Are you a Woman or a Minority?: Good luck landing that job

I don’t mean  to be the bearer of bad news…but in reality, this study in the Harvard Business Review simply sums up what those of us who identify as women or in a minority category already know: there is implicit bias against us on the job market. In fact, if there are four finalists and three are white men, well, whether #4 is a woman or a minority, you have statistically 0% chance to get that offer.

I think it’s time for a new paradigm in academia, don’t you?


SMART goals and starting the semester

The past few weeks have been busy with packing, a move, and now unpacking and getting adjusted to my new home in Muncie, Indiana. I am mostly unpacked, books are out, and it’s time to get back to my projects. Today is my first day “back” at work, although both today and tomorrow I’m starting out with low expectations. This is key: knowing that when you come back to work after some kind of change—whether moving, having, adopting, or fostering a new child, being on sabbatical, marriage/divorce, even coming back to teaching after the summer—that it will take a little time to adjust. Be generous with yourself. Recognize that you will not be able to work at full-steam the first few days, and, as always, set S.M.A.R.T goals:

  • S: specific
  • M: measurable
  • A: attainable
  • R: relevant
  • T: time-bound

In other words, your goals should not look like this:

  • Finish writing and submit my article on patriarchy in 2 Samuel

But should instead be S.M.A.R.T.:

  • Today I will: Read through my article and make a list of all the things I need to do work on
  • For the 5 work days I will: tackle 1-2 items on my list each day for the article (as I adjust to the fall semester teaching schedule)

As you can see from these examples, these sample goals are S.M.A.R.T:

  1. They are Specific: I know what I need to do today and what I need to do during the following 5 work days.
  2. They are Measurable: Did I accomplish them in the time frame I set out? If no, why not? Was I too ambitious? If so, could I have accomplished more?
  3. They are Attainable: These goals are not overly ambitious, such as “finish article,” but are specific tasks that I can work to attain each day.
  4. They are Relevant: If my ultimate goal is to finish and submit my article, then these specific goals are relevant in order to reach that ultimate goal.
  5. They are Time-Bound: I am only setting goals for the next week or so, and therefore I set smaller goals: make the list, do 1-2 things on the list per day. These kinds of goals keeps in mind that I have other responsibilities (and in this particular case, that I need to be generous with myself as I adjust to a new schedule!).

Ultimately, being generous with yourself and your time, and setting S.M.A.R.T. goals go hand-in-hand. Both will lead to greater productivity in your writing, your research, your teaching, or whatever other endeavor you are currently working on.

Wishing you a Happy Beginning to the New Semester!


There have been some recent changes to my work and home life, and a few more expected in the near future. If one of my clients would come to me to ask about how to handle some changes, whether a move (for work or personal situation), an adjustment in the family structure (e.g. marriage, new baby, fostering or adoption, high-needs child, kids going off to college, divorce,  or taking on care of aging parents), change in schooling or finances, or any other number of situations that could come up, I would tell them to be generous with themselves, with their time. Recognize that you will not get as much done or be as productive, even when some of that time is spent processing (in academic terms, this is often incorrectly identified as “doing nothing”). As a freelance writing support mentor, I know that these changes affect your ability to concentrate, to produce, and to process at higher levels and therefore that you need to adjust your expectations of what you can accomplish. All of this is true.

It is harder, of course, to implement this kind of generosity in myself as I go through a major move, and career and schooling transitions. I am trying to remind myself to be generous, to not judge or to mentally berate myself. It is hard. This is why it is so important to have a writing support mentor, someone else who can remind you when your expectations are unrealistic and should be toned down, but also someone who can help you find the place during your transitions when it is time to up your game again.

If you’d like to work with me as a writing coach/support mentor, or for freelance editing, e-mail me at: