Not a Good Use of My Time?

Credit: xkcd

Every so often I do something that is such a waste of time it makes me pause.

Reading a non-fiction book I’m not into, it drags and I don’t retain much of it.

Horse-riding with my friend at the weekend, we booked the trail option and it was over an hour of… walking, didn’t even make it to a trot, really (mine did for all of 10 blissful seconds). And the beautiful sunny day had turned so we were freezing.

Last week, I gave a talk to five people. Something of a come-down from around 150 less than a week before. Nothing against the five people who were there, who were lovely, and engaged. But I can’t think that taking three hours out of my day to reach five people is a good use of my time. Also, only in academia do they “invite” you to give a talk and then charge you the price of a new handbag for it.

And so at the end of my month of public speaking, I’m thinking about why I do it. It’s not the end, it’s the means for me. I want to be able to give a good demo, speak up in meetings, and acquit myself creditably when invited to something as good for female university students as ONCWIC was.

Doing some public speaking helps with these things, but I’ve passed the limit of what is a good use of time. And so I’m thinking about setting parameters – I already won’t do talks about what it’s like to be an engineer if there are not going to be any women there. What else should I rule out? No more academic talks? Minimum 50 people?

I don’t want to seem ungrateful for the opportunities that present, but I can’t take all of them. If I’m going to take some but not all, how do I select the some?

2 thoughts on “Not a Good Use of My Time?

    1. It was a conference, and people didn’t register for sessions in advance. I think the thing is that I want to cut down the number of talks I give in general, and will probably use semi-arbitrary reasons why when for the right topic and people I would make an exception!

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