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Sunday, June 26, 2005



Oh god...I just left academia and your comments bring all the horror back: the constant competition, sibling rivalry dynamics, and sexism. (BTW, NOTHING bad has happened to you. You have a job, you have tenure, you teach... In most careers this is more than enough. Also, having lurked on your blog for a year or so, you DO walk on water, and the tendency of academics to think that water=prestigious journals is a gross over-simplification of the world.)

I am training in acupuncture and traditional chinese medicine now. I wake up happy almost every day, which is still a shock.

Feet of Clay

Absolutely do NOT let it get to you. I entered my grad program with the most prestigious fellowship the university offered. Then it took me 10 years -- TEN -- to get my degreee. People pretty much wrote me off. But I got a TT job -- then spent enough years learning to teach and not publishing that I wondered if I'd blown it. I, too, write slowly. But lately I've been writing, and getting extraordinary feedback on what I send out. I may not be the hot young thing anymore (especially not that "young" part), but I'm tenured, respected on campus, and rapidly gaining a broader respect in my field. And I'm happy.

This jerk at the bar -- and the other bright young things you're encountering this summer -- will also go through quiet cycles in their professional lives. And you know what? They won't have the kind of psychological resources you do, nor the social systems backing them up that you do, because it sounds like they've never bothered trying to develop them. All their energy has gone into playing the prince in waiting, and when the king starts ignoring them, they'll be lost.

Serves 'em right.


Feet of Clay is spot on -- those bright young things are just that, young. They don't realise what it's going to be like yet, the trade-offs they'll have to make just like everyone else, and their ignorance is showing through as arrogance.


I get comments that go in both directions on this stuff -- sometimes I"m the "bright young man" and sometimes I'm the slacker. Both are true, at different times. I try to take advantage, in the ways that I can, when things go well and I ignore the people who poke at you. Sometimes, they're sincere (and not trying to gain points). I recently encountered someone at a meeting, who had seen my work, and then not seen anything for a while. He didn't know me, and thus wasn't getting any personal info about me, just noticing holes in my publication record. He asked me what happened. And I told him. I don't think he was trying to gain points, just interested. 1) everyone has a hole when they start a TT position -- he was just starting, and hadn't realized that yet 2) I'd had 2kids and a my lab had taken a long time to finish.


Oh, honey, that sucks so much. I think you're amazing.


It took my step-mother almost 2 decades to finish her dissertation. Please, please don't let these schmucks get to you.

Also, try to stop being the good girl. Let them get their own damn laptops if it's so fucking important.

Academic Coach

Alan Greenspan took 17 years to finish his dissertation.


I'm not an academic, but I felt completely derailed by my mother's bipolar/ schizo-affective disorder which had one of its escalations when I was in college. My parents moved down the street from me my junior year so that my Dad could go to Divinity school, my grandmother died, and my Mom became convinced that my grandmother had been murdered by her lawyer. that and her refusal to write a will for anything other than her literary output was just maddening.

Bravo for all that you do including having kids. I'm scared of that myself. I don't think I will have any unless or until I can afford a housekeeper.

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