If this past week or so has taught me anything, it’s that my future in academia was probably dead before it even started.
I confess, I did not see this coming quite like this. I knew the academy did more than “lean” leftward. I knew it’d be a struggle to do anything given my conservative proclivities. But I didn’t expect New Salem in quite this fashion.
Oh well, go down fighting I guess:
.@glukianoff @TheFIREorg I need something to hang on my office door that says "Not a safe space, critical thought in progress" Got anything?
— tsrblke (@tsrblke) November 12, 2015
On the plus side, being a dad is kinda cool. And with that my charge calls from the other room.
You may not regret leaving; staying in a fundamentally hostile milieu is exhausting after a while, as is having a bull’s eye on your back.
I have never regretted leaving academia as it is currently constituted. I miss the intellectual stimulation that can sometimes be found in academia, but it’s like finding a diamond in a meadow muffin. After a while, the charm of scouring meadow muffins wears off.
I quit academia in part because I wanted to be present in my kids’ lives, not be just that guy they saw for a few hours on Sunday afternoon when he wasn’t in the lab chasing tenure. Haven’t regretted the decision, now 12 years out.
it’s always good to have a back up plan….
To reply to several points:
1) I wish I could just pick up and leave, but sadly I stupidly choose a field deeply connected to academia. Stupid me.
2) I thought I’d find some common ground in Catholic Bioethics. Boy was I wrong, they were the first to run me off (even if they didn’t think they were doing so, proposing purity tests and constantly honoring anything left over anything good make one throw up their hands in despair. CHA supporting Obamacare was pretty much the last straw)
3) Sadly this was a backup plan, and then I had another backup plan which isn’t going to well. We’re up to at least plan G now. Oh wellz. I’ll figure it out.
The intellectual stimulation of the academy might be a thing of the past. Perusing the CVs of the current crop of professors in the news reveals a startlingly anti-intellectual bent.
And, let’s face it, “Lesbian Poetry of 16th Century Low Countries” does not an interesting discussion make. The intense focus on the unreality of sexual politics and dichotomies of power are tedious topics….best left to earnest but stupid undergraduates.
Depending on what you do, consulting can be a good choice. You’re your own boss, so things get done right (on your end). It can be frustrating when a client goes against your advice, comes a-cropper, and then wants you to fix the easily avoided mess, and/or blames the original advice, which he didn’t follow. But every job has its drawbacks.
My wife sent me a link to the dean of Claremont McKenna getting the push over a “racial bias” non-incident. She laughed and said if I’d stayed in academia they’d have executed me long before now.
For me the nightmarish part was being caught in a Kafka-esque vortex from there seemed to be no escape. Or more accurately, a vortex originating from the confluence of Kafka with Alice in Wonderland (the latter being especially apt, for reasons I can’t go into now.)
Btw, if you want to talk about this, I’d be happy to do so, having been in the same boat. Just let me know and we’ll Skype or something. One of the things that made my situation especially difficult was the feeling of utter isolation.
Depending on what you do, consulting can be a good choice.
Agree. Have seen your comments around and cannot recall your area of expertise so I don’t want to go out on a limb. But even if, and sometimes better if, it is esoteric than that plus your previous experience would make for consulting. And even though a lot of it is still in a liberal environment it is nothing like academia.
In my case I had specific area knowledge and managed to turn that into tagging on to private and government consulting contracts. It helped to have outside academia experience as well.
Thanks JG. I do bioethics, which in theory lends itself to consulting except the rigors of the regulatory environment make private consulting nearly impossible on any large scale.
One of 2 things: Either the institution wants to control you (by making you an employee) or you need a massive infrastructure to get started (i.e. an entire assembled IRB.)
Most of the private IRBs are located on the coasts, which adds more complexity.
I’d love to talk but I’m on my way out to dear camp in mere hours. But you have my email (or CBD does.)
good luck, tsrblke. Regardless of how the career thing turns out, spending time with the kids is really a gift to them and to yourself. (voice of experience speaking)
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