Sunday, September 26, 2010
I have to remind myself why I ever wanted this job. I periodically need to think about that. I can always come up with a few reasons, but my reasons change― well, change in the sense that I rank my reasons differently but the reasons themselves are essentially the same. Considering that my job provides me with an endless array of work-related bullshit I need to keep a clear understanding of the positives because the goals and perks are easy to become complacent about. Sabbaticals have skyrocketed to the top of the list. Seeing my name in print remains a constant source of enjoyment and the fact that tweed is an acceptable sartorial fetish keeps these two reasons holding steady in the ranking. Various other reasons have fallen out of favor. For instance that MacAurthur Genius Grant just doesn’t seem to be forthcoming (damn you John D and Catherine T!) but the joys of a lazy boozy Sunday afternoon spent in my Professor House are still pretty good. It's easy for me to forget that as the post-sabbatical bullshit starts to accumulate.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
When I was young, and I mean young in terms of my academic career- so young that I had just realized what my college major should be, I had some insanely naïve views about scholars. I knew nothing about academic life. I just knew that some person wrote my textbook, taught my classes and wrote articles that were assigned for reading. Collectively they formed a mysterious people, a tribe of scholars that I made both exotic and admirable. It seemed so cool to me that they, these names I knew, were discovering things. I imagined their names attached to those perfect scholars we see in TIAA-CREF ads but more cracked out on tweed. I was ready to undergo training, perform indoctrination rites and drink the Kool-Aid. The moment I decided to be a myrealobjologist, that I would keep that textbook, this image of scholars began to erode. Bit by bit I learned about those people whose tribe I wanted to join, and the deeper into it you get the less envious the society becomes. Did I want to come back from sabbatical and encounter this?
No. Damn. Seriously. This is not what I wanted to come back to.