.Work And Life
Do you know, if I were to talk about work, most of the time I have to mention how taxing and aggravating my job is. Yet, that is REALLY far from the truth. I really feel enriched and enjoy the REAL aspects of my job. I love teaching, I feel fulfilled when I am able to get in front of a classroom and help them to see the beauty of the topics I get to teach them. I love research. I love the hunt for discovery, the planning and execution of creative new experiments. And, I do love service. The vast majority of committees I am on are rewarding and give me a broader perspective of the University, or of my community, or my nation.
Yet, why do I feel so UNHAPPY about work so many days? It is because of the following situations:
1. Interruptions galore - from the members of the Department, from students not during my office hours, and from the phone. I try to combat these by "hiding" in a back office where I can quietly work away, but it is often not very easy to get to work there. My "good" computer is in my main office, as are most of my books and papers that I need.
2. Meetings that are crap - the primary culprit in this arena are the Departmental meetings. I try to combat this by having other meetings I need to go to occur in a way that they overlap a bit with part of the Department meetings to allow me to leave early and by bringing other things for me to work on to be able to ignore the insanity of these meetings. Yet, neither of those things seems enough.
3. Other people's deadlines - that then get foisted onto me as a deadline as well. This occurs with letters of recommendation I need to write for students and others, for meetings with students to fit *their* schedule, and pressures from middle management administrators who set up times and deadlines to make themselves feel important. I am quite at a loss on how to combat these issues at the moment and have had little success avoiding them.
4. Messes - my own messes (in the lab, in the office, in my briefcases, bookbags, backpacks, in my truck, in my yard, in my home, in my den) and the messes of others (in my lab, in the teaching labs, in the lecture halls). It seems that a HUGE share of my time is spent cleaning and organizing papers, items, details, etc into some sort of MANAGEABLE order. Please do not think I am being a Felix Unger
(on the right side) who is obsessed about cleaning... for I am actually more akin to Oscar Madison
(on the left side) from the 1970s television show "The Odd Couple
" which was based upon the Neil Simon play and film by the same name. I am merely trying to get the cyclone messes into some sort of minimal order to allow function. I do not know any way to combat this issue.
5. Lack of Time - There are SO MANY things I WANT to do, but over the last several years, TIME seems to have accelerated and I seem to accomplish less per unit of time. It was only a few years ago when I felt I had time to relax every day, was able to get all the things I wanted to finished, and spend time with my family. Now it seems like I get up at the crack of dawn and rush from deadline to deadline, trying to fit everything in, and often do not really sit down to relax until around 9pm or later every day. I have no clue on how to combat this problem.
So, as you can see, I am a bit mixed up and confused on how to improve my life in the above mentioned. Any helpful advice would be appreciated.