>phd_year(4) = 8

Frequently my girlfriend will ask me if I’m taking on too many things, and tell me that it seems like I pick up lots of projects, then drop them for new ones. She’s not wrong, but that’s not the whole story.

This week I released the first episode of a new podcast I’m doing called CUPEcast. It is a timely, short, and weekly show about the ongoing negotiations between the Teaching Assistant etc Union (CUPE 3906) and McMaster University. This is another thing I’m doing for free, but I think it’s important I do it for a few reasons. I think keeping union members informed has been a major difficulty for the union in the past, and I want to help with that. But I am also doing it because I think it is a good opportunity for me to gain exposure to a wider audience. It feels scummy to me, having any amount of self-interest associated with this work, but I think that’s a whole lotta my problem that I need to get over.

To me, self-promotion is a lot more palatable when I’m giving away something of value. I truly believe I am offering that to the union with this podcast. But I still think this is a weakness of mine, which I am trying to overcome by being more active on social media. It takes me almost no effort to “self promote” by interacting with other people, and when I provide perceived value, I can toot my own horn.

Anyway, about picking up and dropping projects… My justification is that I am trying to do a lot of different things that interest me in order to see if anything gains traction quickly. As a case study, consider my coffee subscription service. I decided to try making it work for just under a year, and if it didn’t gain traction, I would put it on the back burner. Another example is Science on Tap, an initiative I put a lot of effort into for the last 2 years. It has gotten to a point where I don’t think I have anything to offer beyond what I would consider “grunt work”, and I don’t have any ideas on how to expand it, so I have taken a far back seat on it.

If, after giving this science writing and communicating thing a good solid try, it just isn’t coming together… well, maybe I’ll try becoming a street magician.

Oh, I almost forgot to self-promote. If I provide any value to you, or you would like links to my podcasts, please check out the Patreon I just launched. Sharing, liking, commenting etc are invaluable, but any sort of donation would be greatly appreciated.

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