Wednesday, March 15, 2006

humble pie

so i keep hearing from people that i need to take time off from work to focus and finish my thesis. i already decided a while ago to take about 8 work days off to finish up my thesis in late april. three days ago i thought, "what if i can't finish everything in those days?" then i panicked. lately i have left 2 of my four schools to my interns. i thought this would give me time to work on my thesis, but on those days i go into the office to catch up on office work and planning for a big field trip. my boss keeps telling me to take time off; she actually encourages it. yesterday i realized there is no reason for me to not do so. according to my last time sheet i have over 400 hours of vacation time/ sick leave/ and comp time (overtime i've worked that converts to vacation time, not money). with 400 hours, why am i still on the fence?

actually, i am no longer on the fence. today i decided to work four days a week for the next two weeks and see where i can go from there. how did i come to this monumental decision?

1. i realized that i only complete about 80-90% of what i need to do in a 40-hour week. well i knew this before and that's why i didn't want to take time off in the first place. i already feel behind and working 4 days will put me even more behind. what changed my mind? the amount of work we have to do is infinite. i will never finish it (mainly b/c the expectations are unrealistic). my thesis however is finite. there is an end and if i squint hard enough i can see the end! i may as well concentrate on what i can finish and let the rest pile up.

2. i didn't want to take time off b/c i was too proud to admit that i cannot work a 40-hour week and go to school full time, at least not while writing my thesis. unfortunately i am not superwoman.

3. i didn't want people at work to think that i was slacking or not contributing enough. screw that. i do a lot at my damn job and if those bastards can't see it well... actually i don't know what to say here. but for real, who else can you ask at like 7:30 saturday morning to lead a campus tour at 9:30?

4. Finally, i realized that my perception of work is influenced by my parents. i grew up w/ parents who when self-employed worked 60-hour weeks, no vacations. even as employees of other people, they rarely take time off. family vacations? on the first day of school, the elaborate family vacations i reported to my class were all made up*. the one time we actually took a vacation we went camping in Yosemite. too bad i only knew the way my parents pronounced it "yo-seh-mee-teh". my teacher was like huh?! anyway, i think my parents' work habits really rubbed off on me. it seems very luxurious to take time off whenever i want/ need. deep down inside i am still struggling w/ my entrance into the middle class. it's embarrassing. i feel like by taking my time off, my working class roots, which i think have given me a lot of positive attributes, are losing hold. actually this is something that i have struggled with since sophomore year of college. privilege is hard to accept. i know though that my parents would slap me upside the head and tell me to take time off and graduate on time. they bust their butts and backs for me and my sis. it's prolly insulting and mindblowing to them when we don't take hold over everything we have that they don't.

so? next tuesday i am officially taking a day off! i'll prolly just call in sick, but i'm excited. my four day weeks did come a little late though. i have a self-imposed deadline of having my curriculum done by monday. (yikes!!) tuesday will give me time to do write up an eval sheet for my curriculum and send it out to folks. maybe in two months i'll be hooded!

* i actually spent a lot of my youth making stuff up. i.e. Daily Journal (please write in cursive): What did you eat for breakfast this morning? Answer: "This morning I ate cereal, pancakes with blueberriese and syrub, scrambled eggs, bacon, and grapefruit. i also drank milk and orange juice." what did i really eat in the mornings? leftover rice and kimchee stew. but TV shows that whole spread for American breakfasts! my teacher must have been like, "how does this lil chinese girl eat all that food?! " Homework: Draw your Family tree. I'd ask my dad what harubjee's name was and my dad would be like "why do you need to know his name?" "it's for homework" to this day i still don't know the names of any of my grandparents. what would i turn in for homework? grandpa joe & grandma sarah, grandad bob & grandmom sally. obviously, school alienated me from my family life.


Anonymous said...

I really like this image of young Amy making up her blonde, pancake-eating American family.

Even I never had pancakes for breakfast on a school day! (Unless it was pick-up-the-paper-from-the-printers-day and we went to Denny's.) I think most upper-middle-class white American kids eat cereal. Or Pop Tarts. Or, you know, nothing.

Good luck with the thesis et al. I know how hard it is to prioritize once you've taken on too much.

<3 Marie

Hui Jeong said...

thanks for bursting my American Dream Bubble, Marie. :) but, you and your family are not necessarily all-American. didn't your dad run nekkid marathons or something? where's your wedding at?