I’ve always hated the phrase “you are not your job” when used as a way to state that what you do for a living shouldn’t define who you are.
“But why, Claudia?”
I’ll tell you why! One of the first things we ask a new acquaintance/date/dude we sit next to on the bus is “what do you do?” And people respond with all sorts of things. “I am a barista.” “I am a student.” “I am a rocket scientist.” “I am currently unemployed.”
Clearly, jobs matter (or we just really suck at asking each other interesting questions).
So my claim is this: if we’re so bent on being interested in other peoples’ jobs, clearly we must think that the job itself has something to do with the person’s personality or likes or desires or whatnot.
And if we expect someone’s job to be a reflection of them (why else would we ask what they did for a living, after all?), clearly we think that there’s something going on where our jobs should at least bring us some modicum of joy.
So what am I saying? I’m saying that your job shouldn’t define who you are—you should find a job where your attitude about said job defines who you are.
EXAMPLE: suppose there’s this dude who really, really, really liked repairing watches. So he gets a job as a watch repairer. Now, watch repairer is probably not the sort of occupation where you’d think, “man, is that guy gonna change the world or what?!” And the dude doesn’t think so, either. But that doesn’t change the fact that he really, really, really likes enjoys his job because he’s doing what he likes to do.
And every time someone asks him what he does, he enthusiastically replies, “I’m a watch repairer!” as if it was the coolest, most important thing a person could be.
Because to him, it is.*
Now obviously I know we can’t always have jobs like this—or even that many of us won’t ever get to have jobs like this. But I think we should never stop striving to have jobs that we want to have define us. Because if we’re not enthusiastic about the thing we spend most of our waking hours doing, why are we even bothering with life?
*Note: this is pretty much how I feel about my current job
I know I’ve mentioned this on here before at least once, but I’m going to mention it again because it still pisses me off and I keep hearing it more and more nowadays.
Judging others by their musical tastes makes you look dumb.
Almost everywhere you go, especially on the internet, you’ll hear people judge one another based upon their musical tastes.
And on Failblog as well.
All I have to say is this: who freaking cares?
Music is subjective, people. It’s a form of art, like paintings or sculpture or pieces of lit. I don’t hear people going around berating each other because one dude likes Hemingway and some other dude likes Stephen King (okay, maybe with some of my friends I hear that, but it’s not nearly as common as “OMG u leik justn beeber ur a horable prsn go die in a fyre!!!111one!”).
Is it because music is just so exposed? It’s everywhere? Or is it because it’s something that everyone likes? I don’t think I’ve ever come across anyone who’s said they didn’t like music. Everyone likes music. Maybe it’s just something that’s so personal and so tied in with who you are that it’s easy to get overly defensive about it and kind of polarize music into “good” and “bad”.
But still, people…think about how stupid it is to judge others based on what conglomeration of sounds they prefer over others.
Unless they don’t like Sleepyhead. Then you can give them crap. ;)
So tonight my mom and I watched the Grammys. Adele, as predicted by many, pretty much took the whole show, winning every award she had been nominated for (I think). CNN.com posted an article about her sweeping success tonight and, unfortunately, opened the article up for comments.
Why “unfortunately”? Here are a few of said comments:
- “Adele is such a fat pig. I hope she has a heart attack.”
- “a fattie that hollers & screams and it’s accepted as music”
- “Oh, dont get us wrong, her singing sucks too. We hate that as well.”
- “its just the sounds of a hefty woman cackling & yelling”
- “british singers used to be great… before you started exporting chubbies”
- “she is hefty & homely hence the 2lbs of makeup caked on her mug”
We all know how I feel about size and sizeism, but putting all that aside—seriously, people? The woman has an amazing voice and you can’t get past her physical appearance? Chill the hell out and appreciate her talent, you jealous plebeians.
Holy freaking crap.
This list describes the “10 reasons Ph.D. students fail”, and it bugs the hell out of me.
Okay, I guess the list itself doesn’t bug me; the fact that the list contains the items it contains bugs me. Even had things been better in Vancouver in terms of…let’s just say “interpersonal relationships”…I probably still wouldn’t have stayed on for the Ph.D.
