So this might well be a post about work. Yes, it is. This time last week I was very glad that I had got the whole “first day back at work after Christmas break” thing out of the way before a full week. All the little stresses with taking on a different role were starting to be ironed out and I felt much more confident about the week. I’ll let you in on a secret. The thing that was worrying me most about the new role was the calculations involved in the workload document. One thing it seems academics have lots of time for is spending hours coming up with complicated ways of calculating and distributing workload. One of the things I have to do as Head of Program is put together a workload document that does these calculations so that every permanent/fixed term staff member is meeting their required workload for the year (eg. full, fractional ) AND in doing so make sure that the delivery of the program’s courses is fully covered in both internal and distance modes according to the estimated quotas for students. This also needs to be done in such a way that we are not spending over our budget with casual staff BUT by the same token we employ the necessary casual staff so we don’t find ourselves with permanent staff almost double a full time load (as happened on occasion last year). So it’s a balancing, problem solving, mathematical act that requires a calculator. I had been putting off looking at it but on Wednesday I forced myself to open up all the various documents and start at the very beginning. Because as we all know the beginning is a very good place to start. What I found as I put some attention and time into this was that far from being the pain in the neck I had imagined it to be, I was actually enjoying thinking about the big picture/little picture problems that had to be sorted out. In fact, it was almost…how shall we say….rewarding! Now there’s a surprise. Of course there’s every chance that this time next week I might be throwing the workload document out the window. But for now….let’s be positive! Challenge accepted.