Self-evaluation is tough

Sep 15 2015 Published by under Uncategorized

This morning I mused that:

I am not sure what prompted the musing, but muse it did. I've been at almost-MRU for a while, but maybe its the start of the new teaching year.

I moved as a full professor (yes, I'm old). I took my R01 with me, but no trainees (I offered, they didn't want to move).  Almost-MRU wanted me to come, they gave me what I needed to get going here. I have superlative colleagues, one of the main reasons for moving.

But there a bunch of signs that it wasn't the cakewalk I thought it was going to be. Or even now, looking back, as easy as I felt it was whilst in process. Signs? I've gained a bunch of weight. Various parts of my aging body hurt. From time to time I indulge my abstemious  side - either no caffeine or no alcohol for a couple of weeks, it's hard for about 36 hours and then its okay. Except, now its not. You don't have to approve or even understand, what's important here is the delta.

I've done this before, but I thought this time I was old enough, senior enough, wise enough that it wouldn't be a problem. Oh there would be the inevitable little problems, but it would be easy for me. Maybe it is only now, comfortable in where I am and what I'm doing that I can look at that view and say: bullshit. Moving is fucking hard. With or without family. Making friends, real friends, is hard. With or without the time to invest in other people. Setting up a lab, with or without a tech, with or without knowledge of the equipment, is fucking hard.

So, I'm here and Things Are Good. What's the problem? Well, I am in danger of slipping back into "that was easy" and not giving myself credit. Because I am doing well here. I am happy here. I have made friends, some very very good friends (and some of you are reading this, and you may not even know how much I love you), found a new almost-maybe-partner, have my lab up and running well. Oh, and have a gorgeous apartment filled with the challenging artwork that says home to me.

I need to say to myself: Potnia, you have worked your fucking ass off, and dammit, you've done a good job. And that, dear readers, is a hard thing to do.

It's not quite imposter syndrome. It's being able look dispassionately at your accomplishments and sort out what is good and what is not. The poles, the extremes are tempting. One can't be a snowflake and think all one's works are gifts of genius. But one also can't look at accomplishments and think that if it is good, it must have been easy.  To acknowledge what was hard to do (jumping off the edge of the earth, leaving a top MRU for the almost-variety) and not only say "yup, did it" but "yup, did it and it was fucking hard" is tough, but in the end, satisfying.


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