Friday, February 24, 2017

a mixed afternoon

So I got my letter. Overall proficient (which is as good as you can be), but "marginally" so in service, because I'm not on enough committees, even though I do a lot of other stuff. Apparently only university committees count. (And it was phrased as "Well, there are fewer faculty now, so you really need to step up and do more." Though I also know of people who refuse to serve on committees. Not in my department, but I know of them)

Whatever. I'm upset about it but also I'm not.

I'm upset about it because this just tells me I am never going to be "enough." I'm never going to satisfy what is wanted of me without me giving up my entire life. And I'm upset that apparently my AAUW service didn't count.

But I'm also not because (a) service is probably the least-bad thing to be bad at, and it's easily-enough fixed. and also, I suppose (b) this gives me a convenient "out" from the AAUW scholarship committee: "Sorry, it doesn't count, and I have to focus on the things that do. One of you retired folks who doesn't have to report to Bob and Bob every three years can take it up." I hate that but if that's how it has to be.

I also recognize this is how the game is played: you can never be totally good enough unless you are a fricking superstar (which I am not). And that part of the idea is this is "developmental" so you have to be found lacking somewhere. But it still stings.

I just hate the head-games that exist in bureaucracies because I'm too good at over thinking things. 

And it does frustrate me about myself, because I did get upset at myself upon reading it - "Why, I'm not enough. I'm never enough and I never will be enough" and that makes me profoundly sad because dammit, I just want to be GOOD ENOUGH and I never feel like I am.

One of the weird things for me about being an introvert is that I care excessively what people think of me and I desperately want people to think highly of me, and stuff like this whole "developmental" exercise" seems designed to make me feel like people DON'T....I know it's not meant to be but that's the net effect it has on me. 

I wish I didn't have to be evaluated on every single aspect of my worklife but I guess that's how it is when you have to work for a living.


I dunno. Right now I'm kind of in "I want to build a cabin in the woods and run away" mode. I'm overtired, my house is a terrible mess (I was going to clean it this afternoon but now, I don't know).

I'm almost done with "The Brutal Telling." Am slightly fearful that one character who was in other novels in the series (and was a sympathetic character there, although is less so in this novel because of plot developments) is either going to pull a virtual or an actual Virginia Woolf and I hate it when novelists write out recurring characters or kill them off. of the plot points here is the murder victim (known simply as The Hermit for most of the book, because his name is unknown) is someone who lives deep in the woods, hidden away in a cabin. He has an accomplice or two who brings him food in return for sharing his "treasure" (It turns out The Hermit owns some truly mindboggling antiquities/art/antiques - has them there with him up in his cabin, and he uses them, like, eats meals off of Imperial Russian china that is hundreds of years old).

Anyway: more and more I think of the idea of a cabin, somewhere far, far away from people. Somewhere with books, and maybe not fabulous antiquities but a nice set of china and a nice teapot and good quilts on the bed and all the comforts, and me there, all by myself, not having to go out and do the hard interactions every day and obsess over what other people think of me, and oh, what a relief that would be - to only have to worry about survival and what I think of myself.

And yeah, it's unrealistic, because I'd need running water (that's a non-negotiable; unlike The Hermit I would not want an outhouse - especially not in some place like Quebec, where the winters can be brutally cold) and I'd kind of want electricity. And I know I'd need to go out for medical stuff and things. But yeah, it's a nice fantasy because sometimes the world really is too much with me and I just wish I could stop obsessing about every word I say or every word other people say.

(I wonder at this: how can there be people out there who seem to have so little self-awareness, who do awful things and say terrible things, yet seem totally content and satisfied, and then people like me, who probably objectively AREN'T terrible, suffer for every slightly awkward thing they say or strange look someone gives them?)

Yeah. I could be like The Hermit, totally, except instead of first editions I'd have weird old books from used-book stores, and instead of Venetian glass I'd have my ponies. And you know? I think I could be happy. (Maybe more so if I at least had a radio. It would be nice to at least be able to listen to baseball games even if I am otherwise all alone).


Well, the Pony reruns are over for today but apparently the Channel 9 News isn't gonna help me, because it's just full (as the news often is) of people being awful in very specific ways to one another.

