How to win friends...

Jan 05 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

Evidently not by calling them a Scrooge. Sometimes I think the verbal diarrhea I blog would be better left to Twitter, or the confines of my head, especially if I'm not willing to spend the time making sure the intended message is what my post actually conveys. I intended yesterday's post to be a ranty commentary on individuals who say you can't be successful in academia without working 70 hours a week, regardless of holidays. I'm tired and overwhelmed and insecure about my upcoming transition, and got offended by a brief exchange I overheard in the break room after a sleepless, panic-attack sort of night. I normally blog for self-reflection, but yesterday's post was written hastily. The self-reflection didn't begin until mid-way through the comments on this post, at which point I started wondering how self involved I was, and how many people I've offended the past couple of months by asking "how was your holiday?"

I still don't know exactly where the train went off the track. I have several colleagues who don't celebrate Christmas, yet have asked me how my holiday was or wished me a good holiday. The question is common at my workplace, and I've never thought twice about asking it. VERY few people here work the week between Christmas and New Year's, whether they have the vacation to spare or not, as evidenced by the fact that our MRU turned down the heat last week. I don't mind people working through the holidays, and I don't mind them being upset about it. I don't even mind hearing about it, just the implication that I'm a slacker if I chose not to. And I'm a little more than perplexed by the idea that I shouldn't be asking that question at all, but I can certainly concede that the question may engender bad feelings for some people.

At the same time, I must be doing something wrong if I offended so many. It's likely this was just a really poorly-written post - I'm an amateur blogger and have been known to spew plenty of crap before, and I surely will again. After a good night's sleep and intense morning workout, I've come to the conclusion that I'm not a completely-inconsiderate person, but someone who has worked in a fairly relaxed and somewhat privileged scientific environment. Come to think of it, I'm not sure right now what that means for my upcoming transition - other than, with all sincerity, I'll be thinking twice before asking colleagues about their holidays in the future.

3 responses so far

  • darchole says:

    I thought it was a good discussion, and it shows that sometimes I'm just a b*tch to people who ask questions about time off (I'm not being snarky)...and its shows how different places have different expectations about research and time off.

    I had a good laugh with someone who asked me about how my time off went - they had to come in over break and do work too. The only problem I have with working over the holidays is that I really get no down time, it's either work or cleaning/cooking/dealing with relatives which is still work.

  • becca says:

    Frankly, being so reflective and responsive *does* strike me as a way to make friends. It's not easy to suffer interruption of a perfectly good bloggyrant with commenters interjecting empathy for the ranted at.

    Also, a psychologist might point out that bloggyrants are (in addition to often being entertaining or at least thought-provoking) a perfectly good coping mechanism.

  • Dr. O says:

    I think I was feeling especially insecure when the comments started coming in on that last post, and I felt the need for a second ranting/cleansing/coping post. This one did the trick for me, and I feel ready to move on. But I really do appreciate all the comments on both posts - they got me thinking quite a bit. One of the big reasons I love blogging so much, even when I feel like I get a little ass-kicking. 🙂