Work and vacations

Some relatively big issues at work are threatening to transform my annual Thanksgiving trip to Canada into a two-weeks-after-Thanksgiving trip to Canada. And that sucks big time.

Some of it couldn’t be helped and some of it is due to some semi-major screw-ups by a department outside the library. But it’s forcing me to change some long-held plans and forcing me to travel at a time that won’t be as enjoyable for me for a variety of reasons. And it’s making me think about how these days I let my work dictate a lot more aspects of my life than I used to. In some ways I fear I’ve become something I used to scorn: one of those people who substitutes a job for a life.

In some ways this is understandable, I guess. I have an actual career and a profession for the first time in my life, so it stands to reason I would give work more attention than I used to when I was working a collection of freelance gigs and pointless jobs that held no real future for me. There’s actually a reason for me to pay attention to work now. Even more importantly, I like my job. Most weeks, at least. And right now, I’m chasing tenure. There are dues to pay, dammit.

But I often find myself worrying that I’m expecting work to give me more satisfaction than it can really provide. Over the past year or two, I’ve been sort of leaning on work to make up for all the rest of the stuff that’s missing in my life–and also to provide me with an escape from the giant pile of misery that dealing with my family has become. With so many nights now having to involve a visit with one of them on the way home, I actually look forward to being able to stay late at work because it means I get to actually decide what to do with my evening rather than having a predetermined commitment. I’m really worried that I’m going to burn out if I keep expecting my job to take up so much of the slack. Especially if I let it keep me from traveling, which is about the only other thing I really get excited about these days.

Anyway, just navel-gazing again, I guess. Admittedly this fall is a particularly hectic time for me at work due mostly to a lot of staffing issues and the fact that I have some major things due much sooner than I care to admit. It’ll get better in a few months. Probably just in time for my mom or dad to have another major episode.

And now back to your regularly-scheduled fifteen-year-old road trip.

Sorry. This was kind of whiny…

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