Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Applying the 80/20 relationship rule to Academia...

So, I have a paper due tomorrow, but of course I'm procrastinating, hence me writing this blog. This topic has been on my mind for about a week and a half now. If you've read my blog in the past you know that I liken my relationship in academia to that of a romantic relationship a lot. This topic is no different.

What's the 80/20 rule?

"In our relationships, our partner is most likely only able to offer 80% of what we need. There are times when we will find someone who fills in the wholes, offering the other 20%…and because it’s been missing for so long, you think you’ve finally found what you truly need. But be carefully taking risks of cheating, or leaving your 80%…because what you will be left with, is that 20%. Obviously this is no where near as fulfilling as being with someone who offers 80%."

When your relationship is going great you rarely miss the other 20%, but when it gets rocky you meet someone who offers that 20% without realizing that they're lacking the 80% your other half provides you with. So, how does this all relate back to academia?

The last few weeks have been trying in my academic career... I've had to deal w/ some things that I wasn't prepared for at all and it had me contemplating quitting. I have had serious thoughts about waiting for my Master's to be official and heading out onto the job market just to get away. I even told my mom and my significant other that I needed a break from this world... but then I thought about all my friends who complain about their jobs (not careers)... many of them are in the process of applying for graduate programs and envy where I am right now.

I realized that right now I'm unhappy w/ my relationship w/ academia right now, so anything else looks better, but is it really worth it? Is it worth it to quit the PhD program and get a non-tenure track job? Would quitting and getting a job be the 20% or the 80% for me? I'm convinced that quitting would not only be a cop-out it would also be the 20%, and a few years down the line I would be crying that I didn't finish the PhD.

So, I'm sticking it out w/ my 80%... I'm gonna keep pushing and working on the relationship to ensure myself happiness :)

I think I'm going to start applying this rule to a lot of different things in my life... what about you? Do you believe the 80/20 rule is real? What part of your life does this apply too at the moment?