Friday, October 12, 2007

A day for my work

Yesterday, I did no grading. I simply prepped my class, taught it, consulted with students after class, then drove the hour and a half straight home to be with my boys.

Today, Friday, is a day for my work. There is no grading or course prep to be done today.

This morning, I talked with "my" attorney, for about an hour I'd say. Let's call him Darren. Darren was referred to me by a friend of the husband of a colleague of my ex-stepfather's (ah the wonders of social networking and I had spoken to him a few months ago, then more recently in preparation for my meeting with the programmers last week. He had pointed me toward a non-disclosure agreement template. I wanted to talk with him about moving forward, about ideas for a "work for hire" contract with the programmers, and possibilities for formalizing my arrangement with him.

So far, it's a misnomer to call him my attorney. We have no formal retainer agreement, and officially all of our discussions have fallen outside the domain of "advice." So far, it's all been gratis conversations between two fellows. But I anticipate (as I believe does he) that our relationship will eventually formalize into an attorney-client one. For now, it's nice to have a knowledgeable source willing to take and return my phone calls, and help me understand where I'm on or off track.

After that conversation, I've spent my day working up a "scenario document" for my programmers. I had worked up a "specifications" document prior to our meeting, which outlined an overview of the proofs-of-concept toolset, including algorithms for each of the individual tasks (save the last and most complicated one, which I'm still working on). They had asked me to develop a scenario document which would essentially go step by step through the proposed program: open the program; main menu includes the following tasks: ... ; choosing task_1 takes user to the following menu; selection A is accomplished by the program in the following way... etc.)

I've been working on that today. I promised them that I'd have something to them by the end of the week. This is what I'd like to prioritize. This is my work. This is interesting, and exciting to me in ways that I'm realizing teaching at Lemon simply isn't.

Is it just Lemon? ...

Rocket said to me last night that she had decided. She won't be returning to Rocket Central after the baby is born. She decided (upon hearing a local news report about the death of a five-year-old, the result of road rage) that it is time for us to depart these environs.

I'm still awaiting a reply from Sara Chaisano, but barring any major unforeseen, I think I'm ready to resign my position there. That'd free me up to commit 100% of my work time to building my business, to developing the research into viable demos for gaining clients and contracts.

But what do I do about faculty applications? There are more possibilities piling up in my inbox. Where do we want to live? What are we willing (and able) to forego in order to follow the path we lay before us? Health insurance... that's a biggie. Without a job, we've got to cover that ourselves. How much would it be? Can we manage? Would the boys be eligible for S-CHIP? How much would our living expenses be? (Depends on where we live). Could we buy a house (or should we rent)?

Getting a faculty gig (which surely is anything but certain) would afford us some income, some stability, and health benefits for the family. But what would it cost me? (Depends on the gig, right?) How much time would I spend on my institutional duties? How much time would I be allowed and expected to spend on my research? Might I really find the balance? Does anyone out there find it in academia? I ask honestly. I simply don't know.

And, if not. Am I ready, and able, and willing to make the leap? Would it strengthen our bonds as a family to risk it all? Or would it weaken us? To me, this seems paramount! One aspect of commuting so far to Lemon, and spending so much time on it, beyond the little time left for my research and firm-building, is the lack of time and energy I have to give my boys. That's one major issue I wish to resolve in the future that Rocket and I compose together.

1 comment:

Lilian said...

Here in PA our sons were eligible for CHIP on K's postdoc salary (it started ad 39K and it went up slightly every year), I'm sure your sons would be eligible. Do all states have it, though? (I really don't know much about it).