You know when you haven’t seen your supervisor in a few months and, realistically, you haven’t done any work in a few months either, and you have to go to your first meeting of the year with your supervisor, and you haven’t slept very well because you are anxious about it? You know this feeling? Well, if the thought of supervisor PhD meetings leaves you unimpressed, imagine, if you will, for a moment, that you are at work. Your nice, friendly manager asked you several weeks ago for a really important report on a project you are in charge of. You started it, but then you took Christmas holidays and a few extra weeks to bask in the sun, and about 100 Margaritas later you realise that, gosh, your manager now wants an update on it. The worst part about this project is that YOU thought of it. It is YOUR baby. But the work on it is costing the company MONEY, and YOU have not done any work on it, not for months. A cold sweat starts out on your brow as you frantically throw together a plan to make your work on it seem like it is progressing faster than it is. You whip up projections of your brilliant work in the future, you posit possible outcomes of the project and you pretend that you have been reading HEAPS and HEAPS of background literature in the meantime, in preparation for the hard work you are about to do.
You know that feeling? And your manager, the nice one with the fuzzy hair, who always corrects your work by micro-managing the commas, just looks at you sideways, a bit sadly, and says, gently, well, this is the year to be doing all the hard work. And you can’t help the feeling that they’re just that bit disappointed in you?
That feeling. That’s the one I’m talking about. Actually, I had a great meeting with my supervisor, and we talked for AGES and we set up future meetings and we made analysis plans and writing plans, and lots of plans for articles and stuff. But I can’t help feeling a little bit bullshit. Hopefully by the end of next week I’ll be feeling a little less bullshit and a little more like I’ve actually done what I set out to do. Here’s hoping.