When I am an old tenured woman I shall dye my hair purple
With a green streak which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my income on books and high-heeled boots
And horseback riding lessons, and say we’ve no time for meetings.
I shall show videos in the classroom when I’m tired
And drink in public and say what I mean
And tell students what I think of their attitude
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall wear sweatpants to the grocery store again
And pick the most interesting research projects
And give the grades that are earned.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And speak about whatever issues are important
Or give the President a book to read that’s not about online edutainment
And hoard pens and plane tickets and writing time and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not be too feminist
And set a good example for the students.
We must not argue with the dean or the chair.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am tenured, and have purple hair.
(with many apologies to Jenny Joseph)
#1: I think when I get tenure we should call the blog Grumpy Rumblings of the (formerly un-)Tenured
#2: When you get tenure you can change the name to whatever you want.
#1: Spring Break is gonna be Epic. My shit gonna ALL hang loose.
October 24, 2012 at 1:41 am
I think Jenny Joseph would highly approve. I am going to share with my feminist friends who are not yet tenured.
October 24, 2012 at 6:19 am
Hellz to the motherfukkken YEAH!
October 24, 2012 at 9:19 am
That’s pretty much what I said.
October 24, 2012 at 6:24 am
By the time we get tenure, doesn’t all our shit already hang loose?
October 24, 2012 at 9:19 am
Haha. Some of my shit does indeed hang a little looser than it used to…
October 24, 2012 at 7:32 am
October 24, 2012 at 9:20 am
October 24, 2012 at 10:24 am
October 24, 2012 at 10:24 am
#2 says: That’s the word I used too. #1 is awesome.
October 24, 2012 at 10:42 am
October 24, 2012 at 11:48 am
Except… I don’t believe you. Nobody EVER dyes their hair purple when they get tenure. It’s like the committees have a sense for these things, and won’t give it to you if that’s what you intend to do with it.
Tenure, for all that I don’t quite understand how, serves consistently to make people More conservative, More invested in the status quo. It was my biggest frustration with Ms. Mentor, who always said “save that attitude for when you’ve got tenure”… but in my own experience, no one ever does. Thus the system stays the system, and you must never be too feminist.
Sorry to be so disgruntled/disillusioned. It is truly a lovely poem.
October 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm
I disagree, but not ardently. The tenure process is a selection process and it does reinforce the status quo, but I remember as an undergraduate walking through the wide-open door into my (tenured) faculty advisor’s office while he was playing a first-person shooter on his computer…and one of my current (tenured) colleagues has canceled classes so s/he can go to an auction. If my untenured colleagues also do such things, they don’t make it blatantly obvious.
Looking at the tags, maybe should be IBTP?
October 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm
the woman whose office is next to mine dyed her hair purple
not all of it, but enough.
later she did blue
October 24, 2012 at 6:22 pm
I have not dyed my hair purple, it is true. But every time I publish a paper, I dye my hair red. My students say, “You dyed your hair!” And I say, “well, I published a paper!” How the heck else am I going to tell my students about my research?
October 24, 2012 at 6:28 pm
October 24, 2012 at 1:13 pm
Love it. Love it!
October 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm
I look forward to the (less?) grumpy rumblings of the tenured… Soon? How far out are we?
October 24, 2012 at 8:38 pm
I should find out for sure around March or April. Expect a triumphant post about it around then.
ALSO: I will so totally dye my hair purple. I have done it in the past already, many years ago. So therefore I know it is awesome.
October 24, 2012 at 8:41 pm
Even with the green streak that doesn’t go?
October 25, 2012 at 9:17 am
Maybe a green streak but it seems hard to maintain. Maybe a pink streak.
October 24, 2012 at 5:34 pm
I love it! (Partly because I’ve been feeling decidedly middle-aged lately, and just this weekend I was wondering what I would do when I was an old woman.)
October 24, 2012 at 7:43 pm
One of my most memorable professors was an old, tenured woman who brought a tea mug that was *not* full of tea to classes every day. She also would ask if anyone had asthma and then light up a cigarette at times (this was back in the days when smoking was banned inside the classrooms but not from the private offices, so perhaps not as shocking as today.) We all loved her dearly and were bummed when she retired. We each had her sign a copy of the popular book she wrote so we could remember her. She did not have purple hair, though.
October 24, 2012 at 8:39 pm
I refuse to smoke. However, I do have a flask that I am waiting to break out!
October 24, 2012 at 10:57 pm
I love this! Sadly, I do not have the equivalent of tenure to look forward to, when I can dye my hair purple. But, actually, I could dye my hair purple now with no repercussions- it would actually increase my credibility in some techie circles, I think! And I have zero desire to do it. As my latest post indicates, though, I would like a time when I could speak freely (but reasonably) on topics that should not be controversial and yet sadly are, without fear of repercussions. I’m not sure what it would take to get that. Maybe a huge pile of money?
October 25, 2012 at 6:55 am
sex change operation?
October 25, 2012 at 7:12 am
Ha! Great response!!
October 27, 2012 at 4:28 pm
[…] than purple hair and the sweatpants, I already do everything the author of this great poem plans to do when she is an old tenured woman. So now I don’t even know what I will do when I get tenure. By the way, how can anybody buy a […]
November 7, 2012 at 11:23 am
I. Love. This!!!
March 7, 2013 at 12:01 pm
I hope the purple hair with the green streak and the sweat pants have been arranged!
March 7, 2013 at 12:34 pm
Plans are Being Made.
December 20, 2013 at 1:39 am
[…] A: be awesome. […]
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