That’s my new goal. Busy but not pressured. One of the librarians stopped by to say hi, and said he was busy but not pressured, and that it felt good. I’m the same. (I’m actually behind on several things, but only one has an externally imposed deadline, and I’m actually so far behind on that one that it’s become sort of an existential deadline. When I finish it, I won’t know who I am without the guilt of failure following me around…) That’s my new normal: busy but not pressured. You can’t wring blood from a stone, and you shouldn’t try, so we’re all busy, but I’m not going to pressure anyone if I can help it. We’re all doing the best we can with what we have to work with.
Part of doing our best with what we have is remaining flexible. I had a plan for today — it’s the rarest of administrative days, one with no meetings. So I intend to write a presentation abstract, read bylaws and sign a membership agreement, write a guest lecture for a first-year students’ class on scholarship in the digital age, finish the Libraries’ annual report for 2010-2011, set up a Moodle site for the four interns I’m supervising this semester, and send out the Fall 2011 faculty newsletter. I haven’t had that plan disrupted — yet — but I fully expect it will be disrupted. Because no matter what I do, that’s how this job, this profession works. I dressed like this, today:
But then real life intervenes, and my jacket ends up on the back of my chair as I sit down to write in the sun. We drop everything to solve a problem, deal with a crisis, help a user. I crawl onto the table behind my desk to fix the window blinds.
And then we come back to what we were doing, adjust, and move on to the next task.
On my list of tasks, one of those is my existential deadline. I’m not telling which one. Because I’m also thinking about Failing Miserably. “The funny thing about failing miserably is how obvious it is to the individual, but how ridiculous it looks to others. … The key to overcoming this stress/struggle and the key to not letting everything you think you’re failing miserably at is to add a dash of real-life perspective into your diet.”
Perspective. Some stuff’s late. I’m disappointed in myself. But I would be understanding if a staff member told me exactly what I’m telling myself; I would be kinder to them than I am to myself. I am not a superhero. I am not magic. My personal life is kind of chaotic right now, and I overextended myself. I am human, and despite that, the Libraries are succeeding (the printers are still up!), so I should accept that sometimes my job is about crawling on tables to get the job done and not about being remarkable. Sometimes, it’s just about doing the best we can and treating ourselves with kindness.
I’m awfully glad I wore jeans today, because it’s a lot easier to dig into these projects without the sunglare on my monitor.