‘Tis the season…

By Fabiana Kubke 19/12/2010

…to file my Annual Performance Review.

Nothing makes me shiver as much as the Dean’s email reminding us that it is time to file our Annual Performance Reviews (APRs). This year shivering does not begin to express the feeling I got upon receiving that email.

What have I achieved this year? ‘Nothing’ was the first thing that came to mind. This was followed by a profound state of panic!

But wait, there is more….

This has been probably the most difficult year of my entire life. Those who know me will also know that I have had really difficult years. So this is not a light statement. It has been filled by personal and professional crises, nights with no sleep, anxiety, and the health issues that come with all that. So back to my APR – Nothing. (This does not help my sleep issues)

Or so I thought until I realised I was looking for ‘measures of performance’ in the wrong places. So yes, the papers are still being written and haven’t been submitted, I haven’t attended any ‘scientific meeting’, I haven’t received any new grants. I could go on.

But crises did not just ‘happen’. Mine came about because this has been a year in which my way of thinking and doing things has been challenged to its roots. Deep, deep roots. So perhaps, I have a lack of sense of achievement because I am looking in the wrong places.

Sure. I didn’t go to any ‘scientific meetings’. But this is where I did go to: Science Online 201o, the Linux Conference, KiwiFoo, SciFoo, the Data Matters workshop, the eResearch conference. I also became an Academic Editor for PLoS ONE and became more engaged with the discussions about science on social networks like Twitter and FriendFeed. And I have to say, I learned more about ‘Science’ this year that in my entire career. And I was reminded not just of why I got into science in the first place, but also what kind of scientist I wanted to become.

I also attended couple of workshops and conferences on innovative teaching, I completed my first year in a degree in education, became involved with WikiEducator, and was reminded not only why I got into teaching in the first place, but also what kind of teacher I wanted to become.

I also became engaged with a variety of issues. From Public ACTA, and OpenLabour, to olpc and Creative Commons. And I was reminded of the kind of citizen I thought I was to become.

I guess with great moral crises also comes great change. So I am actually looking forward to next year, when I hope that all the struggle of 2010 will pay off in the form of positive change and positive action.

To all of you out there that gave me the chance to talk to you, who offered your ideas and listened to my ramblings, who helped me organize my thoughts, formulate my goals and provided me with guidance and support, my most sincere Thank You.

As for my APR, it will be hard to fill. Can I just say:

‘This year I learned’?