I went through some Evernote notes while I was on lunch today, and added some tags so I would be able to sort through them easier in the future. I found one from January that I titled “Countdown to Burnout,” where I was tallying up the amount of time I had spent in each of my full-time financial aid jobs to date.
This most recent gig at UW Colleges is not the best paying or the most interesting job that I’ve had in this field. But it is probably the best fit with my employment sensibility at this stage. It has positives like extremely low (i.e., never in-person) student contact, easy-going management, and reasonable workload. As I think back to how my other financial aid gigs ended, I can point to specific markers that made me feel I had to go:
Oshkosh, Round One: I had grown tired of living so far away from Michelle, and wanted to find a job that would make my personal life a little easier.
Milwaukee: I had completely burned out in a high-stress, low-reward position with minimal opportunity for change.
Oshkosh, Round Two: While I might have been ready to be a manager on a personal/professional development level, I was not ready to succomb to financial aid as a long-term career, and had some personality conflicts at work that were extremely stressful.
I was probably disillusioned after the holidays, and thinking about how I wasn’t making any tangible progress on my thesis at the time that I wrote this note. As of today, having finished my master’s degree and feeling more like I get to be in control of how my life progresses than I have since 2002, my work situation is not as bad. Do I love it here? No. Do I want to stay long-term? Also no. Do I realize that, in the grand scheme of things, I could do a lot worse, employment-wise? Absolutely. I guess I just don’t feel as trapped in financial aid as I did before. I feel like I have qualifications that I could sell to other people, and do other things. For now, though, it’s pretty comfortable. It’s respectable work. The flames aren’t creeping over the horizon just yet.
A few folks have asked if they could read a copy of my thesis (i.e., novella) after it was done.
I have joked that one of the things that everyone who has written a thesis says to every one of their friends and/or colleagues that wrote a thesis is, “I would love to read your thesis,” and none of those theses actually get read.
That being the case, you will not offend me in the least by never reading this. However, in case you do care to venture down that path, this is the exact copy that I turned in today. Have a good time, and thanks.
Let me tell you this right here– work is crazy nuts right now. Freshman orientation is probably the most hellish time of the year. Combine that with all the paperwork, and, well… there are things happening. Not as much time to look at or think about the interwebs of late.
Continuing to work on my thesis and move along on that whole deal. Trying to get my committee all put together and my prospectus done so that I can actually register for the thesis credits. After that, it’s kind of just a matter of deciding that the work is done…
As I’m working on that prospectus this evening, I’ve also got an ear on the Brewers, and a Firefox on the Cubs. I would really like the Cubs to keep on losing whenever they wanna get around to it. The Crew continues to slowly but surely climb, record-wise at least, but Chicago just doesn’t seem to want to lose. It’s kind of frustrating.
Hey– Mike Cameron just hit another one.
Also officially got a letter in the mail today saying, “Hey– you can has apartment!” I did think it was funny that the form letter I received encouraged me to get my phone service locally through Ameritech, because “other telephone carriers may charge an additional connection fee to access the Ameritech owned lines.” Yeah. Well, y’know, that first merger only happened about 10 years ago, so they might not have updated the template on that WordPerfect 5.0 floppy.
OK, so I’m going to get back to work on this bibliography.
In the process of working on some thesis-related paperwork, I had occasion to review a story that I wrote about three years ago for a fiction class. I enjoyed most of it, and I did feel like I was able to give it a solid, honest critical assessment, having not even looked at it in such a long time. I was saying to Wordy that I could probably clean up the ending a bit and try to send it out for publication.
Then just this afternoon, I was having a conversation with Ron Rindo, my thesis director, about a very similar thing: what a fabulous idea it is to finish a piece, set it aside, and don’t even think about it for a couple months so you can look at it with a fresh perspective. That not something that I’ve always taken the time to do in my academic career, but where this thesis is concerned, I think it’s absolutely necessary. It’s a shift of thinking to go away from a standard, stone-set academic calendar to the notion that this is MY project, that I get to do at MY pace. Quality has to be most important thing, and I’m going to try to be mindful of that from here on out.