Friday, March 4, 2011

work, work, work

I work really hard to find some balance in my life. I try to make my job 'just a job' so that I have time for other things which, frankly, seem much more important. My family, especially since Raf arrived, has been the center of my life. I try so hard to keep perspective, to wonder how I'll feel in the future if I missed out on parenting, and I weigh this up against how I imagine I'll evaluate my career down the line. It's difficult for me to envision that I'll regret not working more, yet, yet, yet...

Today I had one of those days of radical self-doubt. Sitting in a meeting with a lot of overachieving women (all academics) I found myself feeling despondent. Despondent by my lack of published books (I really should have at least 2 books out by now), my apathy toward college politics, and my sense that I may have committed academic suicide by remaining at my current institution. And then there are the doubts I have about myself as a Chair of a department, my inability to focus in on detail, my propensity for procrastination.

And then there are the many comments I receive from colleagues, who wonder, very loudly, how on earth I workout as much as I do when I am Chair and have a child. The implication is usually that I must not be working hard enough - at least that was the sense I got today. I'm a pretty sensitive sort of person, with very thin skin, and so of course I immediately felt as though I just really need to stop this triathlon business, to dedicate myself, instead, to research and publishing and chairing. Of course I tell myself that this would not be balance, that my life is not 'work', that I am 34, tenured, published, and so forth, and that I HAVE worked hard. But you know how it goes.

Then, today, I was 'friended' by an old college friend on Facebook. The first thing he asked was if I was still a cutting edge scholar. No. No, I'm not. Not even close. I have lots of projects and none of them are going anywhere fast. I was sick- VERY SICK - when pregnant, and with raf research has just taken a back seat. And that is how I responded. Inevitably this is a college friend who is doing amazingly. he's a judge. Our other friends include famous politicians, well known scholars and lawyers. And here i am, the one who graduated the top of her class, the person that people predicted would go far, and, yes, here I am.

I returned home from work early today as Raf has a bad shoulder, and I felt the stress of all of this coursing through my body. This will pass, I know, but I am definitely in a work funk.

1 comment:

  1. oh dear friend. i am in a work funk too. i so feel for you. i know how torn you feel about how you have to spend much of your time.

    (working out is what makes all that possible, those nimrods)

    today I returned a work phone call at 7pm, yes on a friday, because i couldn't bear that if i waited until tomorrow it'd have taken me 48 hours and i would be on the weekend. i hate the choices, i hate hate hate them, i hate that things can't honestly co-exist, that there is, frankly, one or the other or sanity. i feel like i have sacrificed myself and yet not well enough.

    what i'm trying to say is that it's a game none of us can win. i'm sorry you felt inferior. my guess is that many of those comments come from folks' own sense of inferiority.

    love you