I’m been a habitual people-pleaser. When I was young, whatever my parents wanted of me I have it to them: sports and school success. In college I delivered on both for my parents, and friends were always taking advantage, err, asking me for help. When I was working in industry the higher ups knew that my group would always deliver whether on a scientific study, new device, or just an outreach event. Stretching myself thin was something I became accustomed to. And I didn’t fail. Deadlines were always easy.
This all ends right now. I am finding that I’m running out of time. It’s not that I’m doing anything complicated (so far, my industry work has been more complicated) but there are so many little crappy things to do. For the first time in ages I’ve turned down a task that a superior has asked me to do because I can’t be part of a sixth committee when I’m still in my first semester. It’s a committee that works on collaborating with surrounding hospitals. I’d love to, but just can’t. In addition, my department wants me to be the one in the department that submits to this internal grant to just show face. I’d love to deliver, but I can’t be the Phindustry of old and always say yes. I’m used to working all the time, but not used to so many small tasks. I’m going to have to get used to making only most people happy. This will be tough. Or be happy with subpar work. And that will never ever happen.
On the plus side, my students are kind of taking after me and completing everything I give to them. I’m genuinely surprised. I don’t have kids, but watching every little thing they do and inferring how great they’ll be as scientists is something I realized I like doing.