Saturday, September 15, 2007


Can I brag on myself here? Is that allowed?

I don't think of myself as overly modest, or as having particularly low self esteem. I think I'm a realist. I know my faults but I also know that I have some strengths. However, every once in a while I'm knocked for a real loop when someone complements me unexpectedly. Actually, this is probably the second time in my life I've been this surprised and pleased.

When I entered graduate school, I had taken a year "off" after college. Part of the reason for that time off was the incredible stress I'd incurred working with my college advisor. Perhaps I chose unwisely, but I had selected a professor whom I got along with personally very well; we often went out for drinks, I'd baby-sit for him and his wife, etc. Professionally, however, the man was a nightmare. Nothing I did was ever good enough for him and after four years of working with and for him, I really had become quite neurotic about turning in anything at all. When I showed up for grad school and met with my appointed advisor to choose classes, it turned out that the best option for fitting in the required credits would be to do an independent study with her. She sent me out after that first day with instructions to "look up a few topics" and prepare a proposal. This sent me into a frenzy of activity. I spent the *entire* next day in the library, put together a proposal, got very little sleep after writing all night, and turned it in the next day knowing that it would be ripped to shreds. And it would have been, had my college professor looked at it. My graduate school professor, however, read it over and told me how well written and insightful it was and that she'd seldom seen anything so well done by a first year graduate student. Well. It suddenly occurred to me that all the stress I'd been through in the last four years had a) taught me to write really well and b) been caused mostly by my *advisor's* faults and not my own. A huge weight lifted off my shoulders then, and I started to enjoy school again.

Now let's jump ahead to yesterday. I have a free-lance job working for a company that writes correlations for math textbooks. Simply put, I document that a given textbook meets a given state's requirements. It sounds straightforward, but somehow when state boards of education come up with requirements for a class, they manage to invent the most esoteric, repetitive standards which are often hard to decipher. I just finished my second project for this company, which was aligning a text for New York - probably one of the weirdest states in the country when it comes to these requirements. I was under a tight deadline, the standards were hard to understand, the textbook was about the size of the OED, and I just wasn't pleased with what I turned in. I thought I'd skimped too much, was outright wrong in some places, etc. But yesterday I received an email from my supervisor telling me that my work was "refreshingly wonderful". Happy sigh. I guess I'm more of a perfectionist than I ever suspected.

So that's my bragging story of the day. Hope all of you get some unexpected complements as well.


Blogger Shawnee said...

Congratulations! But, then, I always knew that you were wonderful. (Anyone who can put up with me for 25 years . . . )

11:01 AM  
Blogger Bella said...

You underestimated yourself and surprised yourself at the same time. It's great to be in between and I think that's where you stand. I'm similar in that way; I approach with caution and expect nothing.

The standards for math books....hmmmm...I wonder if the officials on that school board know how to do the math work themselves. I bet they can't yet they decide what needs to be taught. I finished Algebra after failing three times and let me tell you, what a bunch of crap I learned that I cannot remember. And I just took it a few weeks ago.

6:44 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home