…although I’ve certainly been considering it.

I had a hugely bad meeting with chair last monday.  I was in tears most of it.  Here’s the jist of the situation:
– we have an accepted conference paper due 3/1
– he has reconceptualized the project at least 3 times since we submitted the proposal last summer, generally with about a 1 sentence explanation to me each time. 
– I’m really close to burnt out and didn’t get anything I should have done completed over christmas
– because of the reconceptualization (or rather the fact that one sentence was insufficient) my first draft of the lit review sucked.  really sucked.
– I’m now working full time which cuts into my work time.  However my first pass at the descriptive statistics also sucked in part because the reconceptualization meant different descriptives were needed.
– my second pass was better (although still not great), however he stopped reading after 4 sentences because I apparently pushed a button I wasn’t aware of.
– last weekend his wife was in the hospital with medical issues
– last monday (after bringing her home for bed rest) he informed me that I shouldn’t even GO to the conference, that my work was utterly unacceptable and that my name shouldn’t be on the paper at all.  For about half an hour.

Now, I’m a grown-up.  I know there have been problems with my work of late as I have adjusted to my new work schedule (not well).  Heck, the friday BEFORE that I had been talking to my husband over dinner about dropping out because of many of the things I said in my last post.  Heck – my day job pays twice what an academic job will and they think I’m brilliant for doing things that frankly I don’t consider that hard.  I could have a nice lucrative career and hobbies. 

And I am well aware that this situation with his wife likely had him more on edge than otherwise might have been the case.  He’s behind on all his projects due to first the flue and then this, and I’m sure blames me for not picking up the slack (not that he told me about either before or even during, but that’s another story). 

But he went from “this isn’t good” to “you shouldn’t even go and I can’t believe I trusted you” with no steps in between.  And then he pounded on the theme for half an hour.  So yes, I cried.  And I asked myself why I was doing this. 

So far the only answer I have is pride; I am not a quitter and I succeed at what I attempt.  Further, I know I can do this and do it well.

However I admit that right now I’m questioning whether I ENJOY it enough to keep going.  Whether the stress is worth it.  Whether the time is worth it.  Or whether I wouldn’t be better off just having a job that doesn’t excite me but other things that do. 

I don’t know.

In the meantime, I have commitments to uphold.  I’m putting in about 2 hours a night on this paper.  (I seem to lose the ability to write anything clear after that.)  Once this paper is in I have to prepare for the seminar I applied and was accepted to; I’ll be presenting on the “idea” I submitted for a dissertation.  I suppose if that goes well I can just plow through and do that.

I do know that this is the last paper we write together.  Chair is great, but I need to stand or fail on my own (most likely fail) and I need to learn to do this research independently.  Ask for suggestions?  Fine.  Co-author?  Probably not good for either of us after this experience. 

I also need to keep thinking on what I am really interested in.  I can probably crank a dissertation out of that idea, but I have another mentoring session I’m attending in an area that I’m passionate about but is less “marketable”.  I need to figure out if I care. 

Finally I need to decide if, assuming I do finish, I actually want the career of an academic.  I used to think so, but it turns out that the academic lifestyle I want isn’t what I would get if I continue down the path I am on.  The type of research I would be doing isn’t what I can imagine myself being happy doing for another 25 years.  So if not that, then what?  And is it worth continuing just to say I finished?