Post Academic

Work Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

Posted in Transfer Your Skills by Caroline Roberts on September 6, 2010
Tags: , ,

post academicI rarely blog about my current work life because blogging about one’s current work life usually gets little hamsters in big trouble. But a coworker did me a huge favor the other day that’s worth blogging about. He told me that I apologize too much. (For the record: I had stumbled into a conversation among colleagues about where to go drink after work, and I mistook it as interrupting a work conversation with another work question.) He’s right. It’s a bad habit that I cultivated as a childhood/teenage survival instinct.

Apologizing too much is often an issue for women, like we have to apologize for having thoughts. Men don’t apologize before they talk, or at least I don’t hear it that often. I don’t have a problem with that, either. Even if a thought isn’t a good one, why apologize for having it? But I still feel like I need to add a caveat before I make a statement.

Apologizing too much is also an issue for academics, not just female ones. Someone, somewhere started assuming that academia was an easy life. There are many movies, novels and slacker tenured professors to thank for this, so now academics feel like they have to atone by working themselves to death just to prove they work as hard as everyone else. (For non-academic readers, let it be said: Academics work hard. If you don’t believe it, step into their shoes for a day. I was in their shoes, and it was so hard that I threw up and fled.)

Tips on avoiding the apology trap after the jump! Image of a “Sorry!” game board by myguitarrz on Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons license.