“Look, I’d just like the week to go visit my family is all, some of the other students can keep an eye on the research while–”
“It’s simply out of the question,” Professor Leroy Herron said, looking over the top of his glasses at the grad student in his office, asking him for a winter vacation. “And frankly, the fact that you would even think of broaching this with me, makes me wonder if this sort of…career is a good match for you at all.”
The student stammered a moment, and then ducked back out of the office, realizing that he might have just put his entire PhD at risk. Professor Herron was not someone, after all, who was known for kindness and mercy. He was the preeminent scholar in his field, of course (though in reality almost all of his research had been done by overworked and burnt out grad students, which Herron could slap his name on, jetting to conferences all over the world while his grad students and post docs took care of his classes. Everyone knew it was unfair, and yet, a recommendation from him, or better yet, a phone call, was one of the only ways to get a tenure track position anymore, assuming one even opened up. Still, Leroy couldn’t care less. He had to do the same work when he was a grad student–this was just how the system worked. For him, it was working well, so why would he want to change it?
It any case, it was time for him to head home for the day. He was stuck dealing with some administrative busy work through the winter holiday, but after a couple more days, he’d be finished, and he could just relax at home with his wife and kids, while his students kept an eye on the projects in the lab. He stood up and stretched, scratched his beard and small gut he’d picked up from his mostly sedentary lifestyle these days, grabbed his coat off the back of his chair, and noticed something by the door to his office that he was certain hadn’t been there moments before. A small envelope, golden in color, just lying there on the ground. Wondering if, perhaps, his student had dropped it while he was leaving, he went over, picked it up, and say that it was actually addressed to him:
Congratulations! You have been nominated by someone you know for our exclusive resolution program, and we have selected you from many excellent candidates as someone who could benefit from our unique service. Enclosed, you will find your tailored list of New Year’s resolutions for the year 2019.
Now, we know what you are thinking, that you don’t need someone else, especially some strange organization, to make resolutions for you! That’s where you are wrong. You see, people who are nominated for our program are those in the most dire need of change, but who often are incapable of changing themselves, often through supreme self-delusion. You’ll be glad to know, then, that the included resolutions are compulsory, and non-negotiable. Come 2020. You’ll be amazed at what a little change can do for you!
Included with your 2019 resolutions, of course, is a mandatory invitation to our 2020 New Year’s Eve party. We know that it’s a year away (and goodness, do you have an exciting year ahead of you!) but we just want to make sure you mark your calendars now. Not that you have much of a choice in any case!
Enjoy the new year, and enjoy the new you!
New You Enterprises
Leroy had no idea what to make of this letter–it sounded ridiculous. Most likely it was some stupid ploy by his grad students, something to make him ease up on them, or what have you. He’d even heard talk of a possible graduate student union being formed on campus, but as soon as he found the instigators of that, he’d have them thrown out of their programs in days. Expecting to just have a laugh, he looked at the included list, but his expression first went to confusion, and then to horror, at the various tasks put to him by the industry for the next year.
As before, you can vote for up to four resolutions below. Patrons have their bonus poll over here as well. I will usually use three to five of the most popular selections in the next chunk of the story.