Read on, dear blog followers, and see all the reasons why I think the pursuit of a Ph.D. has been corrupted to the point where, in my opinion, it can no longer be considered a road to acquiring substantial knowledge of a specific subject and is instead a road to appeasing the “higher ups” in academia and a horribly misguided competition of who can get the most publications the fastest. PLEASE NOTE that while I’ll be ranting about this article, I’m not personally criticizing the author, Professor Matt Might, or his views/opinions. I agree with this list, actually. But like I said, it still pisses me off BECAUSE of its truth.
Professor Might thinks that a student can fail a Ph.D. if they:
1) Focus on grades or coursework. “During the first two years, students need to find an advisor, pick a research area, read a lot of papers and try small, exploratory research projects. Spending too much time on coursework distracts from these objectives.”
I disagree with this—in part. If coursework is so unimportant to the Ph.D. insanity, why do almost all Ph.D. programs require at least two or three classes? If taking classes truly detracts from research/reading/projects, why make it a requirement? Also, I think the importance of classes is underemphasized at the graduate level. I learned more in the seven or so classes I took in grad school than I did in the majority of undergrad (at least in statistics). ALSO also…shouldn’t the objective of a Ph.D. be “learning”?
2) Learn too much. “Some students go to Ph.D. school because they want to learn…but, it requires focused learning directed toward an eventual thesis. Taking (or sitting in on) non-required classes outside one’s focus is almost always a waste of time, and it’s always unnecessary.”
So in other words, learn only enough to get you to that peer-reviewed publication! Don’t waste your time with such frivolities like learning for learning’s sake or trying to expand your knowledge on your topic of choice by seeing how it relates to other areas of study! Don’t even bother with trying to get one step ahead on your subject matter by auditing/sitting in on a class that’s only slightly relevant to your specific project but may make what you’re studying easier to understand in general!
I took two classes in the statistics department that I didn’t need to take for my Master’s. In terms of being able to bend R to my will, one of them was the most useful class I took in the two years I was at UBC.
3) Expect perfection. “Perfectionism is a tragic affliction in academia, since it tends to hit the brightest the hardest.”
I think this is totally subjective. Some people work their best when they aim for perfection; others don’t.
4) Procrastinate. “Chronic perfectionists also tend to be procrastinators. So do eternal students with a drive to learn instead of research.”
I’ll talk about this one later.
5) Go rogue too soon/too late. “Going rogue before the student knows how to choose good topics and write well will end in wasted paper submissions and a grumpy advisor. On the other hand, continuing to act only when ordered to act past a certain point will strain an advisor that expects to start seeing a “return” on an investment of time and hard-won grant money.”
I understand the importance of this point, but not the reasoning behind it. Yes, it’s important to “break free” of your advisor at the appropriate time, but that time shouldn’t be based on grant money or number of publications or anything like that. As I’ve already mentioned, it should be about the learning process. The advisor/student relationship should develop and diverge when both parties feel that the student KNOWS enough to work more on their own, not when the student has PUBLISHED enough or the grant money is near depletion.
6) Treat Ph.D. school like school or work. “Ph.D. school is neither school nor work. Ph.D. school is a monastic experience. And, a jealous hobby. Solving problems and writing up papers well enough to pass peer review demands contemplative labor on days, nights and weekends.”
ASLdjfalgajfoifjdweojsagjafasf. The Ph.D. should not be school. It should not be work. It ALSO should not be “writing up papers well enough to pass peer review demands.” Yes, that’s important, especially in today’s hyper-competitive “if you’re not published you’re nobody” academic world (as sad as that is). But that’s NOT all a Ph.D. should be, and I think you’re screwing yourself over if you go in thinking that’s all there is to furthering your education.
7) Ignore the committee. “Another student I knew in grad school was told not to defend, based on the draft of his dissertation. He overruled his committee’s advice, and failed his defense. He was told to scrap his entire dissertaton and start over. It took him over ten years to finish his Ph.D.”
I can’t really assert my position on this point, as I had a fantastic committee with members who were super understanding of the circumstances surrounding my (slightly delayed) defense and who didn’t flip out and want my draft ten weeks prior to the defense. I think as long as you go to them and make clear what your plans are, then further discourse should be reasonable enough to avoid issues with the committee. Unless you get a bunch of jerks or something.
8) Aim too low. “This attitude guarantees that no professorship will be waiting for them.”
