I am waiting to hear back on my dissertation, and that makes sense as I do need people to sign off on it, but also, I’m kinda sitting around avoiding doing anything right now. I’ve got my abstract to write, I’ve got my job letter to update, I’ve got two articles to revamp and send out again for consideration. There’s a commonality to all of these ---- I am not working on them because I am waiting for feedback on them. But I don't really need to get feedback on them; I could do them on my own right now. I think that secretly I want someone to tell me what to do with them, give me orders, do the work of thinking through them for me. I think it’s partly that I’m a little afraid and partly passivity --- I’m not really taking responsibility here for the “ownness” of my own work.
And that seems silly ---- the kind of thinking I need to put behind me now that I really am all but dissertated. Really, how can I justify my claim to an 8-cornered floppy tam if I’m going to sit around and wait for someone to do the work, or at least all the planning of work, for me? That won’t get me far as a
So I am avoiding on all of these because they are hard work right now --- who the hell wants to summarize an entire dissertation in 350 words? ---- and they are at hard stages of thinking and re-thinking. I just don’t feel like doing something tough. (I rarely do.) I want someone to do all the hard thinking for me and then I will color in the lines quietly. Hence my attempts to clean and return library books instead of abstracting or revising. I think, it’s partly that I sorta know what to do and how to do it, but not really --- or maybe I know but am not really confident and secure with this stage of tasks and I want someone to show me the way or do a practice one for me or something. Or to look at something and give me a detailed list of exactly what to do and how to do it, all the big amorphous tasks broken down into doable activities. Then I could trundle off and happily complete the tasks one by one, complaining and railing all the while against this person’s rigid, controlling, micromanaging nature. (On another note, I recently had a discussion about the teenage habit of boundary-testing and wanting it both ways --- both limits and the freedom to push against and test those limits ---- and I came to the conclusion that I have never grown up past that teenage status. Sounds stupid? Oh yeah? Bite me. You’re not my real dad!!!)
Anyway, I need to figure out how to make myself do these things, or make them not scary, or find something that I can use as a work-around. Reading? Scribbling out a blorp of ideas about a primary text? Writing a conference abstract? I can do all those. I know how. I have no worries or fears. I just have to throw myself into it early enough that I’m not tired and late enough that all the coffee has kicked in, and I can go just fine. But I think this next step ---- the publishing, revising, dealing with feedback on articles, preparing job materials that will also be judged and given outside feedback ---- all these I still don’t feel really confident in and need to work on, um, not caring, or being fearless, or being able to throw myself into the job, or something.
So, obviously that’s my next self improvement project --- my next stage of professional development, if you will. I’d invite you all to leave helpful suggestions for improvement in the comments, but eh, I’m not really good at dealing with those, you know?