Thursday, December 2, 2010

All I Want for Christmas Is a Personal Assistant

Even though I mocked celebrities in my last blog post for being rich enough to have personal assistants who have their own assistants, I must admit that I wouldn't mind having a personal assistant. I've been pretty stressed out since school started, because I often have to spend more time on my teaching responsibilities than I do on my graduate work.

One reason is that several of my students apparently believe that I never sleep and that I live in my office, which would explain why they e-mail me several times a week and get upset if I don't respond right away. It would also explain why some of them set up multiple appointments to discuss the same paper and then proceed to either not show up or show up twenty minutes late (and then they request more appointments). As a result, I have fallen behind on my dissertation, which makes me feel like I'm going to be in graduate school FOREVER.

So it would be nice to have a personal assistant. It would definitely help to have someone take care of the things that I never have enough time to do, like pick up my dry cleaning, vacuum my apartment, do my grocery shopping, and get rid of the spiders that invade my apartment every time I open my windows because it's like ninety degrees in here and the landlord claims my screens can't be fixed so that I'm screaming "EEEEEEK" at least seventy percent of the time.

Maybe if I had a personal assistant, I wouldn't have to spend so much of my free time "working", i.e., doing household chores and running errands. And then I wouldn't have so much trouble falling asleep at night, because my mind often keeps me awake even though my body is exhausted; I can't relax because I keep thinking of all the stuff that I still need to get done.

On the other hand, maybe it would be better to have a bodyguard instead of a personal assistant. He'd be really big and strong and have a tough-sounding name, like Thor. Then Thor could protect me from strangers on the train when I commute and when I go out at night. He could also make my morning commute a lot less irritating.

For example, during the morning rush hour, the trains are always packed with people who don't get off the train until after MY stop. Even though it is clear that the train is already too crowded, there are always people at the next stop who insist on shoving their way onto the train and yelling at the rest of us to move. Then I end up with my face pressed against someone's shoulder (and can I just say that there are too many people who don't shower on a regular basis?) or I end up elbowing people's faces (although I must admit that sometimes that's intentional if they refuse to let me sit down because it's more important for their bags to have their own seat).

If I had a bodyguard, he could stand by the doors with his arms crossed and then give the death stare to the people who think that a crowded train should be even MORE crowded; he'd glare at them and say, "I don't THINK so." And then they'd back away slowly and decide to walk to work from now on.

There are a few other things that I would like for Christmas. I hate talking on the phone and I hate texting even more, which is why I haven't updated my cell phone in several years. On the other hand, it would be nice to have a Blackberry or a Smartphone. Then, when my students start texting in class, I could send them video messages that say stuff like, "HEY! I'm WATCHING you! PAY ATTENTION!" Or maybe Thor could raise his giant hand and say "STOP!" And then they'd quickly put their phones away and never text again.

You know what else would be cool? A personal chef. Then I wouldn't have to shop in the frozen foods section anymore, and I wouldn't have to worry about setting my clothes on fire. I'd probably be able to eat healthier foods too, and as a result I'd lose weight and feel better. And maybe my personal chef could taste foods that he or she doesn't make for me, just to make sure that the food isn't poisonous or just plain icky. Besides, Thor needs to eat, too.

What about you? What's on your Christmas list?

One of my favorite bloggers, Talli Roland, has a new book out on Kindle, titled The Hating Game. Go to and check it out! (The paperback version comes out in March 2011.) Congratulations, Talli!

Side note: Even though I rarely go to movies, there is one movie that I'm definitely going to watch in 2011. Check out this trailer for Jane Eyre, which is also one of my favorite books. Doesn't it make you wish it was coming out right now?


  1. You need an assistant. Don't let the students do that to you. Tell them you will wait 10 minutes and then you're out of there and limit when you're willing to meet. They may be needy but you have needs too!

    When I was a teaching fellow at Harvard, they e-mailed me night and day. When I was at Stony Brook, it was rare that a student wanted to see me.

    What do I wish for? Lately, it's been to have some sort of mishap so I can no longer work. Sadly, I'm not even worried that it might be a bad injury, just so I can get out of working. I think I need Christmas break to hurry up and arrive already.

  2. My roommate and I once put up a Craigslist ad for an all purpose personal assistant. The duties were going to be along the lines of laundry and dishes and cleaning up for us and running errands. But obviously we don't have the money to actually hire someone, so we listed it as an internship, saying that in return we would teach them how to be as awesome as we are... it got flagged for being slavery or some nonsense, sadly.

  3. Hi Theresa,
    I do need to put my foot down more. I don't want students to write down that I'm never able to help them on the instructor evaluations. But on the other hand, I'm not willing or able to always be available. The ten-minute rule is a good idea, especially because in the past I've ended up waiting a half hour.

    Hi gem,
    That's so funny! Maybe it would work if I offered to pay the assistant candy. I have a feeling that anyone working for me would probably become just as, if not more, neurotic as I am, though. :)

  4. We have an award for you today at our blog! :0) erica and christy

  5. Hi Erica and Christy,
    Thank you so much for the award! That's so nice of you. That made me smile. :)

  6. Oh, thanks for the mention! :) Much appreciated!

    I would like a personal chef. Sigh! I hate the time it takes to cook, and lately our kitchen is so cold I can see my breath. I'm not winning any awards for my culinary creations recently, that's for sure.

  7. I think having a personal assistant would make your life a lot easier. Also, maybe you could have a disclaimer in your sig line on your emails saying that any student being more than 10 minutes [or whatever # of minutes] late will not be seen. Your time is valuable.

  8. Hi Talli,
    I hate the time it takes to cook too. It always makes me think that I could have gotten takeout a lot faster, and I wouldn't have to wash any dishes.

    Hi notesfromnadir,
    I do need to be more strict with students about not being late or not showing up for their appointments, because it always frustrates me when I waste time by waiting. I don't mind setting aside time to help them, but I do mind if they expect me to keep rearranging my schedule just to accomodate them.