TWILAP, Two Weeks in the Life of an Accounting Professor. Most people think I only work a few hours per week, just the time spent in the classroom. They aren’t aware of all the behind the scenes activity. In this series, I’ll journalize on what it’s like to be a professor.
I am thankful for being a professor. I was not always a professor. At one time I was a bum whose life revolved alcohol. Uneducated, unrefined, self-centered and in a death spiral, I was going nowhere. God, in His love and mercy, intervened and put me on the road to a new life. When removing self from the equation, being a professor is about serving others. I’m teaching students how to use accounting once their professional lives begin. They will live in the real world, not me. That’s fine, life apart from the hallowed halls of academia is a scary thought.
This year, I’m grateful to be at a new school. Life at the previous school had become untenable.
I’m grateful for being a professor. Being a professor gives me time to think. Thinking is a solitary exercise. The phrase is, lost in one’s thoughts. It isn’t, lost in two’s thoughts. Professors spend only a few hours per week with or in front of others. Since the advent of personal computers, I quite literally spend my life at a computer. Metaphorically speaking, my laptop has now become my right arm.
It’s not a bad thing to live much of my professional life alone. Accountants are stereotyped as dull and boring. So are professors. Being both accounting and professor, I’m doubly dull and boring.
Why do some professors work on holidays? If being dull and boring isn’t enough reason, there are other possibilities. Whether they like or dislike teaching (many are attracted to academe because of the solitary life of thinking, not the social aspect of helping students learn), teaching eats up time. Lectures and learning activities must be prepared, papers and tests graded, and distractions dealt with. For the organizationally challenged like myself, a holiday is a block of uninterrupted (professors live a solitary life) time to catch up on teaching related responsibilities. For example, I still have about 20 hours of grading to do before I’m caught up. Then the assignment list for next week must be finalized.
More than that, a holiday presents the opportunity to put aside teaching activities and work on scholarly pursuits. It has never been more true than it is in today’s world of AACSB accreditation, an accounting professor must perish or his/her professional life will quite literally perish. Writing a paper requires long blocks of uninterrupted time. As chocolate is to a chocoholic, scholarly activity is to a true professor.
12:30- 1:30 p.m. E-mail. Although the in-box isn’t as full as on a normal day, it will haunt me if I don’t clear it out now. Personal and professional e-mails combined, there are 95 e-mails now to go through (more will come throughout the day). Four are from AECM the listserv for accounting professors. This is way down from a normal dy. This is disappointing, for today I have time to read and respond, but there is little about which to read and respond. Most deal with news alerts. A few are from my favorite merchants, advertising tomorrow’s sales.
Only tangentially related to accounting. Obama campaign promosed to immediately get us out of Afghanistan and Iraq. Now comes news that he expects us to be in Afghanistan until 2017, a year after the conclusion of his second term. Also, Obama’s agenda runs into economic angst in Congress. Hopefully difficulties will derail his plans to move the country to IFRS.
In Rules? Who Needs Rules?, I think Paul Vigna yearns for tougher American accounting standards that will reveal the true financial condition of the big banks. There’s an interesting papers on the cost of quality and competition here.
5:40-6:00 p.m. E-mail.
10:00-10:20 p.m. Miscellaneous reflections. As the day concludes, I see no real work was done today. I just didn’t feel like it. A wonderful thing about academia is the flexibility. Perhaps I can turn tomorrow–Black Friday–into a good day of work.
Debit and credit – – David Albrecht