Moving the goalposts

My Dad spent a long time in the military. One of the side-effects of this career is obsessive punctuality (something which all three of his daughters have picked up. Seriously- no one worries about being on time as much as we do). My Dad also likes to do things efficiently. The result of this is that if we have an agreed upon time at which we are going to do something (like get in the car to start a lengthy drive to visit relatives) and my Dad happens to wake up earlier than expected that particular morning, he has a bad habit of trying to move up the departure time to the new time at which HE will be ready. He won’t tell any of us this (because we are all still sleeping, assuming the original departure time still stands), but he will get crankier and crankier as the morning progresses, even if we are all in the car two minutes before we were originally supposed to leave (see? we’ve all been well trained), because HE could have left earlier.

Now that we’ve all realized he does it, we’ve started calling him on it a bit more. “Dad,” we’ll say, while we eat breakfast and he “lounges” in the living room, showered, dressed, fed, and obviously dying to hit the road. “Stop moving the goalposts.”

He is getting better. I find it hilarious, except that apparently I do it too. Q. nearly always calls me out on it, and most of the time it is a result of the difference between us about how long I think it will take to get somewhere (because we have to be there early) and how long Q. thinks it will take (because the world won’t end if we’re five minutes late because we didn’t get a smooth transit connection). But, I have to admit, there are times where I’ve done things really efficiently and then thought to myself, “Hey, we could leave half an hour earlier now!”

I am my father’s daughter.

It’s all fun and games until the goalposts get moved on you. Yesterday my supervisor e-mailed to say that the prof he’d approached is willing to act as my external examiner. This particular prof is quite a big name in our field, and if he likes the thesis it will be a very good thing to have him as a referee.

But he moved my goalposts. He’s supposed to only get the thesis six weeks before the scheduled defense date, but he’s asked for it ASAP (pleading bad eyesight as slowing any reading progress).

My supervisor supports me, and has reiterated that this prof can’t demand the thesis before the six week mark, but his e-mails have had an underlying tone of “if there is any possible way to get things done earlier that would really be good”.

So today I talk to the admin assistant at E.’s nursery school to see if E. can stay for the afternoon session on Friday this week and for two days next week as well. Last night Q. agreed to basically be a single parent for the next two weekends.

I just had a fire lit under my ass when it comes to getting the revisions done.

October 6th.

That’s my new goalpost.



Filed under Anxiety Overload, Family, PhD

7 responses to “Moving the goalposts

  1. OMG good luck!! You can do it!

  2. oooof! It will be ok, and you will get it done, superstar and hard worker that you are. Hurrah for a well-respected external and a defense date, those are big hoops you have accomplished! The revisions will happen, and it will be painful to compress them all into that time frame, but then! Then a break! I am sorry the goalposts moved on you, I too-well understand the frantic rescheduling that requires of the calendar blocks in your mind. Reshuffle, and then have a tea and reset, so as to approach the thesis with it as your focus, not the deadline. Also because tea makes everything better.

  3. So great to have Q’s support and help!

  4. I absolutely loved this post and the analogy of having the goalpost moved. I know that you will rock this out and it will be perfect! No worries hun! xo

  5. Turia

    Thanks, everyone. I am powering along. Still a lot to do, but at least the hysterical weeping breakdowns have stopped for now.

  6. Wow! On the one hand, how frustrating and anxiety provoking. But! It sounds like you really can make the new goal, and wow! You are so close to done!

  7. Pingback: Preschooler cosmology | Res Cogitatae

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