Over the past few years, I have definitely gotten better at saying "no" to things that I just cannot handle or don't want to do. But, I still really have a problem with stopping my involvement with something. I think it's because I feel like I will let a lot of people down if I don't continue.
For example, this whole outreach program I've been trying to set up for the telescope that is slated to shut down later this year...I just don't know about it anymore. In fact, I've felt this way since day one. Yes, it would be really great for that facility to be used for outreach and education. And, yes, it would be cool to develop the program.
- I honestly do not like working with some of the people that I would have to be in contact with on a regular basis (and, as I learned during my PhD, is a very bad thing for happiness)
- I feel that I'm only doing this because I'm the "last line of defense"
- There is SO much work to even make the facility accessible to the public, most of which I don't really care about.
- The project is just getting out of hand. In the beginning, I just wanted it to be a simple outreach program...now it's turning into a circus, with symphony orchestras, charity balls, and VIP dinners.
- I feel that my time is being consumed by this project, even though it is not my job.
- I feel like I took it on so I could make a job for myself, instead of putting myself out there and searching for something that I really want to do (or...gah...even going back to school) --- like it was the "easy" way out for me, so that I wouldn't have to think about my career.
Even with all of these negative points (and other factors that I won't get into now), I just can't bring myself to say to everyone that I don't want to do it anymore (even though I said in the very beginning that I will make no promises). I feel like people will be let down, because I'm the last person who is trying to do something with this observatory. I also feel like they'll think I'm a failure or a "quitter" because I'm just not willing to put in the time and effort.
In fact, I even feel my lovely blog readers will feel this way about me because I was so (apparently) gung-ho about this project just a short time ago.
Initially, I had put myself on a time-line: if nothing came of the program by a certain date, I would end it. But, honestly, now I am so worried that something will come of the program and I'll be stuck with it and the people associated with it.
(Please read comments #2 & #3 below for more, as it might answer some questions).