Category: The Day Job

Jun 27, 2019
By Michael Rupured

Staycationing

I’m fortunate to have a job with paid sick leave and vacation days. We can accumulate unlimited sick leave, but vacation time has to be used within a given period. Some coworkers lose days every year. Not me. Forfeiting paid days off is against my religion. Nobody does my job when I’m out, so long breaks often make me sorry I took off. Using vacation days throughout the year around weekends and holidays works better. Teaching duties limited my ability to take off as much as usual, resulting in vacation days I need to use. Campus is practically deserted this time of year. The last week of June and the first week of July are a good time to take …

May 17, 2019
By Michael Rupured
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Summer Vacation

Every year I complain about summer coming to an end too quickly. Teaching highlighted the cause of my angst. Relying on the solstice was the problem. Summer starts when the spring semester ends. Before I started teaching, my involvement with students has been limited to the occasional guest lecture. Whether classes were in session or not, my job was the same. Other than days the university closed for business, the academic calendar had no impact on my life. Preparing to teach a real class for the first time since graduate school more than thirty years ago kept me busy last summer. After classes started, teaching my one little class was like running a marathon. The pace was grueling. Toward the …

Mar 11, 2019
By Michael Rupured
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Countdown to Retirement

Last week I celebrated my 61st birthday. Had to call 9-1-1 after my house filled up with smoke. Birthday candles were not involved. Somehow, I accidnetally closed thechimney flue when adding another log to the fire. Fortunately, the only damage was the lingering smell of smoke. Next year, retirement becomes an option. Barely. I’ll be 62 — old enough to collect Social Security. The longer I work, of course, the bigger that check will be. Social Security won’t be my only source of income. I’ll also get a small pension from a former employer. Most of my retirement income, however, will come from tax-deferred accounts. As long as I keep working, me and my employer will continue to contribute to …

Feb 12, 2019
By Michael Rupured
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Teaching: Take Two

Teaching the consumer class again is a different exprience. A much better understanding of the purpose of the course and the shortcomings of the textbook led me to make quite a few changes. Students this semester are getting a new and improved version of the course. The class is smaller this semester. Instead of 48 students, I only have 26. Fewer students makes a huge difference. With four assignments, four exams, and a final, grading takes about 90 minutes per student over the course of the semester. Last semester, I devoted a full lecture to every chapter in the text and covered every term and concept. Focusing on the most important stuff this year has cut so much content in …

Jan 21, 2019
By Michael Rupured
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Forced Procrastination

Procrastination has never been my thing. Waiting until the last minute freaks me out. Being on time or early is a lot less stressful. I’ve been behind since a three-week bout with the flu last January. Losing Andy in March put me furher behind. Doing things at the last minute is my new normal. Most evenings and the biggest part of my weekends for the past year have been devoted to work. Try as I might, I can’t seem to get caught up. Every time I get close, something else falls on my plate. A three-week break over the holidays was my time to catch up and work ahead. That didn’t happen. For three glorious weeks, “I’ll work on it …

Jan 01, 2019
By Michael Rupured
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Down Time

Time off between Christmas and New Year’s Day is standard operating procedure at the day job. I add vacation days to either end to extend the break as long as possible. This year, I took off three full weeks. I brought home a ton of work. January is crazy busy. Class starts the 9th, a billion reports are due the 15th, and I have a big presention on the 20th. Thinking about all I need to do makes me anxious — and there’s no end in sight. I didn’t leave the house the first few days except to walk Toodles, get the mail, or take out the trash. The work stuff could wait. Netflix required my full attention. After several …

Dec 10, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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My First Class: Reflections

The final exam included three extra credit questions. I asked about behavior changes because of the class, the impact the class will likely have on the future, and the most beneficial topics. As there are no right or wrong answers, the score was based on how  The first class I’ve taught in 30  years is over. The final exam was last week. After several days of grading, the verdict is in. Despite my tough exams, better than half the class got an A or B in the course. Consumers in Society touches on the wide variety of spending decisions made over the course of a lifetime. It’s stuff nobody tells you about being a wise consumer that everyone should know. …

Nov 12, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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No Time for Writing

There’s more to being an author than writing stories. Making readers aware of new releases is a big part of the job. “Managing the brand” across numerous social media platforms is another requirement. A boss would tell me I need to do better, or else. She’d be right too. The marketing part has always been a challenge. I put a lot of effort into promoting new releases then do no more than my weekly blog post. My writing career is on hold. I haven’t added a word to Cold Revenge (the fourth Philip Potter story and my current work in progress) since August. A blog post every week is about all I can manage — if that. I say a …

Nov 05, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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Crotchety’s Difficult Exams

The verdict is in. After three tests, even students who are doing well in my class agree: Mr. Rupured’s exams are REALLY hard. Well I’ll be damned. Some would take pride in the reputation. For a different course, I might too, but this class is not supposed to be difficult. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not a bunny either. The content is easy to understand (says the professor), but students have to do the work. The final grade is based on assignments (20%), four exams (50%) a comprehensive final (20%) and attendance (10%). The class (Consumers in Society) is a broad overview of the field of consumer economics. It’s the only 1000-level (freshmen) class our department offers.  The class isn’t …

Oct 22, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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Countdown to Finals

My first semester teaching a college course in more than thirty years is rapidly drawing to a close. The weeks since school started have flown by. The last day of class will be here in no time. The teaching I’ve done for more than thirty years is dramatically different from teaching a college course. Participation in the workshops I’ve taught in the past is voluntary. There are no grades, and I rarely see anyone twice or for longer than a few hours. Seeing the same students every Tuesday and Thursday for 15 weeks is a nice change. I look forward to each and every class. A few of my 46 students show up only on test days — if then — …