chapter six-Brain

He had to get this paper out. Working at Elwood City University was stressful. His department was new, plus his parent department was slacking. They needed more grants to keep things going. More grants meant doing more works to prove you needed said grants. Alan felt like he was the only one willing to do this work.

Right now it was a paper covering their recent work on antibiotic-resistant bacteria. A pair of grad students found a new strand. It was in the bathrooms in the science wing, where a lot of students used hand sanitizer and strong soap after experiments. The bacteria seemed to be mutated, so they wrote a paper on it. Alan offered to oversee it. Now he had to put the pieces together, format everything correctly, and send it out by noon.

There was a knock on his door. Alan ignored it. Students could go away, faculty could email him. This was simple and most people understood.

Not this person. Alan tried to continue his work, but suddenly his door was open. The dean stood there putting away her keys. She'd used her set to let herself in.

"Alan, we need to talk. Do you mind stopping for a minute?" she asked, arms crossed. Alan had no choice. He stopped and turned to face her. "There's a department meeting next week about new policies. I want you to be the first to know because you'll be the most effected by the change."

"What have they done now?" Alan asked with a smirk.

The dean did not return his smile, "Mandatory leave time. Too many students are complaining that their teachers are coming in sick and whatnot, which makes no sense seeing all the "CLASS 1101 HAS BEEN CANCELLED" signs all over the place, but it has happened enough for the president to take action. Every professor must take the equivalent to one week per semester. That's three weeks a year if you do summer courses, which you do. Alan, you never leave."

"But I've never gone to class sick," Alan argued.

"That's not my point. You have to take time away from these things. I know you're working very hard to get your department off the ground, and you're helping out the entire School of Biology here. But you have to take a step back. You're too young to waste away like this. Besides, you won't be able to keep it up. I'm not telling you that you can't. Please don't interpret this that way. All I'm saying is that I've seen this sort of thing happen before, and it never works out well."

"So I have to decide when to take my week? I can't just take it at the end like I do every fall term?" Alan asked.

"No, and Thanksgiving doesn't count either," the dean said. She sighed, "I don't like it either. I just wanted to tell you so you could plan it out. If you don't take the time, they could write you up. After so many write-ups, they have to fire you."

Alan sighed heavily, "Fine, I'll look at my schedule. Now I have to finish this."

"Forward the final draft to me for a look," she reminded. Alan nodded.

The dean left and he could work again. He trucked through and finished around ten. He sent off the paper to the proper people, then to the dean. He then fired off an email to the students, who thanked him for the work.

Alan sat back, reveling in the high of getting his work done. His smile quickly faded. He pulled out his calendar and started his search. What week could he afford to trash?

His smile went up again. None of them. He'd take the time off. He might even fly off somewhere. But he'd still be working whether they liked it or not.