Give us a break!

Taking a short break from marking exams I thought I’d share an article you can read here entitled Let’s Reclaim Summer Break arguing that Faculty members should make a point of taking a break this summer. Here’s a short excerpt:

Our work seems to have fried our willpower and our ability to unplug and left us feeling tethered to our email and work even when, ostensibly, we are taking time off. We need to rest our minds, bodies and spirits — which will inevitably enrich our ability to return to our work with new energy. We can’t all book a fancy self-care retreat on an isolated island, but maybe it’s time to commit to enjoying a guilt-free beach read. Or to taking a long walk in the middle of the day or visiting a local venue for a live music performance.

I wholeheartedly agree with this. This year has been exhausting enough but I didn’t get any time off at all last summer and it’s definitely showing. I’m completely drained. I can see the tasks piling up for this summer already so I hope I’ve got the willpower not only to say ‘no’ but to disconnect entirely for the time that is owed to me.

But my biggest fear isn’t whether I myself get a holiday this coming academic year or not. It’s that, having worked all summer last year, and put in countless hours of unpaid overtime ever since, there is a real danger that level of overwork will be the “new normal” for all of us – and I don’t just mean at my University.

We’d like to think our employers will let us relax a bit once the Covid19 pandemic is over, but another possibility is that having seen how much we’re prepared to put up with that they’ll expect that to carry on forever, with perhaps a few webinars on “resilience” thrown in for good measure.

5 Responses to “Give us a break!”

  1. iainmacl Says:

    yup. Sadly familiar feeling. As was commented on a related discussion on twitter, there’s also the issue that often a ‘holiday’ simply means bunching up tasks for when you get back, so that the pressure is on immediately.

    • telescoper Says:

      Yes, thinking about what’s in store for when you return definitely makes it difficult to enjoy a break, even a weekend…

  2. The thread, “What is the Standard Cosmological Model” seems to be closed, so I thought I’d just post this here;

    Well, I bought the book, print, because I’m old fashioned and used, because I’m cheap, so I can’t cut and paste, but while it seems to clarify the issue, it doesn’t resolve it.
    The process of the argument seems to treat space geometrically, such that as it expands, the waves of the light are stretched by this expansion, not as doppler shift, due to the recession of the source, relative to the receiver.
    Which seems to assume these waves are some wiggly line, drawn on space, rather than an effect of the light traveling across it.
    Meanwhile the only mention of any distance is still put in terms of lightyears.
    So the argument seems to that as space expands, it stretches these “waves.” Though it also assumes light takes longer to cross that expanded space. Apparently the speed of light and the frequency of light somehow refer to entirely different kinds of space.
    This might seem logical to you, but the gears are still grinding for me.

    • In your discussion above, the frequency is measured locally, while the speed is measured over the time of the expansion when you refer to light taking more time. The local speed of light is always the same. So, obviously, if space expands, light takes more time to cross it.

      Whether distance is measured in light years or parsecs or furlongs is neither here nor there. Similar, one can use microfortnights as a unit of time if desired. A rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet.

      Keep grinding those gears!

      • So what is the basis for light speed, if not space? What determines it, if there is no underlaying dimension?
        If light speed is a ruler, which it seems to be used as, what is it measuring?
        It seems, from my view, two metrics of space are implicit, if not explicit, in this model. Since they are being related to one another, wouldn’t one have to be the denominator and the other the numerator?
        Since we are talking “expanding space,” not “tired light,” it seems light speed is being used as the denominator.

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