Won't bite the hand that bleeds me.
September 1, 2012 12:39 PM Subscribe
"How do I prevent work schedule creep?" — Academic edition.
posted by Nomyte to work & money (22 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
As a salaried, exempt employee, I am supposed to keep working until work is "done." However, my main responsibility is essentially piecework. No matter how much work I do, there is always more work.
I collect MRI data at a university. Researchers from various departments come to us with projects and I collect their data. My job is very hands-on. I have to be there when research volunteers are available. For a lot of volunteers, this appears to be early mornings, late evenings, and weekends.
Research coordinators keep testing my boundaries. "We really need this one guy, but he's only available on Saturday." "Our project is running out of time. We'd really appreciate it if you made an exception for us just this once." But exceptions quickly turn into patterns. If I stay late once, the coordinator will assume that I can stay late again and start offering regular late sessions to volunteers.
I am running ragged. I often come in before 9:00 and leave after 7:00. I'd feel better about this if I was working toward a goal, if there was some kind of end in sight.
There are several special projects I could be working on, but I have no time left for them. I often skip lunch. I have no time to identify and meet with a faculty mentor. I have no time left to keep up with the literature. I have no time to attend talks. No matter how long I work, there is never enough time.
How do I throttle back without becoming the bottleneck, without jeopardizing ongoing research?
More generally, how do I manage my tendency to give, give, give without realizing that I'm just digging a deeper hole?
If you're in academia, how would you advise I balance dutiful, time-consuming gruntwork with activity that contributes to my development, but isn't as vital? Academia enables workaholics, but I feel like I'm not even abusing the right kind of workahol.