Post Academic

Waiting for the weekend…and waiting…and waiting…

Posted in Absurdities,First Person by Arnold Pan on March 5, 2010
Tags: , ,

To commemorate our first week of existence (thanks to you, readers!), I was thinking about the weekend and whether/what to blog over the next few days.  And how, until recently, I was never fully able to appreciate the weekend without thinking about either grading or prepping for teaching or catching up on writing and research that I couldn’t do while grading and prepping for teaching.  (Except during football season, especially when the Steelers are on TV.)

One of blessings and curses of being an academic is the flexible clock.  On the plus side, you don’t work a strict, at-your-desk, 9-to-5, 40-hour work week — if anyone actually does, any more — and can maximize/minimize your actual days on campus to less than 5.  Of course, you (mostly) get summers off, spring break, winter vacation, a number of three-day weekends.  On the minus side, you feel compelled to take your work home with you and are consumed by it at very odd hours, whether very early or very late or both depending on your schedule and caffeine intake.  Then the things (you think) you want to work on, namely your own research, either takes up your free time or nags at you during your free time so that you don’t fully enjoy your weekend and breaks.

Maybe others are better at compartmentalizing and prioritizing, but I basically had a problem not feeling like I had some kind of (non- or poorly compensated) work, whether drudgery or more meaningful projects, hanging over me going as far back as college. OK, that totally sounds nerdy and it’s not like I don’t live a life that’s more fun than not.  But between obsessing over my undergrad thesis, grad school seminar papers, my dissertation, and theoretical (in both senses of the word) publications, there was always something to fill the time for about 15 of the last 18 years.

So assuming that you don’t have anything better to do over the weekend than to read Post Academic and maybe even comment on it, what are you doing this weekend?  Am I right about slipperiness of academic time, or am I just really bad at time management?  If you are really good at time management, how do you do it?  And, non-academics, do academics romanticize the idea that you can leave your work at the office and have a real weekend?

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