It’s about time for getting acceptances to grad programs or phone calls about your new job. So this makes it time for a reminder that you shouldn’t wear your workaholic tendencies as a badge of honor.
For hamsters like me, toiling into the wee hours isn’t worth it because a corporate bigwig might sell your company and toss you out on the street on your butt (Exhibit A: The mySpace layoffs). As for academics (and hamsters, too), you’ll never please everyone, so don’t cause yourself grief trying to be perfect. Why?
If you work the most hours you look the most desperate. You shouldn’t look lazy, but don’t be the hardest worker. After all, why do you need to work so much harder than the next person? Are you not as smart? Not as organized? Not as confident in your ability to navigate a non-work world? In many cases all three are true for those who work the hardest.
Ow. These are not pretty words for overachievers like academics and former academics. Academics are workaholics because academia is a meritocracy, right? And those who work the hardest must get ahead. That’s the law … right?
Alas, it is not. Talk to anyone who’s been going to MLA year after year after year.
Listen, you’re going to have to pull overtime hours on occasion. But don’t make it a habit, unless you are one of the handful of individuals who love their work so much that they can’t let it go.
A hamster and a hamster wheel by Dimitar Popovski. Image from Wikimedia Commons, public domain.