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How are you, Sam?

A few months ago, I posted a musing with the same name. As I noted in that musing, when people have asked How are you?, my general response has been

Old, fat, tired, and grumpy.

I am all four. I’m not getting any younger. I weigh more than I’ve weighted in some time. I’m almost certainly more tired than I’ve been in awhile. And, while I’m a bit more cheerful, I can be a grump.

But these days, my most frequent answer is

I’m great.

And you know what? I am. So, what’s changed? The great things are still great: I have three awesome children and a spectacular spouse; I get to help a really wonderful set of students who I feel fortunate to work with every day; and I get paid reasonably well for what I do. The problems are still problematic: I tend to have more work than I can do and I’m behind in much of my work [1]. In fact, I have more courses, more students, and more advisees than I’ve ever had. I still worry about long-term staffing issues. I also remain incredibly concerned about the state of our country and stunned that we’ve reached this state.

So why am I now great? I’ve been thinking about that as I planned this musing. And, as far as I can tell, only one major thing has changed: I am no longer the person primarily responsible for worrying about the future of my department. That’s not to say that I don’t worry and that I won’t work on the issue. But I’m no longer the one responsible for advocating for solutions with the administration or even for figuring out the scope of the problem. And that makes an incredibly big difference. It also helps that President Kington has promised that we will have the staffing we need, even though it will most likely be term faculty rather than tenure-line faculty, at least for the time being [2].

But, whatever the reason, I’m great. And I’m glad. I hope I can stay that way [3].

[1] And I regularly feel bad about it.

[2] I’m even moderately optimistic about our ability to hire term faculty.

[3] I feel a bit guilty being great in the current national and world situation. But I’m not sure that being otherwise would make a positive difference to anyone.

Version 1.0 of 2017-09-08.