It's that time of year where, as a background process, I have to do my annual reviews for the NSF. It's generally not a very exciting task, and their online forms remain, I think, unpleasantly designed. (I think they fixed a problem I had last year, so at least now they point out to you what you haven't filled out more clearly.)
That being said, this year, even more than others, I find myself gratefully filling them out. The NSF provides the money for my (and my students') research. And research is fun. In my few years playing administrator, I was trying to keep up with my research, but inevitably my available time and corresponding output started to decline. This year, I've been able to "get back into it", and it made me realize how much I enjoy it. Sure it's often frustrating. And writing it down (and dealing with conferences, reviews, etc.) can also be frustrating. But overall the creation process of research, including all the frustrating parts, is the most enjoyable part of the job*, and I'm glad that the NSF is there to support it.
Thanks NSF. I'll try to have those reports in well before the nominal deadline....
[* Yes, I like teaching and interacting with students too -- otherwise I'd look for work in one of the many great research labs -- that's the other most enjoyable part of the job.]