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2006-09-12 - 7:23 p.m.

...thinking about achieving...

I have spend another day at home - thinking. There is something liberating about spending the day exercising your brain. The bad thing about thinking is that at the end of the day, you have little or nothing physical to show for your efforts. But something will need to come soon, as I need to write a proposal, organize a work plan for my trip to England next month, and prepare two presentations. But you really need the thinking days in order to reach the output days.

Yesterday was quite a full day at work - I wound up staying there for 12 hours. I just got into a rhythm and didn't want to leave. My new university and the Canadian gov't have awarded me tons of $$ for my research - but actually GETTING the money requires hopping through so many hoops. Everyone is friendly about it, and clearly the rules just have to be followed - but I feel alike I'm trapped in a computer strategy game. or I'm playing super mario brothers or something. You must get XX number of quotations and raise YY number of matching funds before you are able to proceed to the purchasing stage. But to get the XX quotations you have to fill out the 20-page tendering forms so that the bidding is fair. Pick up a new card: UH OH! Your office move will be a month earlier than projected. This will decrease productivity by 10% BUT you will have access to ZZ funds as compensation. It's all very strange, and surprising stressful.

I identified strongly with enfinblue's vague sentiments of inadequacy today - there are so many expectations and within me exists the fear that I cannot - or simply will not - live up to them. I have to develop an applied research program - which means I need to make contacts with policy makers, which means I have to have research projects that are relevant to policy makers... But then I gave her my standard advice and realized it applies to me, too: you can only try. So I just have to convince myself that thinking - sometimes without physical manifestations of the effort - is really tough work. and I will prevail.

But I did have some evidence yesterday that made me feel as though I am indeed too hard on myself. I have felt rather sensitive over the last weeks because I know that my mode of interaction is rather direct, and I have felt the building frustration that comes with working in a new place. Sometimes I fear that I offend when I don't intend to. I'm a leo. Hey. We wear our hearts on our sleeves (which can get rather nasty when you want to wipe your nose..)

Yesterday I had three separate interactions where I was actually thanked for my patience. The department administrator thanked me for not going all "professorish" on her - she realized that I had been given a really terrible office, and also realized that I could have gotten unpleasant about it. She thanked me for being cheerful and patient. It made me feel good (mostly because I tried really hard to stifle my disappointment at the situation in front of the staff.) I replied with, "well I haven't been a complete angel...I've made a lot of jokes to fellow faculty members.." but she said that the important thing was that I recognized that the staff were all trying to help me. I also told her that it would do me no good to get upset with people I intend to work with for the next ten or so years, especially when they are only trying to help me.

I had a similar interaction with the coordinator of the new building - into which I will be moving one month earlier than planned! We were talking about some of the specifications for my new laboratory space, and I told him that I expected to experience problems with the wiring and balancing of airflows through the chemical laboratories, etc. He thanked me for my sense of reality, noting that most professors expect a new building to be perfect from the start. (boy, profs must be real unpleasant types)

The third interaction occurred because one of the building administrators forgot that we had a meeting and didn't show up. We simply rescheduled the meeting without further comment...until he thanked me for not being upset about his mistake.

Perhaps the happy pills are dissolved in the water...but I was really gratified to sense that I am not sweating the small stuff - most likely because I see how hard all of these people are trying to help me.

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