So the one of us who didn’t read a whole lot of academic blogs before starting this blog (long story… involves being stalked on the Chronicle forums…) has just spent several evenings (while datamunging) reading all the academic blogs that the other one of us reads (and loves), and all the academic blogs that those bloggers link to.
Man… there are a LOT of anger issues out there. Really makes me second guess all the calls for allowing professors to have guns on campus. (What’s that, that’s not an issue on your campus?) And the language… why do academics need to swear so much?
Is it a selection or a treatment effect? Should I get out now, or is it too late?
Thank goodness for sweet uplifting cakewrecks.
July 26, 2010 at 8:58 am
Where do you think all the anger comes from? Possibly you have some better insights than I.
When you listen to your colleagues vent, you think you must work in the craziest environment known to Personkind. Then you read something like, say, The Lecturer’s Tale or go out for cocktails with colleagues from some other university and you realize nothing out of the ordinary is happening at your insane institution.
I read a hilarious detective novel — believe it or not, I get paid to read detective novels! — written by an academic who teaches in an Atlantic state. A third of the way through the thing, I thought she must be at my campus and writing under a pen name; the characters sounded eerily like the people in our department. One of my friends and I were certain that she simply had to be a colleague (which one?) or to have passed through the place sometime in the past eight or ten years. But no! After some digging, I learned that she writes under her own name, she’s a real person, and she’s never been anywhere near the Great Desert University.
All campuses are alike, at base, and they’re all crazy. Real-world jobs are also crazy. But most salespeople and admin assistants and paralegals and middle managers and business executives can move on to some other employer when things get too claustrophobic. At least, they can when the economy is halfway decent. Even in a good economy, most academics indeed are trapped.
July 26, 2010 at 2:02 pm
What was the novel???
November 29, 2010 at 8:42 pm
When you think about it, it’s not too surprising. Academics have high-stress jobs with pay that isn’t /that/ great. In addition, there’s always some other test or major effort coming up. GRE, grad school admissions, Thesis and Dissertation, Job Applications, Grant Proposals, Tenure Reviews, etcetera.
Add that to the fact that quite a few people just don’t make it—and often are told to blame themselves—and anyone who is in academia or wants to be is likely to be bitter and angry or realizes they are just a few letters away from being bitter and angry.
November 29, 2010 at 8:52 pm
November 30, 2010 at 12:15 am
It all comes down to academics wanting the truth: “The truth will set you free” isn’t “The truth will make you immensely happy and content in life”
December 8, 2010 at 8:14 pm
Hi Nicole and Maggie, my analytics tells me you’ve been sending traffic my way so I thought I’d stop by. Timely, as it turned out, because in grad school I was often accused of being ‘too angry’. This may have been true, and by studying humor I came appreciate the power of sublimation. But I’m still pretty damned angry about the system as a whole. I think it’s exploitative and (as one former prof put it) ‘designed to make you feel bad about yourself.’ That said, it’s totally possible to find a good department and a situation that doesn’t make you insane. I’m just not sure it’s probable.
December 8, 2010 at 8:29 pm
Heya! Yup, you’re on our blogroll now, and with a name like Worst Prof Ever, how could anyone resist clicking?
December 8, 2010 at 9:18 pm
Memorable and/or intriguing is what you’re supposed to go for with URLs. I figure if I’m gonna sell out I should do it right ;-) Thank for the blogroll, I’m making my way through your posts now…
December 8, 2010 at 9:30 pm
December 8, 2010 at 9:52 pm
#2 is still trying, and failing, to find an academic situation that doesn’t make her insane. I like my department but living far away from my partner is a recipe for resentment towards it.