6 CHAPTER 1. THE MEANING OF LIFE the book develops. Certainly attending seminars, going to teas, attending social events, and cultivating mathematical conversations are obvious ways to start. Some departments or organizations will actually assign you a senior mentor the day that you walk in the door. In my own department we found that this didn’t work very well because it was a bit artificial. Most times you will have to identify and develop a relationship with such a person yourself. 1.2 Getting to Know You I have already said that you must get to know people. If you land at your new job and just hide in your office, then your future will not be bright. You may be chuckling in your beard, but in fact it’s all too easy in an academic job to just teach your calculus classes and then go home. That is a sure recipe for failure. You really want to become a fixture around the department. You want the staff to like you and to think of you as someone that they can depend on. You want the senior faculty to look forward to seeing you each day, to look forward to hearing about your (mathematical) results. When a senior faculty member goes to another school to give a colloquium, or goes to a conference, he/she should be saying to his/her friends, “We’ve got this terrific new young guy/gal in our department. He/she is a real plus to our program, and a gifted young mathematician. We were lucky to hire him/her.” If you are at an institution where teaching is the major emphasis, then perhaps you will establish your bona fides in the department in a slightly different fashion. Become a knockout calculus teacher. Come up with inno- vative ways to get your students involved in the subject matter. Hold special problem sessions. Create special software for your course. The main point is to find a way to make your presence known. You want everyone to know who you are and what you have to contribute. I don’t mean to downplay your potential relationship with other junior faculty or junior staff. These are really your comrades-in-arms, and you want to get to know them too. Certainly don’t think of yourselves as competitors for some mutually exclusive holy grail. It’s not as though if Bob gets tenure then the slot is gone so you will be denied tenure. Usually tenure is a zero-one game that you play against yourself. That is, if you make the grade, you get tenure, and if you don’t make the grade, you don’t. It happens only very occasionally (contrary to what you may see in a Hollywood movie) that a
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