The Glacial Pace of Academia

I just filled out the American Musicological Society’s enhanced profile, a very basic section of the AMS website that apparently took them more than three years (!) to develop.

Compare that to the mere six weeks that it took me to develop the AMS’s most popular website section: Doctoral Dissertations in Musicology.  Also compare it to the fact that I developed a prototype for a possible new website for Malcolm Gladwell in the last day and half!

Naturally, on the new AMS profile system, I filled in as much information as I could:  publications, articles, works in progress, and as many external links as possible — thus excluding “Departmental Web Page.”  Of course, I also had to leave the “Institutions” field blank.

For obvious reasons, I’m looking forward to Malcolm Gladwell’s new book — David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants (Oct. 1, 2013).


Career Archetype Test

On the Career Archetype Test, my top categories were Sage (81%) and Revolutionary (75%).


The Sage never stops learning and has a desire to understand everything.  This understanding doesn’t necessarily mean a desire to act on that truth, which can sometimes keep the Sage a dispassionate observer in his or her own life.  If Sage is dominant, you will feel most comfortable in a learning culture where people are valued as much for their knowledge and expertise as for the amount of work they generate.  Strengths: Discovering the deeper truths in situations means that the Sage is less likely to get caught up in an emotional reaction to short term problems.  You may have a capacity for critical analysis and tend to be a good strategic thinker.  Traps to avoid: The Sage can study issues forever and never act.  There is also a danger of getting caught up in a particular way of studying an issue, shutting out new or revolutionary ways of doing things. (from Sage)

By comparison, and in contradistinction to the end of the previous section,

Revolutionaries are unconventional risk takers with a tendency to do things differently just to be different.  Revolutionaries are rarely content with the status quo and will create new ways of doing things, even when the old ways are working just fine.  If you have a strong presence of the Revolutionary archetype you will feel comfortable in a work environment that encourages innovation and gives people the freedom to be themselves.  Strengths: Revolutionaries are innovators.  The innovation applies not just to products and process, but also culture and thought.  If you are a Revolutionary you are comfortable taking risks and usually don’t care what other people think about you.  Traps to avoid: The Revolutionary needs to avoid change for change’s sake.  Anarchy and chaos can overtake the reasonable order and discipline it takes to get everyday tasks accomplished. (from Revolutionary)

Those sound about right, but the only job types both in Sage and Revolutionary are Education and Science and Research, with IT-type things (computer software, hardware, and executive/consulting) also under the former category and Arts and Entertainment also under the latter.  My next three categories were Explorer (68%), Creator (68%), and Magician (62%), which certainly also explain my: (1) adventurous, but chaotic and unfocused, self-reliance, (2) inspiration, vision, and single-mindedness, and (3) over-complicating desire to redefine the issues in order to meet a new situation.

None of that is much help in my job search, though, I have to say!  Indeed, the fact that my highest “grades” on these scales are not actually very high underscores the issue that my diverse background (Ph.D. in musicology, academic research, university course instruction, professional choral singing, arts admin, IT studies and work, website and web content development, small business programs, etc.) has not actually coalesced into an employee profile that makes much sense in the “real world.”  I guess the results do motivate me, however, to think more about the idea of writing digital-only e-books on music-related subjects (for students and lifelong learners) and maintaining a related purchase, media-clip, and discussion-hub website.

Music and Labour – conference

Friday May 24th’s “Working Situations II” is going to be a weird session, with a pair of papers about improvisational live electronic music and remix aspects of electronic dance music and my completely unrelated and semi-autobiographical one about the academic, alternative-academic, and non-academic labour situations for Ph.D.s who specialize in popular music.

I find it interesting that the conference is, on balance, largely about economic uncertainty impacting the music industry.  So, I guess my paper on economic uncertainty also impacting music academia is at least semi-related to that.

Employment Counselling and Jobs vs. Career

My self-employment business advisor is still optimistic that (a collaborative community for music history & culture) can move forward and be successful in making me some income.  However, music scholars probably think that the way they do things (peer review, committees, etc.) actually works properly and that something also directed towards the public would not be sufficiently academic.  Meanwhile, the music-interested public would probably find the site too academic.  A “happy medium” may not be possible.  My self-employment coordinator (different from my advisor) got me an unrelated appointment with an Employment Ontario job developer.  However, that person has not really been of any use to me, probably because my background (in academia, music, and IT) doesn’t fit the types of jobs and employers she encounters.

I’m also now enrolled in an individualized job-search program.  The employment counsellor for that (actually a friend from my past!) and I concluded that I should do my academic work, music-making, and IT/website activities on the side (“evenings and weekends”).  For employment, I should use my local network outside of those areas to find some other type of work.  The areas of work I have in mind could be in administrative assistance (at a business, social service agency, church, or school), arts admin (at a museum, library, or performance organization), retail (such as technology, musical instrument, and/or other music-related sales), or publishing (editing, web content, etc.).  I have some people advising me in those employment directions, as well.

Meanwhile, I’m now lined up to do a book proposal for a “listener guide” about Rush’s music.  So, hopefully that project will move ahead.  The editors involved are both fans of Rush’s music, so that helps!  In addition, four out of six of my conference paper proposals have been accepted this spring, although I’ve had to bail from two of the four for lack of money.  The two I’m doing are about songs and mini-musicals in The Simpsons (in less than two weeks) and on the employment situation for popular music university courses (six weeks later).  I also still have possible conference papers coming up in July and October.

Khan Academy vs. OurMus.Net growth timelines

For Salman Khan (of Khan Academy) to expand his project from his cousin Nadia (2004) to:

  1. dozens of users (2005)
  2. hundreds of users (2006)
  3. thousands of users (2007)
  4. tens of thousands of users (2008)
  5. hundreds of thousands of users, quitting his job as a hedge-fund manager, getting $110,000 (from the interested spouse of a venture capitalist), an actual office, and a handful of employees (i.e., other than himself) (2009)
  6. millions of users and getting multiple millions of dollars (from the Gates Foundation, Google, etc.) (2010)

took:  1. one, 2. two, 3. three, 4. four, 5. five, 6. six years.

By comparison, from my initial handful of business training sessions in September 2012 to the point of making my vaguely similar OurMus.Net a reasonable success (i.e., also on my own), I have:  six MONTHS!

Self-hosted WordPress vs. hosted

I had some trouble getting self-hosted WordPress working as an add-on to my server account, but it’s now working properly.  I briefly thought about using a hosted account, but it would have cost a bit of money to have my URL over there, would have temporarily messed up my email, would have had some ads showing up, wouldn’t have allowed me to add any plugins, and wouldn’t have allowed me to alter any underlying code.

I’ve already done both of the latter two things, to extend what my site will be able to do, such as add a media-player and podcasting capabilities, automatically share my postings on Facebook/etc. and also let other people share specific things, add categories to media so I can add them directly to custom menus, and alter the media-type filter code to account for PDF, Word, Excel, etc., so it doesn’t only know about images, audio, and video.

So far so good!

Hi There!

I’m on my way. I’m making it.

This will probably take me at least a couple of days, but I’m transitioning my website and blog over to a combined “thing” done with WordPress.  It’s pretty tough to get multi-site modern CMS websites using competing technology working on the same server account, but I think I finally have separate Omeka (OurMus.Net) and WordPress (this one) sites playing nice.

I’ve selected this F2 theme and imported my earlier blog postings (from Google’s Blogger).  Now, I just have to move all of my old website’s content here, and that’s a lot of stuff and will take a while to organize in this new space!  I probably should have done this in 2009-10, but, unfortunately, at the time I had to get used to XHTML and CSS.