So I made the mistake of telling my boss what I want to do after I get my degree.
This was a mistake because I really don’t want to do what she does.
I mean, one, I would make a terrible PI (primary investigator; that is, someone who runs a lab). I’m not good at either the day-to-day or the long-term aspects of planning or managing my life, much less an assortment of people and projects that need to work in concert.
Two, I really like teaching, and giving students individual attention. I suck at it right now, because I’m so busy that a lot of the prep that I should be doing winds up falling by the wayside, but I am good at explaining things and making them interesting. I’m also really pretty good at fostering consensus and working with lots of different kinds of people, which I think could get me far in a university’s administration.
And finally, I just have no fucking interest in working 60, 70 hours a week, constantly reviewing articles and writing grants and running myself into the ground like she does. I am not built like she is; I’m emotionally volatile and need a wide range of stimulation to keep me motivated. I’m great at putting disparate things together, at coming up with ideas and looking for ways to make them work, but I am not a nose to the grindstone kind of person and no amount of forcing is going to make me one.
Today she told me that she can’t be responsible for my motivation; yesterday she lamented that I’m not more ambitious. “You’re so smart,” she says. “Everyone can tell from the moment they meet you that you’re intelligent. You could go so far. I’m upper-middle range at best — everything I have is because I worked for it.”
Well, so? Just because your parents want you to be something doesn’t mean you have to live their dreams for them, either. And forgive me for thinking that I’m pretty fucking ambitious already, since I am kinda getting a doctorate in behavioral neuroscience. What I do with my degree is my business, and I’m not somehow stealing from her by not wanting to kill myself trying to achieve more.
I like to think I’m smart enough to know what will and won’t make me happy, and I’m not without some pretty lofty goals. She just doesn’t see all of them.
- Become a more-than-decent hobbyist writer
- Master my emotional and mental health to the point where I feel comfortable gestating and nursing a child off of antidepressants, which cause birth defects
- Become organized and on top of my shit enough that I will be able to be a dependable professor and mother
- Get my fucking degree so I can be a fucking doctor of psychology
So she can back the fuck off.