In every semester there comes a time where things just get stupid. I am currently at that point.
I'm used to balancing all of the big things that come with this job and trying to keep all of that from leaking into my time outside of work. For the most part, I'm pretty good at that. I can stand there with one finger in the dyke while using the other hand to color with my daughter. I know when my deadlines are, I can get my teaching done, I can push science forward in my lab and I can get my writing and reading in.
Rather, it is the little shit that threatens to tear me apart in minor pulls in a gazillion different directions. Dealing with my 50 undergraduate advisees who suddenly all need to meet right now, writing reference letters for everyone who has ever walked into my office and a few who haven't, chasing down IT to fix an issue which has been lingering for a month, dealing with collaborators who seem unconcerned with the upcoming deadlines, performing my departmental, university and society service duties and the tens of other minor things that crop up every day. Slowly but surely, it grinds me down until I want to spend a weekday sitting at home in my underwear watching B rate action movies with the phone unplugged. The only problem with that plan, of course, is that the work doesn't get done when I'm not there, meaning there will be same shit to do, now with less time to do it in.
I also can't help but compare myself to those who have supervised me in the past and wonder how they never seemed to be overwhelmed or unable to just get things done at a rapid pace, no matter what else was going on. I'm sure they were at times, but they were always able to meet deadlines and turn things around faster then I expected. How? I have no idea. I'm struggling to meet all of my obligations and do the things I need to do to get where I need to be. There is no true balance, only things that take priority one day over the next, to the detriment of everything else. I know I'm not the only one feeling this way, but commiseration only gets me so far. I'll work through this just like I have in the past, but anyone who pretends like there are never days they think what it would be like to walk away from this job is either lying or a better person than I.