- my colleagues in the field. Every year at our major professional conference, Best Professional Friend and I have a conversation that either starts or ends, "People in our field are just so nice!" Yes, I am sure there are jerks in our field. But the generosity of people in my subfield in English, their willingness to take graduate students and younger scholars seriously, and their willingness to laugh and write and be smart and be ethical is a good thing.
- Best Professional Friend. This isn't something specific to academia--people in every field have friends, after all--but I love that working on a long-term scholarly project opened up a friendship as well as a professional collaboration. And I love the way I can trace connections through the field through the friendships and connections I've made.
- variety. Every semester is different, every class is different. When things aren't working so well, it's not long to wait until there's a new start--a new unit, a new academic year, a new course. I love that no day at work is just like the one before, and there's always a second chance.
- flexibility. As Shannon notes in her post for today, professors don't "have the summer off" (much as we would like to). But we do have flexibility in our scheduling, both in terms of when we take time off and when we structure our obligations during the semester. As a tenured professor I have more flexibility than part-time faculty would, of course, and as someone at a research-valuiing institution I teach less and thus have more scheduling flexibility--but still, I can choose whether and when to teach at night.
- words. I love words, and I love that words are how my work is structured. I love learning about words, and I love being around other people who also love words.
- students. I love watching people learn, and it's usually an honor to be involved in helping people learn.
- curiosity. I love a job where so many people are asking good questions all the time.
Happy HPWD to readers academic and nonacademic alike. May every day be happy woman professor day for my women professor readers!