In my pantry at home and on my cube wall at the office hang large dry-erase calendars displaying the entire year all at once. In spite of all of the electronic and online calendar options available for personal and group calendaring, be that group the SETAC-NA Board of Directors, the several hundred people I work with daily, or the just the five at home for whom I need to orchestrate dinner, dentist, and doctor, I have kept a "Year at a Glance" wall calendar for nearly two decades.
A physical calendar carries weight. When you write on it it feels like you mean it. It's contents are commitments. It takes more than a swipe and a few clicks to change it.
And, at the start of each new year it is blank. A clean slate. A pristine canvas.
I know it sounds foolishly romantic, but I find myself very excited each year when I unfurl and pin the fresh calendar to the wall and start adding the new year’s activities and adventures. There are some entries that go on every year: birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and such. But then there is the new stuff: travels, outings, lunches, dinners, meetings, conferences, celebrations… The regulars provide continuity and track time but the newcomers are anticipation-in-purple-Sharpie.
So what’s new on my calendar for 2015? A smattering of SETAC-NA Board of Directors’ and SETAC World Council meetings and conference calls where we act on the ideas and commitments from our Annual Meetings. Barcelona is on there for SETAC-EU. So, too, are Buenos Aires for SETAC-LA and Salt Lake for SETAC-NA. At these meetings we will take stock of our year’s accomplishments, make adjustments, and advance the plans for the future.
One change already agreed to and being put into place is designed to help SETAC retain a critical but vulnerable membership group: our members in the first years of their student to professional transition. Nearly all of us have been through that phase where you were looking for a job and had few resources, or having a job but being at the bottom of the pile for employer support for membership and travel and having few resources. (I well remember my own days of peanut butter and jelly biscuits ‘cause that was what was in the fridge and pantry and payday was still a few days off.)
So, among other things we are still working on, we will be implementing tiered-membership-dues for our members in the first three years of their student to professional transition. For those of you wondering how you are going to afford to stay connected to the very network of professionals that will help you find that first job and likely many more to come, the professionals that will help you refine your research plans and papers and think through your career, the professionals that have been and will be friends for a long time - keep an eye out for the new tiered-membership-dues.
I, for one, want you to stay. You are full of energy and new perspectives that keeps it fresh for the rest of us!