Time time. The pain I am in every day is in part about being kicked by time and interpretations of time, exhortations about how to squeeze time. I know how to use time but after becoming a professor I lost confidence in my perceptions, as it was at that point people began to assume I would not know how to use time and began exhorting me.
For example: I have a lot of freshmen to teach and managing the complex course materials takes some time (there are two required, very complex web sites, not designed by me, in addition to a labyrinthine set of printed materials, DVDs, and CDs). Talking to the students takes time, as does coming up with ways to make class go well. I have a great deal of fear and guilt associated with this because I was exhorted so much, for so long, never to spend time on these courses. I know, it will never get me anywhere. I know, I have been told, I know.
Those teaching other sections, however, give themselves the amount of time they need and feel happier than I do. The time I save by rushing is time in which I am exhausted. Yet if I do not rush, I live in fear of exhortations about time. I must rush. If I cannot show that I am rushing and have rushed, I will meet certain doom.
So I teach these courses in the shadow of two conflicting fears:
1) what will be said of me if I do well at it, namely, that I am fit for nothing else, or that I am interested in nothing else (this is a primordial fear)
2) what will be done if I do not bend over backwards to keep said freshmen completely happy at all times (this is another primordial fear, that conflicts with the first).
I literally feel as though I had two police officers kicking me to death, one from each side: one because I am spending any time at all on this project, and the other because I am not spending all my time on it.
Is it possible that my extreme unhappiness in the kind of academic job I have usually had, and the amount of energy I have to put in each day to keep that unhappiness enough at bay so as to function at a minimal level, makes it impossible for me to put myself in a position to do the kind of academic work I would really like to do?
That is the conclusion to which I arrived years ago but everyone else said:
a) nonsense, you can do it and you should/must, or
b) this is your fault, you committed the sin of getting a PhD and now you must atone for it — in the name of those who did not get jobs, and also because you were told you should not do a PhD and you did it anyway, so this is what you get.