Or, more importantly, “this attitude guarantees that the student will not get out of the learning experience what one would hope one would gather from a 3-5 year stint in graduate school, or that it’s reflective of the fact that maybe they shouldn’t have chosen this educational path in [insert discipline here].” Again, I agree with the point, just not the reason behind it. Is the professorship the ONLY important thing one will get out of a Ph.D. program?
9) Aim too high. “It does not matter at all what you get your Ph.D. in. All that matters is that you get one. It’s the training that counts–not the topic.”
DISAGREEEEEE! Why in the hell would someone spend a good portion of their life pursuing a degree in a specific field while focusing on a single topic in that field that bores them to tears/annoys them to no end/makes them want to curl up in a ball and cry/makes them want to throw themselves off a bridge? How can the topic NOT matter? Of course I know that most Ph.D.s are not world-changing pieces of work that win Nobel Prizes, but should that be a reason for not selecting a topic that interests you? How does one not loathe the training if it is done so via a topic that doesn’t hold their interest? Sure, my research into fit indices used in structural equation modeling may not have saved the world from inevitable destruction, but (once I finally figured out what the hell I was doing) I enjoyed what I was studying. Plus, now I’m not finished with my Master’s and stranded alone without a topic of interest in my field of study.
10) Miss the REAL milestones. “Most schools require coursework, qualifiers, thesis proposal, thesis defense and dissertation. These are the requirements on paper. In practice, the real milestones are three good publications connected by a (perhaps loosely) unified theme.”
What about learning-/knowledge-related goals as the REAL milestones? Why shouldn’t “understanding the material well enough to consider yourself able to teach it to others” or “learning enough about the material to become excited about what you’re studying” considered milestones? They may not be as “practical,” but I don’t think that diminishes their importance. I also think such milestones are better in terms of avoiding burnout on your topic. If you’re focused solely on getting three publications under your belt, you’re probably much more likely to burn out than if you’re focused on truly understanding the material and becoming more enthusiastic about it.
This afternoon I was bored at home and with nothing else to do, I turned on the TV and watched The Doctors. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s an hour-long show featuring a team of medical professionals who respond to themed health concerns such as diabetes or flu prevention or healthy foods.
Usually these guys are pretty reasonable and accurate with their advice (at least in my opinion). But today’s show, which was focused on weight loss (“Six Ways to Weigh Less;” I’ll critique this theme in a minute), opened with an overweight young man talking about how his partner always cooked for him. This wouldn’t be a bad thing, he said, except for the fact that the foods she cooked were always high in calories and fat and she made him feel like he “had” to eat everything she prepared for him. He felt like he had pressure to finish everything she made for him and therefore felt like she was pressuring him into being overweight.
Yeah, okay, I can respect his concerns. However, I did have issues with how the doctors interpreted the situation following the clip.
They basically said that the sole reason a partner/spouse would “make” or “keep” their significant other overweight is due to insecurity. Basically, they make their significant other overweight and thus decrease their desirability to others, insuring the already existing relationship against possible outside threats.
I have multiple problems with this statement. Actually, I have several problems with this episode. Bullet time!
- The Doctors emphasize multiple times that the episode is focused on making people healthier, and yet it is explicitly titled and referred to as “Six Ways to Weigh Less.” Because we all know that weighing less = increased health. Always. Totally. Except it doesn’t. YES, for those people carrying about a significant amount of weight, the loss of this weight can improve overall health. But it has been shown in several studies that people who are slightly heavier than “average” using the BMI as a gauge (which is screwy anyway) actually live longer than those of low or average weight. But since we’ve all been told that weighing less = being healthier no matter what, I guess that’s what we’ll have to believe.
- I don’t like the implication that the woman who is supposedly over-feeding her partner is doing so deliberately. Maybe she’s of a background where food = caring. Maybe she is positively reinforced when her partner finishes her large/calorie-heavy meals and therefore continues to make them large/calorie-heavy. Maybe she just likes to cook. Who knows? I think it’s pretty bad to assume she has some sort of ulterior motive here.
