I had to take a sick day yesterday, like a real one where you stay in bed and watch an 80s movie and try not to think about all the work that you have to do. I am fully remote in my work, which makes sick days particularly challenging, because my home office is twenty feet away from my bed, beckoning to me to come do all the work.
I feel better today, and I'm really grateful for that. I'm working on never taking these good days for granted. I noticed, though, that when I sat down to look over my schedule this morning, I was in attack mode.
My rationale was that since I didn't work much yesterday, I needed to work twice as hard today. Isn't that funny that this was my first instinct? Because when you think of it, doesn't it make more sense to take it slow today, since my body is still likely trying to return to its balance point? I took a breath, and let go of attack mode. I decided to move at a steady, sustainable pace instead. So far, so good.
I'm realizing that after a gorgeous break this summer, where I spent an inordinate amount of time in a hammock, I came back to work in August like this guy:
I think we talk a lot about getting burned out in jobs we hate, but not nearly enough about how doing work we love, with people we love, also requires us to set healthy boundaries for ourselves. That's been true for me, at least. I love the work I'm doing, and I want to do more. Which is a good problem to have, as they say, but if I don't take time out for rest and relaxation, it won't be sustainable.
Sustainable work: slow and steady. I want to learn more about that, write more about that, and find others who are having that conversation.
As I was writing this post, I saw a professor post on Twitter about taking a sick day, and felt a little less alone. Higher education, in general, can be a tough space to share our human frailties. Writing this feels weird and vulnerable, and I came THIS CLOSE to stopping myself, and writing something confident and bold and focused and strong instead.
But I want to hear from more people in higher education about the art and science of being human, and I've learned that if you want to see more of something in the world, you have to be willing to start with yourself.
I posted about goal setting, time management, and planning on Sunday night. I have a plan to do more work in that space, as I love talking to people about those topics, sharing what I know, and learning from them. The past couple of days have been a reminder for me that always, always, within that conversation about working toward our goals, we need to remember our bodies and spirits, instead of just focusing on where our minds want to go.
One of the goals that I set this summer was to blog consistently, every Monday. So far, so good. I've planned out post topics through the end of December. This week's post was supposed to be about turning 40, but I sort of covered that last week. In short, it wasn't a big deal. It was a good day. Birthdays are weird.
That left me with a hole in my blogging plans this morning. As I was thinking about what I could write about, I remembered one of the reasons that I decided to start blogging in the first place: because while I do love to see my work published on a broader scale, the outlets that bring that broader scale often take time. If you sit down to pour your heart into an essay in March, you might not see those words in print until May, or even until the following March. It's the nature of the beast, and I've made peace with it. But the beauty of a blog is that I can comment more efficiently on things that are happening in my life, or the world, right now.
On Friday, I posed a question on Twitter:
I had been out for my daily walk with my dog, and as I do on those walks, I was thinking a bit. About the world. About men. About what I can and can't control. About higher education. About feminism. About how much work we've done and how much there still is to do.
When I posted this, I expected to grab a few names of cool women who might lift my spirits a bit. I've since lost count of the numbers of responses this tweet received. Over the weekend, I thought about this post quite a bit. I just wrote a bit about those thoughts, and deleted it all. I'm going to write about my hopes instead.
I hope you made a friend.
I hope that everyone who engaged with this tweet found a new Twitter friend. Life is hard. The world is on fire. I hope you found someone who gets pumped about the same things that you get pumped about, or angry about the same things, or who has a similar job title, or whatever. As a fully remote worker, the friendships that I've formed online sustain me. I hope you found a source of support. We need each other.
I hope you sought out diverse connections.
I scrolled through as many of the responses as I could, clicking on tons of handles, and was intentional about following women of color. Not only will I have the chance to connect with them now, and learn from them, but I'm also in a better position to amplify their work. One woman I followed, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, recently shared an essay she wrote on the rules of diversity. I read it over the weekend, and it is hard and good. I hope you'll take a minute to read it, and sit with its lessons. I hope you will think about who you choose to follow on #followfriday.
I'd be remiss if I didn't share this important tweet from Beth Godbee. I hope you'll follow Beth as well, and think about her tweet.
I hope manels and their equivalent will die out.
Women's work in the #highered space, at conferences, and in our trade publications is underrepresented. It's unacceptable. It's annoying. And in the words of Dr. Lee Skallerup Bessette, we don't want to hear about it anymore.
I hope that women (and men) in #highered will get louder about calling about this lack of representation. I hope they'll submit their work like crazy. I hope our trade publications will do better. Parity is the goal. Inside Higher Ed and The Chronicle of Education, do we have parity yet? Why not?
Here's a list of #highered publications accepting submissions They pay.
I hope we will all refuse to sit in front of another manel. I hope that those of us in positions of privilege will ask what conferences are doing to ensure diverse representation before we agree to present.
I hope we'll continue this conversation.
What's next? I was left wondering about creating a shared online space for us to support each other and amplify each other's voices. I've been following @WomenEd, a group of women leaders in education based in the U.K. They've been hosting "unconferences" for women. Could we do the same in the U.S.?
And not for nothing, but we're doing some pretty effing amazing work at Women in Higher Education, so stop by our website, subscribe, and support our mission to "enlighten, encourage, empower and enrage women on campus."
I hope to continue this conversation.
I hope you have a great week.
I'm committed to blogging once a week for this academic year. Thanks for joining me on that journey. Check back Monday-ish for new posts.