Sunday, March 23, 2008

Outside projects

Once upon a time, as a callow young grad student, a professor whom I admired made me an offer: come work for ten hours a week as my research assistant on this nifty web project. I jumped at the chance: I could earn $100 extra a week (ask any grad student how much this can mean), and because it's related to Things Medieval, it could go on my CV. Plus, keep in mind, this was 1997, so working on a medieval web project was pretty novel, and I thought it would help when job market time came around (New media! Novel approaches to learning about the Middle Ages! She knows HTML as well as Latin!).

Fast forward to 2003. I get my Ph.D., and so am promoted from graduate assistant to assistant editor. This means that I keep working on the project, but am no longer eligible to be paid.

I have mixed feelings about Outside Project. On the one hand, it's only vaguely related to what I'm working on (say, I'm working on yams, then outside project is kale – they're both vegetables, but there's not much else overlap). As such, it's always on the back burner, because Outside Project is never going to get me tenure, or make me one thin dime. On the other hand, it is something I've been working on a long time, and I really do enjoy the people I work with, especially Project Director, who I has poured more of her time and energy into this than I thought one person actually had, and still manages to be a super-productive scholar. I even think occasionally about developing a project of my own around Outside Project, just because I've learned the resources inside and out because of it. The problem is, I have about half a dozen things I'm more interested in pursuing.

But… right now, Outside Project is undertaking Major New Initiative, and I'm more or less in charge of it. And I feel like I'm actually pulling my own weight a bit, and in a way that doesn't impinge too much on my writing time.

Speaking of which (thank you for asking!): that's coming along swimmingly. Saturday, I got another 600 words or so, and I'm counting on more tonight. I'm starting to feel like I have my shit coming together. My mantra over the past few days, no matter what I'm doing, has been "I can do this. [deep breath; more confidently:] I can do this."

8 comments:

medieval woman said...

I continue to be astounded at how much you get done each time you check in and update your blog! You my hero...

hilary said...

You have more hours in your days than the rest of us do, I'm certain of it. Alright, fess up Hermione: Who gave you the Time-Turner?
Congratulations on getting your words out of your brain and onto paper (or at least the digital equivalent of paper.)

Dr. S said...

You can in fact do this--you know you can because you are, in fact, doing it. So: good mantra!

The other mantra I use: I *am* a badass. I *am* a badass. I am a *badass*!

Notorious Ph.D. said...

You guys are ever so kind. If you had any idea how much time I've pissed away in the last four years...

Anyway, better late than never. Hil, the only thing I have in common with Hermione (besides a love of books) is serious anxiety with regards to my scholarly capabilities.

S, you are indeed a badass (do you really have a ring that says so?), so I'm not surprised.

Dr. S said...

mais oui! I do have a Badass ring. It is shaped like a tiny crown (in honor of the fact that when the going got rough in grad school, I put on a tiara and got back to writing). My Lexingtonian friend has one, too; hers is a plain band. We exchanged them when we turned 29. It's always fun to see which student makes it out first in a new class. One day, we were in the middle of a discussion, and one of my very lovely and talented young women burst out laughing. We all stopped and looked at her. She said, "I'm sorry." Later, she said, "I had just noticed what your ring says." Another year, two women came up to me after the penultimate meeting of a seminar and said, "Do you think Lily Briscoe would have worn a badass ring?"

Belle said...

*You* are amazing.
You *are* amazing.
You are *amazing.*

rationalpsychic said...

From someone who knows nothing about you or your life: Dump Outside Project! You are a person who finds it hard to say no and are used to working like a dog (how else do you earn a Ph.D.?). Instead, be nicer to yourself and use the time to take up gardening. It's a lifelong hobby that lowers your blood pressure.

Wishing you well! Cheers.

rationalpsychic said...

And now that I read your health-related posts of recent date I say what I said before only more so this time!