- Speaking of the idea of an ulterior motive, how about that idea that the motive is as sinister as keeping her partner “unattractive” to others in order to preserve their relationship? I think jumping to this conclusion puts every fat admirer (or FA, or anyone else who doesn’t have a problem with large people) in a bad light. Most of us who like heavier people do not have this insecurity-driven reason for our preferences. If I had a partner, I wouldn’t want him to be heavy unless he wanted to be heavy and was accepting of all the pros and cons surrounding being of a certain size. I certainly wouldn’t want to purposely make him fat with the intention of making him “unappealing” to others in order to preserve our relationship. That’s depressing and totally not representative, in my opinion, of the attitudes of most FAs.
- Oh, and one last point relating to the previous one: FAT != UNATTRACTIVE. STOP REINFORCING THIS ASLDFJDLGKAVEAFIFJANDFAJGHH.
Okay I’m done.
30-Day Meme – Day 13: How do you think others view you?
Haha, who knows after reading the above rant. I think other people think I’m weird, I really do. I’m short, I wear weird stuff, I’m quiet unless you get me all riled up about something (see above), I like stats, and I’m a band geek. Weirdness is my forte.
Though I could be completely wrong.
Helpful handy tips for you clueless rec center ladies and gentlemen out there:
- Don’t use the inner/outer thigh machine as a place to park your butt for half an hour.
- Those little spray bottles with the disinfectant in them? There are like five of them in the whole gym. Please don’t take them individually back to your machine when you’re done. Spray the towel with them at the station, and take the towel only.
- The mats are for stretching or situps, not for standing in a circle with your girlfriends gossiping about the basketball team.
- Talking to your friend a machine over is very distracting and obnoxious to the poor soul stuck in between you two.
- Just because your locker is next to the bench does not mean you should spread all your crap out over the entire bench.
- Do you really need the 8, 10, 12, and 15 pound dumbbells at the same time? Please put them back on the rack if you’re going to do more than three reps with a different weight before going back.
- Yes, you’ve got nice arm muscles. Yes, your hair looks fine. Yes, your butt looks hot in those tight pants. Can you please step away from the mirror now so I can work my triceps?
- Can you people pry yourselves away from your cellphones for HALF AN HOUR? Good lord, we can’t be separated from our social crutches for half a second anymore.
That is all.
Dear undergraduates of the world:
So there’s this cool little invention I’d like to tell you all about, ‘cause I think it could really improve your life and the lives of those around you. It’s called a staple and it’s here to reinvent the idea of a cohesive set of homework pages belonging to a single individual.
Let me lead you now through the thought process of an overworked TA as they truck through the grading of 100+ intro stats assignments.
1:23 AM: Only ten more assignments to go, this shouldn’t take much longer!
1:24 AM: Oh look, this group of papers is held together by a folded corner. What genius thought that type of binding would hold up being shoved around in a box with 200 other assignments?
1:24 AM: Surprise surprise, there’s only a name on the first sheet.
1:24 AM: And the sheets are all done in different colors of pen (seriously, this really happens).
1:27 AM: Now that I’ve wasted precious minutes making sure the handwriting looks similar enough across the pages to assume that they came from the same individual, let’s get down to grading.
1:31 AM: Handling grading this with the key would be much more streamlined if these pages were all somehow cohesively bound.
1:36 AM: I HATE THIS STUDENT SO MUCH RIGHT NOW.
1:38 AM: THEY CAN’T SPELL OR ATTACH PIECES OF PAPER TO ONE ANOTHER.
1:38 AM: F-!
1:39 AM: MUST TRY TO LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE TO SURVIVABLE LEVEL.
1:48 AM: Sigh. Okay. That one’s done. Let’s move on.
1:49 AM: Oh look, this group of papers is held together by a folded corner.
Seriously. Not a tough concept. Staples are not an endangered species, nor are they protected under any sort of natural resource safeguard law.
Use them. PLEASE.
Random lighthearted Facebook bitch session – commence!
I know that like half of you people who actually read this already have the new profile, but I don’t ‘cause I hate change.
Facebook itself, on the other hand, can’t seem to get enough of it.
So I get this little warning message this afternoon when I logged on—something to the effect of “because you haven’t manually switched over to the new profile yet, we’re going to do it for you! You have ten days to say your goodbyes to the old layout.”
I actually can’t complain about that last part, considering the current (or old) layout pretty much blows.
But what I can complain about is the CONSTANT DAMN CHANGES WTF FACEBOOK.
