I was in a meeting the other day, and it really struck me how difficult I find it to say to someone in a meeting situation that I think their idea, however good, won't fly, and that we should do something different.
And then today, I wrote a note to a student to tell hir that I think the project they've been working on doesn't pass muster, and either needs a lot more work, or needs not to happen.
I'm sure I'm not the only person to find these sorts of conversations difficult. Heck, I'm sure it was worse for the person at the meeting and the student than it was for me. And I'm sure it would be way worse if I were actually giving life-changingly bad news.
Still, it's something I'm weak about, and I need to think how to do it well and better.
On the other hand, I also realized at that meeting, and writing to the student, that I've gotten a lot better at not feeling personally hurt when certain things just don't happen. Yes, I still feel invested, but I'm better at realizing that I should worry about the things I can do something about, and worry less about the things I can't do something about. Or something.
And I can't be more invested in a student's project than the student is.
And I have to recognize that I make choices about what's important and what I put my energy into, and that other people make choices, but that our choices aren't going to be the same. And I'm mostly better at respecting their choices. (Though not always, true!)
I think everyone here is feeling beaten down by the long, very cold winter and by the semester and by constant budget cuts and administrative additions to the work.
Of course, from administrators' points of view, the work they want us to do is really important and they want us to be totally invested. For most of the faculty, though, the work is make-work, and we don't see that it helps us teach or research or advise or anything else. It merely provides more fodder to hire more administrators, it seems.