Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Have been brewing over the idea of applying for study leave next year. You might not think a nine-hour week is a heavy work load. But in this business, in this town, it is pretty heavy. For an easily distracted person like me, I find it extremely hard to write and teach at the same time. It's not that I can't write - I churned out my PhD in record time, half of that time I was stoned and pissed. So, I can write. I just need a solid chunk of time to do it (drugs and booze optional).

So I wrote to my dept head to sound him out. He replied quite promptly, saying that someone else in our dept has already put in an application, so it is unlikely that both of our applications would be granted in the same year. Then he told me how people have been sacked because they failed to deliver what they had promised to deliver after their leave. So I thought to myself, what exactly did they fail to deliver? It could only be books or journal articles. And in both cases, it is difficult to get anything done in a term's time - and in my university you can only get full-paid study leave for one term; anything longer than that and it'll have to be on two-third paid or no pay. The average turnover rate for a decent journal would be something like this - anything between two to six months from submission to getting the reviews back. Then you'll get anything between two to six months for 1st revision. Then you send the revised version back, and wait anything between another month to 3 months for the second reviews. If you get the okay (and there is no guarantee that you will; they may decide sorry, don't want your article afterall), then you get in the queue for publication. Between final acceptance and actual publication, that could be anything between six to eighteen months.

As for books, I can only think that you use the term's study leave to write the goddam thing, then secure a book contract upon the end of your leave. But then still, it is risky. There is no guarantee that you will get a contract even if you work you ass off for three months. It will take at least three months for the publisher to get the reviewers to send back their assessment of your manuscript. And if you already have a contract, then I guess you can use the term's leave to churn out your book. But if you haven't already have a manuscript pretty much ready, which publisher would offer you a contract? (Answer: if YOU are the publisher, or you PAY the publisher to give you a contract)

Anyway, all this business has got me scratching my head. What do they expect these deliverables to be, after a three month study leave?

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