In Labor Economics, there is a concept known as a “cobweb” model of a labor market. In this model, the supply of labor in a market responds to currently high (or low) wages in that market, shifting supply until a new equilibrium level is reached and tracing out what looks like a “cobweb” formed by the various equilibrium points. I found myself thinking of this recently as I reflected on my experience in the labor market in 1990, an experience that led to multiple job offers, something that I would never expect today. Before I left for that first job, I threw a party, complete with a cake quoting Winnie the Pooh, “Can't We Go Back To Page One And Do It All Over Again ...” I was reminded of this because toady’s blog column is my last on this site.
Although I don’t really want to go back and re-do these past nine years, I do want to take a few minutes to thank the many people who have made this amazing experience possible. The first people I should thank are Elrena Evans and Caroline Grant, editors of the book Mama, Ph.D. who accepted a chapter from me, even though I was a math professor with no creative writing to my name (although I sometimes call my dissertation my “first work of fiction.”) Not only did they publish my chapter in their book, they later approached me about writing for this space, an experience that has been life-changing and led me to think of myself as kind of a “writer.” Perhaps this new identity will follow me into retirement, someday.
Another person I need to thank is Scott Jaschik, my editor on this space for these many years. His was not an easy job, as I never did learn how to enter my columns myself into Inside Higher Ed. Rather, I continued to send him my columns for him to post, sometimes deciding on Thursday evening that I wanted to make changes, which he graciously did. He was encouraging the first time I received a flood of nasty comments in response to a posting, and explained that negative comments were part of the job. I will remember what he had to say in my new role as a blogger on my very own site.
Speaking of comments, I want to thank my readers for their comments over the years. I decided early on that I would not respond to individual comments, as I wanted to treat my columns as I do my regular publications, where I don’t get to immediately reply to criticism from readers. However, please know that I read them all and that I am always thrilled to see that someone is out there reading what I had posted. I will greatly miss writing for you, and will probably find myself at a loss without this role that I have held for so long. Indeed, this past weekend, while visiting an amusement park with my family, I found myself thinking that something that happened there would serve as a good topic for a new column. Alas, this is the last column, so I will not get to use those thoughts. However, I think I may continue to keep an electronic diary of similar columns, chronicling my daughter’s life. Perhaps it could be combined with the archived “Math Geek Mom” columns and be printed out for her at some important juncture in her life.
And as for my future? I plan to write my own blog, focused on ideas from Economics, which I am calling “Marginal Musings." As the blog in this space often began with a concept from Economics or Math, I will do the same there, focusing on Economics. However, it will not be about my daughter, and will not appear every week. My goal is to post on the first of each month. If you were to visit that site now, you would find a note that says “Stop by on September 1st” I hope that some of you will visit me there.
Best of luck to everyone with their careers in academia, and especially to all the parents out there who are attempting to merge their roles as professors and parents. This has been an amazing time that I have shared with all of you!