There has been much blogospheric discussion, here and elsewhere, of (good) ways in which "career interruptions" can be mentioned in grant proposals, so that no one is penalized for a temporary decrease/halt in productivity owing to certain important life experiences (babies, illness, elder-care etc.).
My personal favorite way in which information about Personal Interruptions is requested is in the instructions for writing Australian Research Council grant proposals:
F14.1. Provide and explain:
(iv) Any career interruptions you have had for childbirth, carer’s responsibility, misadventure, or debilitating illness;
It's great that this is included in the proposal instructions, and I don't mean to make light of an important issue that has only recently been adopted by large federal funding agencies in certain countries, but I must admit that the request for an explanation of any "misadventure" is rather intriguing.
In fact, I don't think I can wait until December for my usual (northern hemisphere) winter break FSP contest on some (strange) text/document related to academic life. So here is the challenge:
Provide and explain any career interruptions that you have had for misadventure, real or (better) imaginary. Your explanation cannot exceed 475 characters (with spaces). For example:
I was unable to submit any articles for publication between 23 August 2007 and 13 November 2008 because I was kidnapped by pirates and, although I was not otherwise mistreated, I was not allowed access to the Internet. I did, however, scratch out some manuscript drafts on spare pieces of sailcloth using a gull feather and an ink mixture that I made from mussel shells soaked in beer, so as soon as I was released and had Internet access, I was able to resume publishing.
Immediately upon receiving tenure in 2005, I was beamed aboard a spaceship on a secret mission I cannot reveal here. At first I was unable to communicate with the life-forms piloting the craft, but over the years I learned their language, customs, and the songs they like to sing on long journeys. Eventually they returned me to my office, and I have subsequently resumed my academic career, no worse for wear but with an unfortunate gap in my CV.
Now it's your turn to describe your career-interrupting misadventures.
7 hours ago