We're a little crazy, about science!

The headache of scheduling conflicts

It had to happen, we’ve hit a scheduling conflict. Or at least, I think we have. The problem is we don’t know for sure yet and that is definitely a problem because I need to give somewhat advanced notice or there will be issues for other things. So what do I do when things clash?

To be fair with the schedule the next few weeks, this was bound to happen and I’m surprised I’ve gotten away without too much headache so far frankly. The problem is this, I have a job and I go to school. More often than not both are flexible enough to not cause problems with each other despite the demanding schedule from both of the things.

Now I’m not holding my breath until I have the data in hand (so to speak) and I know things are okay, but… Big idea is about to happen. Well the first experiment for big idea anyway. The problem is, that particular case is a very fluid schedule. Meaning we may not have any idea when it will happen until, hopefully, roughly 24 hours prior notice. If we’re lucky that is, if we’re not it could be hours notice. I don’t know how the schedule works for this group we’re collaborating with, but it’s tricky.

We finally have a day pinned down… maybe, mostly, probably, more than likely. See the problem?

So we know the date, but not the time (again maybe know the day, that could change for whatever reason). This is a problem because that day I already had commitments with school-PI to teach the ICA course I’ve taught for a few years now. This wouldn’t be a big problem if I had plenty of advanced notice to email everyone and let them know it changed, but since I do not, I cannot. Until I know if they will even conflict (they may not), I don’t want to cancel it if I can help it. Mostly because rescheduling for the following week(s) will be even more tricky because our lab is basically all going on vacation at the same time. Vacation, what the hell is that?

So it will be me and one other person to handle everything. There are others in the lab, but we’re by far the senior people and the ones who know what we’re doing so we’re needed. Like a lot. Meaning I do not want to risk rescheduling during the weeks everyone will be out because I REALLY don’t want to have to cancel and try to reschedule multiple times.

Now school-PI will totally understand, once, maybe twice, but if I kept running into issues that could be a problem. I’m obviously thinking too far ahead for the moment, but to keep it simple, I don’t want to reschedule if I can help it because my schedule becomes more complex next week.

How do we deal with this? Basically we plan as best as we can. I could, in theory anyway, pre-record my course and run through everything that way. It would be the easiest and fastest way to solve the problem, but I would prefer to do it virtually and live like I’ve been doing. For several reasons, but mostly I like the practice of lecturing live (well live virtually). These days I don’t get a lot of chances to practice public speaking so I take them as I can get them. There’s always room for improvement and in my case, there’s still a lot of room for improvement.

That’s basically the dilemma for the moment. I’m hoping we’ll get word soon, but who knows. The original screening happened early in the day and since my course is later in the afternoon it has a good chance to not conflict, but we’ll have to wait and see. This will be tricky, but I’m hopeful things will work out. Absolute worst case, I can attempt to push the class even further later in the day to compensate for everything and that shouldn’t cause too much of a disruption.

As with most things, only time will tell. For now it’s a hurry up and wait situation, but it’s good to plan out solutions to the problem now so when we know for sure I don’t have to waste time thinking. I can just make the best choice right away instead of losing time I don’t have.

Ah the joys of work and school. It’s basically what I expected, so I don’t recommend it if you can help it.


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