SPOILER ALERT! The answer is: yes.
You'll notice that blogging has been light this semester. Part of it is the post-book identity struggle. Part of it is my aim to observe, rather than complain for the sake of venting. But part of it is that I'm swamped. And I've been wondering why. Why don't things get easier after tenure? Why, in fact, do they seem to get harder?
Part of it is that they actually are harder, at least from my vantage point. Budget cuts, starting a new research project, a bit more committee work (okay, so I'm mostly still hiding under my desk when it comes to that bit), a new prep, three independent studies with grad students... Yep. Lots of work.
But here's the thing that I've been talking about with a few other local proffies around my vintage here at Grit City U.: Once you get tenure, and the pressure to publish that first book is off, you turn to your courses and start... tinkering. You start, gods help you, trying to improve them. A new assignment? New readings? Or, if you're like me, you go all individual conference-intensive, trying to get better results. For the record, all this tinkering has produced better results, for the most part. And the former SLAC-er in me finds this a vindication of what I've always believed: individual attention is the way to go.
Some days, I think of the struggles my students are facing, and I think, "Okay, this might actually be a hill worth dying on." Other days, I feel like I'm being devoured by a monster of my own making. And in the tug-of-war between wanting to be the best at what I do, and sanity, I'm honestly not sure what's going to win.