Starting up a new tenure track job is really, really hard. You are stepping into a new job that you were not trained to do. Up until now, your training was in research, and research is important (especially at research-intensive universities). In your new tenure track job, you will also have to teach (well), perform service work, mentor students and guide them, start a lab/research group from scratch, and manage people, manage budgets, manage your time. This job is not just one job, but several. The worst part is that you were supposed to have learned all these skills through osmosis somehow and observation. Unfortunately for many of us, our prior mentors were not good teachers, mentors, or managers. Or if they were, they did not share the secrets of their craft either through purposeful or accidental neglect. Thus, we are left to bumble through and figure things out on our own.
Over the next few posts, I will be discussing some of the parts of starting a new job and some possible strategies for coping with myriad of new things you are now responsible for. In addition, the initial trial period before attaining tenure is prime time for fertility and trying to start a family and a life. Many women have babies in this time because it is now of never. I hope the next several posts will help those entering and make those who somehow made it through feel better about how they did to get to the next stage. Please send guest posts and comments, especially those who just got tenure or are still pre-tenure and have specific questions.