"In many disciplines, for the majority of graduates, the Ph.D. indicates the logical conclusion of an academic career." Marc Bousquet

Monday, January 17, 2011

Won’t Miss the Homework

One of the things I’m most looking forward to at my new job is not ever having to take work home with me. Nope. I will be in the office M-F 10-6, and I will be taking nothing home.

I was reminded of just how much I hate the homework aspect of university life when I finally got around, today, to finishing the peer-review of a book manuscript I was invited to do back in November. Now, having been invited to do this in the first place was a bit strange, since I have not yet written a book and my dissertation is a ways away from a book, should I even choose to revise it. But that’s another story. I agreed to do the review because the topic of the manuscript was interesting and very relevant to my own work, because I was curious about the process, and because I figured if Fancy Press was interested in this book, hey, they might consider mine, should that time ever come.

Well, let me just say, yes, I enjoyed reading the manuscript and thinking through what was essentially my argument for its publication, with a few questions and concerns along the way. However, after procrastinating until fall semester ended, then procrastinating because I was somewhat desperate to find a new job before spring semester started, then procrastinating because I found a job and was excited enough about that to start a blog – well, I will tell you, I have loathed having this task hanging over my head. This past week, doing this review is all I’ve thought about while doing things like cooking, going to yoga class, taking my significant other, Peaches, to the mall (because he doesn’t shop by himself) for some new shoes. My brain would repeat in fits and starts of anxiety, “Do the review! Go home and do the review! Stop wasting your time. The editor will think you’re an idiot. Just do it and get it out of the way. What a loser you are that you can’t even do a stupid book review! No wonder you’re becoming a secretary. Go write the review, because it’s the first and last you’ll ever do.”

That pressure to always be doing something work-related drove me crazy, and finishing this review today, as interesting an experience as it was, reaffirmed my choice. No, I will not miss that pressure! And I will get to read what I choose in my spare time – or not read at all, if I choose. And I will write what I please -- or not write at all.

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