In year two I had an excuse, this year it was just denial (and a new baby) that kept me from bracing myself. Much of this post still holds true, unfortunately. At least the picture does.
Last year the start of the semester was a blur. Everything was new and the onslaught of things to deal with when the semester started was all part of that. I had no point of comparison, so I was ready for anything. Plus, everyone pretty much left me alone to set up my new lab. I was the new guy muttering to himself in a mostly empty room.
As the year wore on I picked up responsibilities gradually and layered them on my workload. The lab also gradually got going and each step was new success. By the time summer rolled around, things were going pretty well and I was getting ready to do a bunch of traveling. Summer was good. Lots of work got done and I finally started feeling like I knew what the hell I am doing in this job. I had the people and procedures figured out and even felt like I could stay on top of the literature without having to do it at night.
Then the summer ended.
I should have been better prepared, but I wasn't. Everything rushed in like a freight train and I saw my precious time dragged down by a feeding frenzy of obligations. Suddenly there are meetings about other meetings. I'm lucky if I get a couple of hours here or there where I can think about the work that I have to get done for me and not for everyone else who needs something. I did not plan well for the transition from summer to semester and now I'm being feasted upon.