(What I said about being a hermit)


I had my tax meeting today with the preparer. I still need to track down where I put my property-tax receipt (can write it off) and a few others, and I have to wait on my big I-9 from the brokerage firm.

(I also have to make my Roth deposit for the year)

Also, a couple weird things: new this year, I have to bring in my social security card. Apparently this is a new anti-fraud measure. (I hope my card is still where I think it is). While I applaud the IRS trying to keep people from stealing other people's refunds, or doing stuff (like my preparer told me she caught someone doing) like trying to claim other people's kids as dependents or get EICs using their kid's information.....still, it's another layer of effort.

Also, I was told I have to talk to HR because apparently they withheld too much Social Security from my paycheck because I pay in to a pre-tax-monies retirement plan, and apparently that wasn't taken into account? And I could be in "trouble" if I don't deal with it? (If it weren't for that I'd let it slide, because it's woeful making time to go to HR and deal with it). I don't know. No one ever told me that before but apparently with the pay cut now I'm over some cutoff. Whatever.

And I have to get the "official" IRS numbers of a couple charities, so the IRS will believe I actually gave them the money I did. (Whatever, again. I have receipts, and they were all monetary donations, so it's not like I'm claiming an old t-shirt I gave to Goodwill is worth $15 or something). Apparently this is because I have a lot of deductions for charity compared to others in my income bracket? I don't know.

At this point it looks like I'm getting a decent refund but that could totally change if it turns out I had a lot of capital gains. At this point the guy who manages my account tries to balance things (taking losses in a timely fashion so I don't eat it, tax wise). I guess I could look at the quarterly statement from December to estimate, but I really need the I-9.


And if you've read this far, one happy thing.

My latest Pony acquisition came today. This is a Baby Brother Pony (so: one of the less-common "boy ponies," even though I have headcanoned that a few of the plain ponies are boys - Ember, and Bouncy, and Tic Tac Toe). This one's name is Paws.

He's *awesome*. 13/10, great color scheme, his head turns, he's h*ckin pretty:

Let me try a close up - he has FRECKLES:

Also, you can see the Clydesdale-style untrimmed fetlocks that are the only real sexual dimorphism you see in G1 ponies.

oh, and his cutie mark is a Scots terrier:


Actually, that sort of sums up one of my frustrations with my Real World Life vs. My In-My-Head Life: there are so many things that I love and enjoy and that make me happy and even some things I do that I am good at and they count for absolute zero in terms of my work life. And in fact, they probably count for less than zero, because if I didn't take the time to knit or play the piano or collect ponies I might be more focused on my job and be a superstar instead of kind of a flopper.

I dunno. Part of me wants to plant my feet firmly and scream, "MY JOB AND ITS DEMANDS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO DIMINISH THE THINGS THAT MAKE ME HAPPY" but on the other hand, so many of those things are "weird" and would be considered "unacceptable" uses of time if people knew (as opposed to "acceptable" uses like The Playing of Sport or Raising Your Child.)

I don't know. I think I got my head in my work too much recently and it's kind of broken me and I've kind of lost who I was and I need to get back to who I really am and learn not to worry about what others think.

I commented on Twitter that years and years ago (40-odd, that's how much it struck me and stayed with me) about how I remember when Peter Sellers was the special guest star, and one of the bits was he was sitting in the "dressing room" talking to a couple of the Muppets, and he was dressed bizarrely - a bit like Queen Victoria, a bit like a Viking, a bit like something else - and he made a comment along the lines of "I don't really know who the real me is any more; I had the real me surgically removed years ago" and I remember at the time (I would have been 10 or younger) thinking how that was one of the saddest things I had ever heard. I still kind of think that, but I much more understand what he was saying now: sometimes you do kind of cut off parts of yourself so you can conform, or so you can get rid of something that takes up time so you can devote that time to something more "acceptable" or whatever. But you do have to be careful not to force-fit yourself too much into the expected mold, and I wonder if I've gotten to that point a little.

I don't know.  I'm just tired and I'm glad the whole post-tenure review stuff is done for this year now, and I won't have to think about it again until 2020. If we still have jobs then and haven't been replaced by AI or something.....

1 comment:

purlewe said...

I couldn't remember that Muppet episode, so I looked it up. It is sad, but also he is slightly barmy enough that perhaps we are supposed to think that he is happier being off the wall??