Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Frustrated and struggling

So as you can tell, I took a bit of an unexpected break from the blog. I've really been struggling lately (more on that in a minute). I haven't had much time to blog at work (not even over lunch!), and the last thing I've felt like doing by the time I get home in the evening is turning on the computer. Plus, I'm totally hooked on the Tour de France, which is really eating into my evening computer time.

I really feel like I've been spinning my wheels lately. I'm getting a little work done, which is nice, but at the same time there are a ton of things that are frustrating me, work-wise. I haven't been very good about setting personal boundaries lately, and it's really hurt my own productivity. Sure, there's positive karma in helping out others, but the bottom line is being so "helpful" is not going to help my tenure case. I know this, yet I keep conveniently forgetting it....and then I just become frustrated and angry with myself for not putting myself and my own work needs first. I now know why most of my colleagues "hide" during the summer; if you're not around, then no one can bug you with the mundane questions and minor crises that arise day-to-day during the summer. Because I'm around, and I'm one of the only people around, I get tagged with this stuff. And I really need to remember how to say "no" again.

I think that's part of why I come home not wanting to play around on my computer, which is very unusual for me: I'm just so damn frustrated and exhausted by the end of the day. The good news though is that I'm spending more time on creative pursuits, sometimes while watching the Tour and sometimes when I've had enough of the Tour. Perhaps I'm hoping that being creative will refresh and rejuvenate me.

So, the goal for this week, besides making headway on my projects, is to set firmer boundaries, to remember that the summer is time for me, and that the world will not end if I don't say "yes", no matter how nicely I'm asked or how "urgent" the problem is.


C said...

I am a female computing academic too, and this post reminded me of the words of the head of my department just a few days ago. He said that likes having women in the department, because according to his and another head of department friend of his, women (referring to female computing academics) worked harder. Apparently he always finds himself looking just a little closer at job applications from women, wondering if they've had to work harder or get over more obstacles to reach that point.

I can well believe that the women do work harder. I wonder if we are more conscientious, or less lazy, or simply mugs. Do we need to be smarter at dodging extra work that might not fall so easily in the mens' direction? Do the men collectively need to up their average? Do women have something to learn from men in not doing extra?

Certainly locally I can see a lot of strategies that people use to dodge extra work.

1. People don't publicize office hours, which they should (oh lovely, they get rewarded for not doing their job properly with extra time to themselves).

2. People hide away at home.

3. People don't ignore emails, but slow down their rate of replying to a snail's pace.

4. They use in-office strategies, like removing the phone from its socket, turning off email and all email alerts, putting headphones on with music loud enough to obliterate any knock on the office door, locking the office door so no-one can come in unexpectedly, even putting noise mufflers on the door frames so someone outside can't tell whether someone is in or not.


By the way, have you seen this?

Jane said...

Thanks for your comments, C. I do have to say that my colleagues don't do any of the things in (4), and not (1) as much either, but (2) and (3) definitely, and especially late in the afternoon and during the summer--sticking us poor saps who have to be here at those times with all the "crises" that tend to happen exclusively at those times. As a junior person, I don't feel like I can complain---and when it's a much senior person who's dumping things on you, it's really hard to say no.

About the link: ugh, ugh, ugh! I'll have to put that on the front page. Thanks for the heads up.