Mid-semester doldrums or a more serious problem?

This semester has been very wearing on me.  It’s been like death by a thousand tiny annoyances.  I could enumerate them, but I think that would probably just depress me.  In any case, I don’t think it’s been a very productive semester and I hope my teaching evaluations don’t tank my tenure chances.  I feel very put-upon.

I haven’t been very happy this semester.  It’s nothing major (other than the usual paper rejections, student whines, etc.  oh, and pretty much everybody who is supposed to be subordinate to me in one respect or another being completely and totally incompetent and entitled about it…) but I wonder if maybe it’s time to jump ship.  I want to live in Northern California.  I want to not feel guilty when I come home and don’t work.  I want a lot of things that I don’t really have the money for just yet.

Is this just more pre-tenure angst?  Will it get better after tenure?  I am just SO TIRED.

#2 says:  Wait, what?  Did I write this in my sleep?  Are you me?  GET OUT OF MY HEAD!

15 Responses to “Mid-semester doldrums or a more serious problem?”

  1. Jacq @ Single Mom Rich Mom Says:

    Have you thought of getting some tests done for there maybe being a biological basis behind it? I usually start taking Vitamin D around October and that helps with the SAD. Last year when I found out I was anemic, it was a huge relief to know that I wasn’t tired and feeling unable to cope and unhappy etc. for a mental reason or because of work or just general dissatisfaction with life. I tried every trick in the book to get over it, but it was just putting a bandaid over a bullet wound.

    I just got tenure in the “not feeling guilty when not working when I come home” track after years of setting unreasonable expectations for myself. Sometimes we just need a rest from nagging ourselves to always do more.

  2. Everyday Tips Says:

    Don’t forget about your admirer too! :)

    Are you possibly in a rut? Are you needing some little victories to get your spirits up? That happens to me sometimes. Life just trudges along, and I don’t see any big (or little) advancement. Maybe you could use a weekend getaway??

    I hope you feel better soon. One thing you can be happy about is you have a great blog!

  3. First Gen American Says:

    #1 and #2, I love your bantering. It just takes a while to get in the swing of things. It happens to me every time I start a new job. I suppose you two have to do it every year.

    I hope you turn the corner soon.

  4. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    As untenured folks there’s only so much slacking we can allow ourselves to do and still keep our jobs… Um… SAD would be feasible for one of us, the other one has been anemic in the past but is pretty good these days. It’s probably not something biological when one can point to external causes that are bringing us down. We were much happier a few months ago, and Saturday is always a nice respite, if only every day were Saturday (and income still came in).

    ET– I actually feel a little better since writing this post because I finally got an article back out after a rejection so it’s no longer over my head (and hasn’t been desk rejected yet… a good sign). I think we both have forced weekends off coming up, which will hopefully help mentally, even though they don’t do much for the workload. Thanks for the compliment on our blog!

    FGA– Thank you. Our bantering amuses us too. I hope we turn the corner too!

    I’m assuming that all the academic folks out there are currently under their own piles of midterms and second semester prep and job candidates and recommendation letters and conferences and so on.

  5. Money Reasons Says:

    I’ve been in a rut too, and a lot of bad things keep dragging me down… The latest of which is a trojan (a special computer virus) that I found on my laptop. I got it off, but it set me back a few days while I tried to fix it…

  6. frugalscholar Says:

    Ahhhhh. Something good will happen, just not when you expect or need it.

    When I started teaching here, I got terrible evaluations, quite a shock b/c I had good ones before that. Then suddenly they got good, why I do not know.

    Honestly, everyone knows that course evaluations are only ONE measure of teaching effectiveness.

    Hoping the good thing is on its way.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Our evals are really stupid too. I wish teaching evals measured objective things that aren’t captured by exams or next semester preparation. It’s really hard teaching intro classes because what they hate in the class they come back 2-4 years later and say “I hated this at the time, but it turned out to be the most valuable thing I ever did.” After a few years of us junior grunts pointing this out, senior faculty are finally giving a little more leeway in evals for the huge core courses compared to the tiny senior seminars that they all teach. But still, they seem like such a worthless measure, since they can be bought with easiness and are strongly related to teacher attractiveness, gender, etc. (.end rant)

      Let’s hope for good things for all!

  7. Dame Eleanor Hull Says:

    Oh, honey. We ALL want to live in Northern California. That’s like wanting to continue breathing. Only we can all breathe, but we can’t all afford to live in California.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Almost ALL of our friends from high school went the non-PhD route and settled there. If we’d just made different choices… When we like our jobs we can rationalize the decisions, but when our jobs are getting us down…

  8. Z Says:

    Place yourself in the center of your life and insist on sanity. It doesn’t change after tenure except insofar as they know they have to deal with you permanently. But workload increases, doesn’t decrease; you may not realize what all the tenured folk are doing. Therefore, place yourself at the center of your life and live well. This doesn’t mean “slack” or “work less” or anything like that.

  9. Roshawn @ Watson Inc Says:

    #1 & #2,

    Don’t give up on your goal(s). We need people like you in academia. It is always challenging in academia because there are so many high-achievers who are use to being at the center or under-achievers who feel “entitled” to success that they haven’t yet earned. Unfortunately, the dynamic is all too familiar. It took me YEARS to to not feel guilty enjoying some personal time in the evenings. What I had to force myself to realize was that not only did I deserve some guilt-free personal time, but that this time could be used as a motivator to get other work-related projects done. Best Regards,


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