I adore my job.  I get paid to do precisely what I would want to be doing anyway, with a few exceptions (grading and meetings, I’m looking at you).  So it’s rare that I anything but rave about how great I have it, except for this time of year.  The start of summer inevitably leads to the conversations that begin: “Oh, so you’re off until September.”  As the years go by the irritation that line brings increases, no doubt fueled by my absurdly long summer to-do lists.  I’m mostly measured in response, saying simply: “Oh, I’m not off.  I don’t have to teach, but I still have lots of things to do.”  I try to keep in mind that they’re just making conversation, not asking me to regale them with tales of my research and service obligations.   I strongly suspect that most people who say that have no idea what an academic does beyond teaching.  I also appreciate that I do have even more flexibility in the summer, which is easy to misinterpret as a lack of work.  Still, having that conversation multiple times each June is one of the few things I don’t enjoy about the job.  Now that I think about it, that may be yet another excellent sales pitch for the profession.

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