When I started this summer, I had all sorts of glorious plans. No, I wasn't running away to Cinque Terre (though I wish right now that I had). For the last few years I have been pushing hard - working like a machine to get papers out the door, build my lab, and write grants. The fruits of that labor have been more or less paying off this past year - the papers are coming out and my students are making great progress. The grant thing has been a little stymied by the 8% fund rates that have haunted my panel, but putting the proposals together has helped me cook up some cool science ideas, so not a complete waste. In addition to things rolling along, I come up for tenure this fall. I have been told that once my packet is submitted in Sept, nothing published after that date "counts", so I figured this summer was a good time to shift gears; there was no way anything I started now would be out in time anway. So, I planned on picking up and babying a languishing pet project but otherwise I would devote myself to a bunch of reading and thinking and strategic planning about my research path for the next 5 years; oh and clean my office as a physical symbol of my fresh start. My mental image of my summer was something like this:
Instead it has turned out to be more like this:
One by one my summer plans have vaporized (Perhaps I'll blog more about that later) and I have been feeling more and more down about it. A couple of days ago, General Disarray came into my office, looked around, and said "Your office looks like a college dorm room". When I nearly burst into tears, I realized that it had nothing to do with his criticism of my office, which does frankly look like this:
My despair had everything to do with the fact that my office had come to symbolize the dead and decaying body of my blissful summer of joy and self-investment.
To quote one of my favorite bloggers: Dude, Fuck, Sigh.