I survived my first faculty retreat. I don’t know why we bother to call them “retreats” – they’re just all-day meetings. But I suppose they have to happen at some point to get all that stuff in without spending one afternoon every week in a faculty meeting. I was actually pretty impressed at the way things went. Although I would hardly paint a utopian picture regarding the whole thing, I found that the majority of the people were able to listen (or at least not talk), and that even the talkers weren’t all that overwhelming.*
The ability to listen is a highly under-rated skill in our society, and it’s fairly rare in a group of people who have the drive to make it through graduate school and get a job in academia, so I was impressed. Taking the advice of one of my postdoctoral mentors, I mainly kept a low profile during the meeting, since I didn’t know the background of the issues we were discussing or the potential minefields associated with them.
Overall, the first official week of my official appointment has gone okay, and I think that all the members of the department have gone out of their way to welcome me, which is awesome. On that note, one thing you should probably not tell your new colleague: “You’re about the same age as my kids.”
Classes start tomorrow (Tuesday), so the honeymoon is over. Speaking of classes, do you think it would be a) awesome, b) intimidating, or c) inappropriate to get this poster and hang it in my office?
*One exception was the individual who stated that we should make a hire from their particular field of study, because there are “A lot of highly skilled postdocs available who haven’t been able to get jobs due to the poor economy.” No shit, Sherlock. If you’d pay attention to biology in general, you’d find that’s true in every field.