Thursday, July 9, 2009

What a change!

I got back from the lakehouse on Sunday evening. I spent a couple days fiddling with my budgets, and following up on possible office space (lease or buy?), as well as catching up on emails, and myriad miscellany.

It's at times overwhelming: A couple years ago, I was in Adjunct Servitude and spending half my income on a rented office space for a business that existed only within those four walls and my mind. I have often fretted over how lonely it is without the support of an academic institution or an employer, or even a team of coworkers.

It was nearly a year ago that things started to change. I was awarded a six-month contract (it lapsed about four months ago), worth about ten times what I made per semester as an adjunct! We had recently moved into our home, and I had setup shop in a home office, now cluttered with two large "L" desks on opposite corners, three computers (two desktops and a laptop), an overflowing filing cabinet, a couple printers, and a couple storage cabinets.

I've got an intern now. Last week, I received official notice that the second part of my initial contract had been funded, to provide transitional support while I go through the process of proposing and negotiating a two-year contract for continued research and development (worth 100 times what I made in a semester as an adjunct!).

I'm no longer quite alone (for now at least I have an intern). I expect to hire three post-docs in the fall or early 2010. What a change! And I'll be paying them more than two and a half times my annual salary as an adjunct (with health and retirement benefits, bonuses and raises, that make a former adjunct giddy)! It feels good to be on the verge of accomplishing that.

But there are so many details to attend to: the office space; the final proposal and contract negotiations; budgeting, payroll, and accounting; legal and patenting; ordering equipment and software and furniture and office supplies; Interviewing and hiring candidates; benefits administration.

And in the midst of it, my principal hard drive failed yesterday morning! Drive 0 not found. No bootfile. Aargh! I had made a backup of all my important business files (meaning the research and administrative materials) before heading to the lakehouse. I had a backup of the entire computer from October (yeah, I should do it weekly!). Mostly, I lost the last few months of pictures, and some household documents.

And... I lost the work I had done on budgetting and such from the first part of this week. Okay, a couple days to recover. It's frustrating, because I need to get that final proposal in soon! And the budget is significant, since it determines how many labor hours I have to spend on the project, and thus what I can reasonably promise in the plan of work.

But, these are minor annoyances. Truly, honestly, amazingly--I am thankful for where I am, for what I have. Today is a better day than yesterday, metaphorically and literally.


undine said...

Congrats on getting the additional funding on the contract! It's encouraging to read about all your success.

ArticulateDad said...

Thanks. It's encouraging to attain it!