The middle of July has rolled around, which means it’s finally starting to feel like summer for me. Yes, I have a lot more work to do this year than during previous summers, including multiple conference presentations, conference organization, and work on at least four research projects, but I’m also doing things like blowing off an afternoon to watch the World Cup. A couple of things have recently reminded me how much I prize the flexibility I have in the summer.

First, I had a meeting with someone from the company where I have my retirement accounts. They have wealth management services, which is as near as I can tell is a way of checking that you’re not delusional about your retirement saving plan, and I finally made the time to schedule a meeting. During the meeting she asked me if I consulted and she also asked if I taught during the summer. The answer to both is a clear no, mostly because I have no interest in burning valuable summer hours on things other than research and important service projects. She was sympathetic, although I suspect that was mostly her doing her job of being charming.

Then yesterday I had a meeting that couldn’t be made virtual, so I had to head downtown. I was so resistant to this. The only way I found to make it tolerable was to bring my daughter, who has a gift for turning ordinary experiences into fun adventures. Without her I would have spent the entire time being resentful of the fact that I was commuting or having to be in the office, which is a huge overreaction to a commitment that was in total four hours long. That experience was yet another sign to me that having the ability to decide when and where I do my summer work is the absolute biggest benefit of my job. I’m also reasonably sure that it means I will never (ever) take an administrative position.

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