[sdiy] I have come to accept, this is where it ends... sale.

Rutger Vlek rutgervlek at gmail.com
Mon Dec 9 15:56:01 CET 2013

Wow, nice to see similar experiences. For me things actually turned out a bit more extreme than I first wrote it. When my PhD was nearly finished and I finally felt a relieved of the pressure that had been on my shoulders for about a year a serious burn-out appeared. I've been at the level where taking a shower was almost too exhausting and my body was complaining in ways I had never experienced before. I've been recovering for about 1,5 year now and feeling much better (though still need months to normal energy levels). This process has made me very much aware of how a human mind works, under stress and in relaxation. I've found out that I lost certain skills when I was working at 150%. I lost the ability to be really creative, to take risks, to make well-balanced decisions, etc. I'm surprised that by lowering the pressure I'm not nearly as improductive as I was afraid of. Actually, when having a more relaxed style of working and living, making good decisions and coming up with creative solutions becomes easier and makes delivering good work easier. I'm also starting to see that my friends and colleagues that are still running at 150% in the treadmill of academia are suffering from similar lack of creativity and decisiveness, and while they are claiming to do a very good job, in fact aren't.


> Benjamin,
> On Mon, Dec 9, 2013 at 12:09 PM, Rutger Vlek <rutgervlek at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On 8 dec 2013, at 18:32, rburnett at richieburnett.co.uk wrote:
>>>> ...except, that when the career came, after my days work I
>>>> lost motivation to continue with my electronic projects at home.
>>> I can totally relate to that.  If i've spent a day debugging someone's software for them, then I don't feel like firing up the computer when I get home and spending more time looking at a screen and writing code.  Likewise with tasks like PCB tracking, parts kitting, soldering, etc.  If you spend your working day doing it to get paid, then what was an enjoyable hobby before can start to feel a little bit like just doing more work in the evenings!
>> Very familiar indeed! During my PhD my mind was so saturated with work that I didn't enjoy many of my hobbies. Especially the more creative aspects, making decisions, etc were hard. Now the PhD is done hobbies are becoming more interesting again. Even to a degree that I'm considering to try and make a living out of it :).
>> Rutger
> Rutger's story made things click for me.
> In my job, I do tech stuff. Things I really enjoy. Mostly computer
> programming. However, during more intensive projects I can't lift a
> finger at home to change one line of code. It gets really bad. What I
> find, though, is that this time is not lost at all. Exactly the
> opposite! After the projects are done, when I have free time and I've
> had enough time to recover (usually a month or so), creativity is
> great and ideas are better than ever before. I think this is because
> the hard work you and I are doing not only exhausts us, but also
> "builds up muscle". You gain knowledge, practical experience, and can
> gather ideas. If you would like to spend this time that you work as an
> EE still progressing synths as a hobby - what I'd do would be to start
> gathering ideas and notes, without executing them. One day you'll have
> a lot of that piled up, and will have the time to get to work. You'll
> find you've built up a treasure trove of things to look back to! So
> yeah, maybe sell your stuff, maybe don't. But do keep an eye out for
> new ideas. Don't give up, it's going to come back one day - you're
> just taking a long, long detour.
> I think saying "always keep Ithaca in mind" really sums this up well.
> I've found this poem to be fitting to this situation on many
> occasions.
> Cheers,
> D.
> --------------
> As you set out for Ithaka
> hope the voyage is a long one,
> full of adventure, full of discovery.
> Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
> angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
> you’ll never find things like that on your way
> as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
> as long as a rare excitement
> stirs your spirit and your body.
> Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
> wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
> unless you bring them along inside your soul,
> unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
> Hope the voyage is a long one.
> May there be many a summer morning when,
> with what pleasure, what joy,
> you come into harbors seen for the first time;
> may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
> to buy fine things,
> mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
> sensual perfume of every kind—
> as many sensual perfumes as you can;
> and may you visit many Egyptian cities
> to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.
> Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
> Arriving there is what you are destined for.
> But do not hurry the journey at all.
> Better if it lasts for years,
> so you are old by the time you reach the island,
> wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
> not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
> Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
> Without her you would not have set out.
> She has nothing left to give you now.
> And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
> Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
> you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.
> Constantine P. Cavafy

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