July 5, 2008

Plodding as a survival strategy

There's something about work-related socialization: after being sick earlier this week and the holiday, something in my brain told me I had to spend at least half a day working. I am sure that within 20 or 30 years, a neuropsychologist will be able to tell me why I have this impulse. (And I am equally sure that a psychodynamics-oriented therapist will be able to speculate today on that, entirely absent evidence.) But it's less the impulse than what I do with that impulse that interests me. Today, it was poking away at small things. Clearing away a small packet of tasks; nothing big happened, but I have fewer Things hanging over me at the end of the day. And given my energy level during the week, I'm quite happy with that result.

I am not going to claim that I am the Tortoise in some metaphor for career paths; I can churn projects out when necessary and when the conditions are ripe. But I've been successful thus far combining an occasional frenzy with the long-term poking away at projects. The instinct to get out of bed and do something works.

In other words, I probably could plot my career better than I do now, but I plod along fairly well.

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Posted in The academic life on July 5, 2008 4:07 PM |