Is it normal to feel like this two months after getting tenure? I presumably have all I have ever worked for, and yet I increasingly catch myself thinking: 10 more years, and then I am out of this crazy environment. I am constantly dreaming about my back up career - but I have no time to work on it on the side, like I had always imagined. There is absolutely nothing romantic about being an academic. The only upside about the presumed freedom (education/teaching always comes first) is that I can just show up late on days where it is simply too much for me to handle. I have been showing up late way too frequently.
It could be hormones, it could be total exhaustion and me being in need of a serious break - but I felt down all week. There is simply too much on my plate. I had to do experiments for one full day (one student couldn't operate an expensive piece of equipment and for another experiment my technician needed an extra pair of hands so I played assistant). It was good to get my mind off of all the boss business I usually fill my days with, but also a good reminder that I really do not miss bench work at all. Couldn't care less. I don't mind it either, but it doesn't make me happy. Just give me a computer and an office and leave me alone.
Except for the fact that of course I am never really left alone. I'm just running from meeting to meeting, from problem to problem with the piles of 'to do' and 'to read' and 'to grade' on my desk getting higher and higher. This week I was in a meeting for 2 hours and I had 20 e-mails waiting for me when I came back. I think half of it was spam. I may have deleted some important ones as well. Ah well. I had a meeting for which I had to read 40 pages of text and I had 15 minutes to prepare (thank goodness for my increased ability to play bluff poker). My to do list is now prioritised by the people who ask me "did you do this yet" after which "this" gets moved to the top (where it should have been weeks ago already, but where it was pushed out with other equally pressing to do's).
I just didn't like my job this week and I felt sorry for myself. Which I know is not productive, but sometimes I just cannot help it. Quite frankly, I left work in 'fuck this shit' mode last night. For now I don't care about grants, about papers or about anybody else. I just care about me and the fact that it feels like I am all alone, treading water to just prevent myself from sinking. I am so overwhelmed and under equipped that it feels like all I am doing is putting out fires with a leaking bucket.