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.