On Not Quitting (Not Quite Yet) Feat. A Flagrant Overuse of Commas

This semester I think I've come as close to quitting my profession as I'm going to get. 

I mean, I won't, because, first and foremost, I need a job that helps support my family, but ALSO because I've invested a LOT of freaking time and effort into doing this particular job, this career, and how does one just walk away from all of that? I suppose it would be one thing if I'd made Full Professor and I'd jumped through all the hoops I was supposed to jump through, but I haven't, and so: How do I leave behind all the hard work to get where I am, with just a tiny bit more to go? (I apply for Full Professor at the end of next year.)

This feeling, this closeness-to-quitting, stems from more of the same, not enough hours in the day, but it differs from previous years because, perhaps for the first time, it's not really tinged with resentment. I mean, sure, did I grumble yesterday about my students obsessing over grades on papers but not really connecting those grades with their efforts in class or their attempts to actually learn the material? Yes, yes I did. But that's grumbling, not the insidious, vein-lining, green-muck of resentment, where one blames and blames and blames and feels oppressed and put-upon. I don't feel like that. I know quite well how I arrived at this point (STAGE WHISPER: IT WAS ME! I DID IT TO MYSELF!!) and yet I'm not really blaming myself either. 

I'm at a point where I clearly can't do all of the things I've agreed to do or want to do, but the solution doesn't seem to be a matter of giving up tasks or roles I've taken on at work. It feels bigger, like I should just dump the whole damn thing and walk away. Because my job requires multi-tasking, taking on several different roles, and frankly, I don't think I'm good at it.

When it comes to teaching, I'm sloppy in my lectures and class prep and I'm absurdly, to the point of laughter, dismal with my grading and feedback to students; and when it comes to the non-teaching, the committee work and service to the college, I'm failing because of my inability to delegate responsibility and relinquish control. 

I'm not even beating myself up when I type these sentences. These are facts. I'm just layin' 'em out there.

And I know, I sound like a broken record. If you've read this blog for a while, you've read this all before. (And frankly, how are you still here? You deserve some kind of medal for perseverance and optimism.)

So what is it that makes me not-quit, besides the practical I-need-a-paycheck? Is it REALLY just obstinacy? How boring, but probably true. How stupid! (But probably true.) Maybe it just comes down to me being really not-that-bright.

That's part joke part truth. If I was smarter, I wouldn't be here AGAIN, right?

I'm tired of this story, you know? It's not that interesting. I feel like my multiple attempts at revision are failed attempts, and perhaps it's time to move on to something new.

However: something new, drastically new, isn't practical.  No new job. No absence of job. So what do I do?

(I suspect I'm going to keep running my stupid fat head into walls again and again until I pass out, or until someone removes the damn walls for me.)

Here is a more eloquent, and certainly more clever, attempt at what I'm trying to say: Want Less by Clara Chow.


Popular Posts