Hurry up and wait

This is probably one of my favorite phrases, especially when referring to professional issues. I used to use this all the time in graduate school. We would use this all the time in graduate school. One of the best examples was when we preparing for a mesocosm experiment. We would spend so much time getting everything ready and perfect…and then frogs wouldn’t breed. I remember one field season where I was more prepared than ever before. I had my tanks up and ready a day before frogs had bred the previous year. Then? Nothing. An abnormally cold spring pushed back the breeding season for a month. So I waited; there was really nothing else to do. 

In my time as a fellow in my new position, I’m learning that “hurry up and wait” seems to be fairly ubiquitous across professions, even though the circumstances are a little different. For example, as a graduate school I was waiting on frogs to breed, whereas now I have to wait for clearance to process documents of a sensitive government nature (nothing that requires a security clearance, just timing issues). This is possibly the most frustrating part of my job. While I understand that this occurs everywhere, I do miss the freedom of academia. Sure, there are always situations where we will wait on someone else, even in academia, whether it’s a collaborator, getting revisions back from your adviser, or waiting to hear back from a journal that just takes way too long. However, for the most part, if something was delayed it was my fault. Not the case currently, which is likely the case for most individuals who are not their own boss. I must say that everyone I work with is absolutely amazing, I’m just used to (and I think prefer) more control over my work (who wouldn’t).

Starting a new job is always rough (there’s going to be a future post on that), so maybe my current “woes” are just an unfortunate byproduct of my new situation. I guess only time will tell. For now, there’s a ridiculous amount of hurry up, but there’s also a time to wait…


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