Work, family, time, and self-worth

Alec at 4. FB and Google send me photos of 5 years ago, doing fun things. Not much since then, as parents will attest: a whole lot of logistics, the evaporation of you-time, weekends, and disposable income

Parental, or at least paternal, guilt and underwhelmingness Not living up to the dream family image Taboo to say this, but surely it's not just me? Used to get very upset that I wasn't living up to the advertised image of besotted parent -- what's wrong with me? On the plus side, at least I didn't lose my critical faculties (aka cynicism) or life priorities (cf. dangerous sports)...

At more or less the same time, I first held a management role on ATLAS, then got a lectureship at Glasgow: extra admin, teaching & responsibilies Plus junk, box-ticking busy-work like PGCAP/HEA accreditation and "early career development" After the initial golden summer back in the UK, separated from CERN-panic, and spending several days a week in Gla: commuting Suddenly have to leave work at 5. 5!!! How am I going to get anything done? On getting home, kids, baths, bed And then another kid, which really did put paid to any spare capacity

Accompanying this is a feeling of not being that useful guy anymore -> dent to my self-worth Fragmented time: never in "flow" (cf. Peopleware)... and just as I get clear and start to get going at 4pm or so: time to hit the road again That dented self-worth and feelings of frustration: feeling overwhelmed & underperforming :-( I care a lot what people think, especially with working in And I know that people without kids don't really understand, because I used to look at "those guys who get tenure and slack off", or heard colleagues complaining about the lack of productivity of others who've "spent more time on kids than work in the last N years" Trying to keep up by working through the evening and into the small-hours more than ever -> tiredness, which makes it worse Dead tired, dull brain, knackered after bathtime... how much of this is just age? Argh, I am the poster boy for the Peter Principle!

Not actually the kids: objectively they don't take that much time. A lot, but not insane: an hour or two each morning, and a few hours each evening. But they do put huge constraints on when that time can be used: fragmentation again And the weekends, formerly both a time for some catching-up and either rest or enjoyable, life-affirming activities, are GONE Crossing the tenure barrier certainly doesn't mean that pressure is gone: a whole new set of targets and incentives arrive This is HARD

Solutions: Booking time (inversion of default availability) Working from home (save time, money, interruption) Expectation management... of myself and others Saying no (working on it... but those "excel & innovate in everything" promotion incentives) Work smarter (ha! Orwell's "Apidistra" is a horrid book, but gets one thing right: you don't work smart when you have no spare capacity)


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