Some notes on me right now:
I am in my office, looking at my to-do list. Things I’ve done today: went to a meeting, went to a lecture, taught for 3 hours, got my bike repaired, met with my undergraduate student, and submitted a tech support request when he and I couldn’t get something to work. Yet somehow I haven’t done anything today. I have an arbitrary deadline tomorrow and I’m not even sure what would constitute meeting it. This is the nature of my work. There is always something to do and nothing ever gets done. Even worse, things that were working last month will never work again when you need them.
I just went on a little internet detour to look up the meaning of the Coleman-Liau index that is being displayed underneath this textbox. It is currently at 6.5. I still haven’t crossed anything off my to-do list.
I really wonder how other career paths will compare to this one. Flexibility is one of the great advantages of being a graduate student, but also a big opportunity for failure. I love that I can budget my time as I please, but sometimes the lack of structure, like this deadline that is so ill defined it will never be met, creates this feeling that no progress ever gets made.
If I publish another article in the spring, as is the plan, that will be great, and will make it that much more likely that I will actually finish this program. Meanwhile I fantasize about other careers, without actually knowing what careers I might enjoy. A friend mentioned that this is one of the big red flags that indicates you might not be suited for the job you have. It doesn’t say what you’d actually should be doing in its stead, but it does say you shouldn’t be doing this.