But one of the things I was busy at was busy work--mundane stuff for an organization that took me a whole day to do (think sorting, filing, stapling, labeling, stuffing envelopes). I'm not doing it again. Ever. I've just learned that there are machines for that (yes, I'm slow on the uptake). There are not machines to work on my major project for me. Invoking my new book review mantra, I--or the organization--can buy the service, but I can't buy back the day I spent on the task. I'm chalking this up to my own ignorance about what could be automated and not to the organization, which isn't to blame for my stupidity and probably would be happy to pay for the service.
When I thought about explaining this to the organization, at first I wanted to say that I couldn't do the task because my shoulders hurt after doing it (true). In rehearsing this with Spouse, however, he said, "Don't make it a personal issue. You're not doing it any more. You don't have to give a reason except that it can be done by machine and you won't be spending your time that way."
Dr. Isis has some wisdom about exactly that reasoning this morning:
Regardless of how you choose to allocate your time, I have learned recently in conversation with a group of more senior women in academia that there is something that we do that our male colleagues don't do -- we over explain, and that can color how people perceive us. For example, assume that you are chillin', getting ready to leave for your child's school play in two hours and someone says, " Can you attend this meeting in two hours?" A woman is more likely to say, "I can't. I have to go get my child and then attend his school play." A male colleague with the exact same play to attend to might say, "I can't. I have another commitment."I should have known this--indeed, did know it--but one of the things I'm realizing over and over again, despite the Lessons for Girls, is just how hard it is to say no. Or say no and not explain.