Just a year ago, when I talked about work, I meant studying, coming up with new ideas. Developing courses for classes I was teaching, or just as an exercise for a course. Reading dense material, and being overcome by new ideas. Writing incessantly. Writing my ideas and forming them into a coherent narrative. Pages and pages of writing. I was rigorous, disciplined. I worked.

The New Work

Now that I’ve graduated and work full-time in a postacademic job, work has a whole new meaning. It means, get up early, before the sun rises most days, and drive for well over an hour to a j-o-b. A place where I’m expected to sit for 8+ hours, typing away at a computer. Occasionally chatting with coworkers about trivial things. Typing away some more. Work now refers to the act of being in front of a glowing rectangle.

Whether I do work or not is another story. I’m not required to be doing work constantly. At my current workplace, there simply isn’t enough to keep me typing away on specific projects. So I keep typing anyway, spinning that little rollerball on my mouse, clicking clicking, and it looks like I’m working.


Well, I’m tired of this. I want to actually be working. I am hoping this will be the case at the new job I just landed, to begin in 2 weeks. I want to be occupied with projects that use my brain, that require me to really think about how things fit together. That demand my attention. That cause me to spin in different directions, working problems out in my head.

Of course, there’s a decent chance this won’t be the case at the new job. It may just be the same notion of being in front of a glowing rectangle, ticking away at the keyboard.

The New New Work

In anticipation of this reality, I need to figure out what to do with my brain the rest of the time. When I’m in the shower in the morning, getting ready for my job. When I’m driving. What do I think about? While on my lunch break. At home after dinner. What stimulates me the way school did?

What new new kind of work can I do now?

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