I think my favorite part is the “about” section wherein they introduce the new layout like Steve Jobs introduces a new product (video, indie music, and shots of someone having a semi-normal existence with [insert new product here]). I mean come on, it’s not like we have a choice here. If we’re staying on Facebook we’re getting the “upgrade” whether we like it or not, so why try to introduce it like some revolutionary new MUST HAVE thing?
Zuckerberg, I am disappoint.
What “F” word, you ask?
Last Monday Maura Kelly, a writer for Marie Claire magazine, posted this controversial blog in which she openly stated her opinion regarding fat people showing public affection (both on TV and in real life). She has since augmented the post with a somewhat lacking apology, but not before hundreds of comments were posted calling her, among other things, shallow, rude, and bigoted. There are now thousands of comments to this article, with a surprising number of individuals stating in so many words how “sizeism” like that displayed in the article should not be tolerated.
Now if you know anything about me (which you may or may not, depending on how you’ve stumbled across this particular entry), you know I have something to say about this. In brief, I like fat. I think fat is sexy. This is not to be confused with the idea that I support people getting/staying fat for cosmetic reasons. Saying to a loved one “you’d look so much better if you gained weight” is equivalently as bad as saying “you’d look so much better if you lost 5/10/25 pounds,” especially if it’s just for vanity reasons.
When I say “I like fat” I mean that if someone is overweight and they are comfortable with it (and the possible health risks associated with it), then I fully support it and have no issues with how they look.
So after hearing that, it may come as a surprise that, in a weird way, this article made me happy. I guess I was surprised at the number of people who came forward who openly admitted to being angered by Kelly’s words. It made me happy to see so many people as upset by her article as I was.
That being said, of course there was the number of posts that, while not necessarily agreeing with her, cited the ever-popular argument that “being fat is a drain on government money because of the associated health risks” and therefore being fat is bad.
Here’s where I feel I should comment. I understand this concern (and I’ll address it momentarily), but what I don’t see is why these people are making that comment on Kelly’s blog. Nowhere does she discuss the “health drain” that being fat supposedly is; she simply discusses how grossed out she gets by two heavier people making out in public. How is that related to health issues? It’s like trying to argue that because smoking causes high health costs, two smokers making out should therefore be viewed as bad.
Anyway, that was just an aside.
What I really want to address is this idea that being fat is “bad” because it causes higher health costs (at least in the States, where there is a super high percentage of overweight and obese individuals). I can understand this logic insofar as the general reasoning, but I think a lot of people who make this argument fail to see the other important sides of it.
What do I mean? Well, let’s look at it this way. In the extreme version of this argument, people “choose” to be fat by eating too much and exercising to little. Therefore, they choose to become overweight, and this choice, when chosen by a large amount of people, leads to higher healthcare costs. Let’s ignore arguments that take into account genetic contributions or other illnesses that lead to people gaining weight and just focus on this extreme version.
Obviously, such an extreme argument can be applied loosely to other choices that also can lead to higher healthcare costs. A small example: drug consumption. People “choose” to begin to consume, say, prescription drugs that they don’t need, a select number develop an addiction that is often followed by a myriad number of health conditions that, if enough people exhibit these symptoms, can raise healthcare costs.
I’m not equating obesity to prescription drug abuse (‘cause that would be dumb), but I AM trying to make the following point: people seem to place a large amount of the “this is why healthcare costs are increasing” blame on overweight and obese people while, if things were broken down a different way, I think we would see that there are enough instances of OTHER risky health-related behaviors (that are unregulated by the government) that can be seen as raising healthcare costs just as much as the obesity epidemic.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this: obesity is probably chosen as the scapegoat health issue because 1) it IS becoming an epidemic if it isn’t one already, and 2) it’s a very obvious issue, “obvious” meaning that it’s something others can simply look around themselves to see. You can’t just look around to pick out the people that may be drinking too much or abusing drugs or doing any number of other risky health-related things, but you CAN do that with obesity, and I think that’s why a lot of people are so hard on individuals who happen to be carrying extra weight.
I don’t know. This may be total BS, but that’s what Ms. Kelly’s blog reminded me of. It also got me quite upset because of the nature of her tone, but I decided not to blog about that to save my blood pressure from spiking.
Today’s song: Heat of the Moment by Asia