Friday, July 23, 2010

Hyper Mellow Break Time

Not long ago I had dinner with some friends who have known me for ~30 years.

At one point, late in the evening, after we'd been talking for a long time, one of my friends said to me "You're so mellow. You've always been a really mellow person."

Another friend literally spit out her wine and screamed "Omigod, she is the least mellow person on this planet!"

I'm not sure what that means. I am moody? At least one of my friends was drunk?

Or that people, even friends -- even very good friends -- will perceive each other in very different ways. This is not surprising, but it may mean there is no hope of us ever being understood by our colleagues and students and others who know us less well and who interact with us in more stressful circumstances.

It may also mean that I am simultaneously a nice, mellow person and a hyper-aggressive, competitive jerk.

In an effort to find a good mellow-hyper balance and to recharge and to focus intensely on Science while my daughter is away at a summer camp, I am taking next week off from blogging.

Thanks for reading, no matter what you think of me, my life, my choice of topics, and how I present my views.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

i found your blog over a year ago as i was trying to finish up grad school and I've read it daily ever since. it helped me realize that what I saw in my dept was in fact real (sexism) and that I wasn't crazy for feeling that way and it helped me stick it out to finish my phd. thank you. enjoy your break.

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Enjoy your week off, and may no one harsh your mellow.

Anonymous said...

On the contrary I think that colleagues and students - people who do not know you as well as close friends - who are people who you keep at arm's length, will have a more 'consistent' view of you than your friends. This is simply by virtue of the fact that they do not know every facet of you and are not privy to what's going on in your personal life through which to interpret your actions and words the way your personal friends and family would be. Your colleagues only see the same limited aspect of you all the time.

EliRabett said...

Try tightly wound. It goes with the terratory

Anonymous said...

I am definitely rather type A in some aspects of my life and type B in others and probably that's the case for most people. Though it would be interesting to know why these two friends saw only one or the other! :)

Have a great blog-cation and gl with your research. Maybe I'll take a parallel vacation from READING blogs and actually get my own research done. :p

Anonymous said...

I would take it as a compliment, really: you know when and how *not* to be mellow, and when to turn the intensity on. Balance and recovery of energy are crucial to being able to turn on the intensity when it's needed, at least for me.

Enjoy your week off!

kt said...

By not mellow they might mean intense. I get similar contradictory reactions, because I'm relatively quiet and calm on the surface at almost all times.

Anonymous said...

Your friends' comments are really interesting. I was always trying to figure out my PhD adviser's real personality and real feelings about this. I feel like it's really obvious that I'm a tightly wound, anxious, neurotic stressball who also has fun doing science (when she can forget about all the politics and judgment involved--else, despair, workaholism, insomnia, & misery), and my adviser seemed much more chill. She flared up over peer-review injustices and attribution errors but from day to day seemed pretty happy with things. My very successful labmate always seemed upbeat too. I've always been envious, but I wonder how well I know them. Some people play their emotional cards pretty close to their chest, you know?

Anonymous said...

I'm the previous anon. What's funny was that when I came to my new position, someone mentioned offhand that I didn't seem like an anxious person. I rolled my eyes and stuck out my tongue because I thought he was joking. He insisted he wasn't.

I keep thinking I'd have an easier time, and would've had an easier time in grad school, had I known the kinds of stresses and doubts that other people have. I keep wondering if I'm really cut out for this.

Naomi said...

For the past year I have followed your blog. Your commentary on academic culture and the grad student-advisor relationship have been especially helpful for me. I appreciate the time and effort you devote to FSP! Have a fantastic week off!

Meg said...

Glad to stumble upon your blog. I'm a young woman & a recent anthropology graduate who has become interested in physics as a hobby. I am considering pursuing some form of future degree where I might combine my love of people and culture with my curiosity about the universe. I don't know if this hybrid field exists yet, but I'm hopeful.

Anyway, I too have a dorky physics blog linked below.
I write poetry about physics.

Ms.PhD said...

You're such a scientist. As if something like "mellow" could be objectively determined! Pah!

No, the point is that "mellow" is subjective. To one friend, you're more mellow that they are. To the next, you're less mellow than they are. Whether they admire that or not is entirely in the eye of the beholder.

FWIW, most of my scientist friends think they are mellow- but actually are not.

On the other hand, my yoga instructor is an incredibly anxious person, even if in her actions she manages not to foist that off on others.

Or maybe we're all more mellow in our old age than we were when we were younger? But our longtime friends sometimes have a hard time seeing that change.

One of my old friends told me recently that I'm much more mellow than I used to be. I wasn't sure if that was a compliment. And I'm not sure if she reads my blog. ;-)

Also- be proud that you have to actually announce that you're taking a break off, lest your adoring fans grow restless. =D

Comrade PhysioProf said...

You can't take a whole week off! What kind of fucking shithole blog is this!?!? UNSUBSCRIBERING.

Thomas Joseph said...

It probably proves the old adage that you cannot please all people all the time. Why? Because some will think you're nice, while others will think you're a jerk.

Fault Rocks said...

Thought you might enjoy this excerpt from my teaching evals last term:

Please comment on how the instructor's teaching helped your learning in this course:
"SHE'S KIND OF A DICK, BUT IN A GOOD WAY. DEFINITELY WORKS FOR ME."

Please suggest how the instructor's teaching might improve:
"SOMETIMES SHE WAS NICE, THAT WASN'T AS GOOD"

inBetween said...

I really enjoy and appreciate your blog, and have encouraged a significant number of other people to read it. Thanks for sharing and being here. Have a wonderful week off!

Anonymous said...

Why is this surprising? There are women who are labelled as horrid, competitive hags, "nasty bitches", and all sorts of similar epithets by all around her in the workplace. In the typical case, does she beat and abuse and impose water torture on her children? Or her pet cat? No. She would be typically very motherly and nurturing towards people or animals under her care.

engineering girl said...

I found this blog when I was a senior in undergrad, trying to get some insight into whether I wanted to do industry or academia. My masters degree was most helpful in that, but this blog definitely added extra insight. Thanks for taking the time to write it, and enjoy the break!

Unbalanced Reaction said...

This is really funny. The voice in my head that I read your posts in is very soothing, actually. I think it started after reading your books. It's a nice break from some of the louder voices that I read other blogs in, mine included. (For the record, I am one of the least mellow people I know.)

Oh, god. I just admitted that I hear voices, huh? Maybe I need a break, too!

Anonymous said...

You're welcome! Thank you for writing the blog.

Anonymous said...

Does sexism take a week off? No! Neither should you.

Anonymous said...

The Quota Question:

If you had 3 qualified applicants for 2 positions, would you choose publicly by lot, or by some other means? If other, how?

I pose the question this way because there is only one college, Hillsdale, which declines public funds: All others take federal money which, I maintain, obligates them to some kind of publicly-perceived form of fairness. That standard may vary from place to place...