Pop Quiz

Pop Quiz: Work work vs. non-work work

Happy Monday, everyone!

Like many academics I often find myself occupied with activities that do not quite fall under my primary job description. In fact, these activities sometimes seem to take up the majority of my time, a situation which is easy to justify as they often seem related to what I’m really supposed to be doing despite the fact that they do not actually advance any of my important goals.

This can be especially true in fields like music, where many of us stodgy old researchers have second lives as amateur or even professional performers. It’s hard to make the mental distinction between performing the music one normally studies and actually, you know, studying it in a productive scholarly way. This can be especially dangerous because rehearsals, repertoire building, and concerts are usually significantly more fun than editing footnotes or reading dense, lengthy articles in German because they might be related to your argument and you don’t want any surprises at that next conference.

Then again, it’s important to have a broad and deep familiarity with repertoire, right? And there are few better ways to build such familiarity than performing in an ensemble that goes through a lot of music. It can sometimes feel like a bit of a Catch-22.

How do you resolve the tensions between work-work and non-work work? What kind of non-work activities do you find taking up a large part of your professional life?

The Pop Quiz is a question posed to you, the Scholars of Doubt. Look for it to appear Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays (ET).

Featured image: Portrait of Jean Miélot (secretary, copyist, and translator to Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy) by Jean Le Tavernier.

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Dan holds a PhD in Music History from a major Canadian university and is now pursuing a M.Ed in Higher Education at another one, because he likes to collect very expensive paper. He performs stand-up comedy at venues all over Toronto when he's not busy playing JRPGs with his cat, Roy. You can follow him at @incontrariomotu, but he isn't going anywhere. You can also send him a tip on PayPal (paypal.me/dandonnelly) if you like his work!

1 Comment

  1. January 25, 2014 at 8:59 pm —

    A lot of my non-work work involves professional development-y sorts of things like watching webinar presentations and reading blogs by others in my field. (However, my institution blocks Tumblr, where a lot of these seem to be located).

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