while I wait . . . .

Me, I prefer open-ended waiting, because then I can generally put the subject from my mind and move on to other things. But if I’ve been given a timetable, then I’m constantly distracted, and I get nothing done.

Yes, I’m waiting for something right now. Yes, I’ve been told it will happen sometime soonish. How did you guess?

0 Responses to “while I wait . . . .”

  1. marycatelli

    I have a hard time putting open-ended from my mind, either. But then there is the grave frustration of when they don’t make the bound. (Though it can be cool when it’s quicker.)

    • Marie Brennan

      The possibility of failing to respond within the timeframe contributes to me hating that mode; the next day (or hour or whatever) I think, okay, I should give them a little bit longer, then I start wondering if I should nudge, then I have to decide whether it’s better to nudge yet or keep on waiting . . . .

      We hates it, precious.

  2. ninja_turbo

    I tend to prefer open-ended waiting as well. And moreover, I hate vague-within-a-timeframe waiting the most, since I feel that it has the worst of both worlds. This applies for things like…grad school applications.

    • Marie Brennan

      I suppose I should have put in a third option, for “you will have an answer on X day.” But then most people would end up choosing that one, and the poll would lack the Deep Sociological Usefulness of this one. 🙂

  3. diatryma

    Everyone is waiting. I am waiting for several things– though payday did happen– Alphans are waiting, and it’s a past-deadline wait, friends are waiting for jobs and stories, you are waiting, and I swear to something that if at least a third of these waits do not end with a resounding YES I will… be very disappointed, because if I have to worry and fret and get all the vicarious nerves, I want my people to get what they want.

    My waiting is not even really the most frustrating. I mean, yes, one of them is a job. But that’s normal.

    I like bounded waiting because then, I know when to query. Open-ended waiting has all the worry of do-I-ask, but none of the assurance of it-has-been-a-week-since-they-said.

    • Marie Brennan

      See, I’m bad about asking when the bounded period ends. I always convince myself to give them more time, and then it basically turns into open-ended waiting, except I get nothing done.

      • diatryma

        Hm, I had a comment, but it went away.

        My advice, when people ask me, is to query because if you query, you don’t wake up the next morning with the same dilemma. The deadline for a decision gives me that little push that makes it okay.

      • mrissa

        Yes, but convincing yourself to give them more time is still within a known framework.

        “They said it would be six months, and I’ve given them a year,” is still more information about what your position should be on asking than, “They didn’t know how long it’d take, and it’s been a year, and that’s kind of longer than I expected.”

        • Marie Brennan

          See, I’m oddly okay with deadlines I set myself. “This short story market is generally slow, like up to four months; I’ll give them six, and if I haven’t heard back I’ll query.” Fine. But if an editor e-mails me and says, “I’m holding onto this story for further consideration; you should hear back in the next two weeks,” then I wake up every morning going “has he e-mailed me back yet? How about now? Now?” And then when the two weeks pass, I hem and haw, so I give him another week, and then maybe that’s not enough, so another week after that, and now it’s been a month but I dunno, should I query yet . . . .

          If you say the flaw in this situation is me, I will not argue with you. 🙂

  4. carbonel

    You didn’t specify whether it’s a good or a bad something, and that affects my preference to some extent, but in general, I prefer to be able to plan, and knowing timing helps with that.

    • Marie Brennan

      I wouldn’t mind if it was “you will know ON the following date.” But if it’s “sometime within the next X span of time,” then it could be now, it could be later, it could be they’ll miss the deadline entirely. I basically end up sitting and watching the clock.

  5. starlady38

    Oh, give me a deadline for everything any day. Then I know when X will be over or will have to be finished and I can plan accordingly.

    Speaking of waiting, I got the happi in the mail yesterday! I’d forgotten how nice it is–certainly one of the best pieces I picked up. The cord is not pre-tied, however. 🙂

  6. lindenfoxcub

    It kind of depends for me; are we talking waiting for a check to arrive, or waiting for the axe to fall?

  7. ellen_fremedon

    Is it truly bounded waiting, where you have an actual deadline and a clearly delineated way to make inquiries if you don’t hear by the specified date?

    Or is it a vague, probably-within-the-next-[timespan]-but-really-who-knows sort of waiting?

    Because I prefer bounded waiting to open-ended waiting if I know the deadline is in some way enforceable, but when a so-called deadline is just a passive-agressive way of parceling out a indeterminate quantity of time, I hate it hate it hate it hate it hate it.

    • Marie Brennan

      Sort of more the latter, yeah. And I’m terrible about enforcing those kinds of deadlines anyway.

    • teleidoplex

      This. I assume that if I’m being given a choice between the two, then we’re discussion hypotheticals where it actually will be a bounded time with a clear deadline. Otherwise, it’s just open-ended masquerading as bounded, and nope. Don’t like that at all.

      But really, if it’s open-ended, it’s hard to put out of my mind til I know. If I know I will hear by a deadline, I’m able to assume that I won’t hear until the deadline, mark that day in my head, and move on.

      Much better. Hypothetically, of course.

      • Marie Brennan

        See, I can’t put my brain in the gear of “by this deadline means not until this deadline” — I keep hoping it will be sooner.

  8. Marie Brennan

    Well, I realized I wasn’t quite clear enough; it’s not “in X amount of time” so much as “somewhere within X amount of time,” which means I sit and fret the whole way through. I do better with a specific date upon which I can expect action.

  9. la_marquise_de_

    It depends on what I’m waiting for. Some things — the new book by X, the new film by Y — are good open-ended. Other things, like job prospects, are not: I hate waiting for axes to fall.

  10. Anonymous

    It does depend on circumstances, yes.

  11. mrissa

    I have had so much open-ended waiting that I can tell you putting something out of one’s mind is not always at all feasible, depending on what the something is.

    “Will I ever be well again?”, for example, or, “Is this reprieve reliable?” That’s a hard one to just, y’know, not think about. And sometimes a really bad one to not think about, because plans need to be made even if the goddamned open-ended waiting does not get answered.

  12. artemisgrey

    I prefer open-ended waiting because like you, I can usually put things out of my mind and not worry about them. That said, I eventually reach a point where I WANT the axe. Since I’m querying, I spend most of the time thinking ‘no news is good news’ but there comes a time when ‘no news is rejection, so hurry up and smack me so I can get on with life’ and then, I really start hating the open-ended part because I inevitably actually forget that I’m waiting for anything and then when I get the rejection it’s like an ambush.

  13. teleidoplex

    Also… best icon ever.

  14. genarti

    It depends! If it’s nothing particularly important, or only mildly so, I prefer open-ended for exactly the reason you say. I shrug, I figure I’ll find out whenever I find out, and then I don’t have to worry about whether I should have followed up and when and if they’re over the deadline enough that I should be nagging them or what.

    But if it’s something important that affects my future plans, or otherwise affects things that do have a time commitment, then I’d rather have bounded waiting so that I have a framework within which to politely nag.

    • Marie Brennan

      I said above that if it’s open-ended, I’m actually pretty good about setting my own framework within which I will nag. But if somebody else has provided that framework, I second-guess myself, not wanting to seem like a pest for bothering them.

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