Sunday, May 03, 2009

Gear Shifting and Fragmentation

Hudson Super Wasp hood ornament

I've never been great at shifting gears mentally, so my current work configuration offers me a real challenge. I'm teaching courses in chemistry, statistics, and Microsoft Word 2007, while developing a new course for beginners in Excel spreadsheets. Meanwhile, I'm still the county historic preservation officer, which means I'm maintaining two online databases, digitizing content, looking for grants, and planning museum and archive curation. These are part-time jobs, and don't, in theory, add up to more than a 45-50 hour work week.

In theory, theory and practice are the same, but in practice, they are different. In practice, I have a hard time thinking, "OK, that's it for biochemistry this week. Now I'm going to update Drupal and proof-read a genealogy text. After that, I'll write an exam for the junior college computer students, and then, cook supper." It should work, but it doesn't. I'm still thinking about gene promoter and enhancer sequences as I retype sections of the "The Descendants of Thomas Galford." Later, I'll be thinking about the ravages of the Civil War on the Allegheny Front's inhabitants as I try and think how to test students' understanding of formatting features in word processing. And eventually, as I think about hanging intents and margins, I'll probably dump too much pepper in the mashed potatoes again.

I shouldn't complain about having paying jobs, and I do like variety. Nevertheless, I feel as if my mental gears are in danger of being stripped.

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