This is not a content post. Because I have no content to write about. It is a excuses post. A life post.
Just over two weeks ago, though it feels like an age, I was asked to step in an take over teaching a Masters course for a colleague and friend who is unwell. It is a subject I’m very familiar with, and I wanted to help, so I agreed. I was left with 6 lectures to prepare and a semester of marking to catch up on. Plus the conclusion of my original class. On Thursday I teach 6 hours back to back.
It’s been really hard work.
Then, just to add chaos into the mix, I went to Shanghai for a week to celebrate/avoid my 40th birthday. This as a long standing plan, decided before I knew I was teaching ANY classes. Turned out to be at the least opportune time possible. (But was fantastic.)
It means, as of today, I have completely avoided by PhD work for nearly three weeks. And I’m horrified/terrified. I have so much to catch up on a can’t think straight. I’m at the point where I don’t even know where to start. It’s like starting from scratch again.
In addition, the night before I left for Shanghai I had dinner with a friend, who is my kind of academic mentor. A lecturer and PhD from UniSyd he has provided me guidance and advice and has been instrumental in me getting to this point.
He chose this night to get stuck into me over publication, or lack there of. I have justified all the reasons why I don’t want to focus on publication (lack of primary material, need to focus on my core goal) and he basically called it all bullshit and said I was just avoiding the hard work.
I claim I don’t know how to write an academic article. Which is largely true, but I don’t know how to do a PhD either and I’m working that out.
I argue that I am unlikely to ever get an academic job in this market. Which also is likely true, but if I never publish I’m guaranteed of that fact.
I say I don’t want to spend a year working on something that goes nowhere, gets rejected. But how will I know unless I try?
It’s done my head in and I was really angry for him pushing me. And publicly, in front of his wife and my husband.
But he’s probably right.