May you live in interesting times.
Word on the street is this is an old Chinese curse. There are times I can believe that.
It be interesting times here at Big State U and beyond. My institution is going through some major changes at the administrative, college and department levels. Year after recent year we've had major cuts in state funding. Add to that other significant changes on campus and we're having some major upheavals. Finances at all levels are getting tighter, leading to re-evaluations of, well, everything. Including the job security supposedly provided by tenure...
This of course trickles* down to the faculty level as more pressure to justify their existence. The major pressure for those of us in the medical sciences is to bring in more extramural funding. Not a good time for that really. Funding success rates at the NIH, NSF etc. are currently very, very low. It's hard enough for faculty to maintain funding let alone increase it.
This has elicited a variety of responses from my colleagues. Including dark mutterings about "This is not what I was hired to do and if I had funding I would move somewhere else"** and exclamations of "ZOMG WE'RE ALL GOING TO BE FIRED!!!!!!" yelled while running around like a headless chicken. Most are more pragmatic about it all and are exploring ways to put submit more proposals, generate more collaborations etc.
Curiously I find myself mostly excited. Not by the budget cuts, low funding rates etc. of course. But by what's happening in my lab and professional life right now, and what could happen in the future. The science is rocking. My research program is moving along at a good clip and is currently splitting into at least two potentially fruitful directions. I have great lab personnel who seem to really be enjoying what they're doing. I have some very productive established collaborations going and a new one beginning to blossom (and one that sucks arse, but let's not go there right now). My science excites me more now than it has ever before.
And I have the opportunity to have some influence on where things within the department, and perhaps outside, will go.
Interesting times indeed. They're what you make of them.
* "Trickle" isn't really quite the right description. It's more like a sledgehammer slamming down on us. Repeatedly.
** What exactly is it you think you were hired to do? And do you seriously think the situation is that different elsewhere?