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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Burn-out, blogging and best intentions

A few weeks ago, I posted a tweet and facebook status that said, "Dear non-academics: "Must be nice to have summers off" is equivalent to calling me lazy and not doing my job. Please refrain. Thanks." Every summer, I get those comments about having time 'off' and every summer, I try not to be annoyed by them. It's not that I don't understand where the perception comes from but as I've been telling my friends and family for years, having flexibility about when and where I work is not the same thing as not working.

But this summer, I have to admit that part of my defensiveness is driven by guilt because I'm NOT working as hard as I have in the past (and no, it's not because I have tenure). I'm just burnt out. I feel like, by the end of the school year, teaching the 500-seater plus two entirely new courses had sucked up all the energy and creativity I had, not to mention pretty much every ounce of patience. When the semester ended, I had to finish up a bunch of research- and service-related work that I had been putting off until after finals but since then, I've been having a really hard time getting anything else (work-related) done.

I'm saying this as a sort of mea culpa because one of the things I feel guilty about is that I haven't been as consistent as I'd like about posting on this blog. Unfortunately, the topic of this blog makes it a little too much like the work that has me so burnt out. But I know that this feeling will eventually pass and I don't want to just let the blog die. So I'm re-dedicating myself to posting more regularly - some posts may be shorter and some may stray a bit off-topic, but I'd really rather this not become one of the millions of blogs that have been abandoned. I'm announcing this here and now as a sort of commitment mechanism - feel free to hold me to it!


  1. We can only blog honestly when we don't feel we're doing it under duress. So don't feel guilty--we all have to take hiatuses from time to time. (You may have noticed how little I was able to blog this year.) If you don't take time off, you won't get reenergized.

  2. Thanks Steve, I appreciate that. I guess it's one of the ironies of being an academic - if we weren't self-motivated, we'd never get any research done but knowing I need to be self-motivated makes me feel guilty when I'm not!


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