching at a community college in Colorado 7-8 years ago. But that's little consolation.
Enough. This simply reminds me why I'm heading off into my own work. In that, lies satisfaction, and at least the potential for reasonable compensation.