I’m writing to you about a friend, “Sissy,” I’ve been close with for 10 years now, ever since college. We ended up moving to the same city and attend grad school together. I’m finally going to hand in my dissertation later this year, but Sissy has been derailed by severe depression and a borderline personality disorder, which has left her unable to work for 1½ years now. I love her dearly and have tried my very best to help her—accompanying her to appointments at the doctor’s and the unemployment agency, lending her small amounts of money when necessary—with moderate success. This is fine, if emotionally draining at times.
But something else is bothering me: About six months before her illness we started a publication project together with another colleague. Sissy has just about managed the first of many hurdles, leaving me and the other woman with hundreds of hours of work. Since we thought that Sissy would bounce back soon, we never considered taking her off the project, but now that it is completed with only little input on her part, I feel resentful about giving her credit as editor. We promised we would at the beginning. I feel I should at least list her as (third) editor because that way she will have something to show for herself when she applies for a job, rather than the gaping hole her illness is creating in her CV right now. On the other hand, I put in most of the work despite suffering through massive health problems last year, and I feel that being first editor (out of two) will give me an advantage in our competitive field. I feel both options are equally valid—if I help her, I might end up resenting her and maybe my alternative career. If I don’t, I will resent myself for being egocentric. Is there a way out?
—Publish or Perish