I dunno how many hrs I've worked. If you count reading, thinking, editing my own ms, writing handouts to make my teaching easier, I've worked every waking hr I'm not doing chores or taking care of kids for 15yrs. Yet, what a privilege to think & read, to have this job. https://twitter.com/BatesPhysio/status/1199329548329984001
I'm so lucky to be tenured in what may be the last days of higher ed. I have great colleagues & students. OTOH, I'm exploited by my institution, struggling to do 3 FT jobs +parenting on the salary of a Staten Island Ferry deck hand (literally) but with crippling student loans.
I had to add still another major job, being on the job mkt with the super-high productivity that entails, for 6 yrs in the hopes of finding a way to get 2 incomes, i.e., enough to live on, for my family, bc my husband graduated after 2008 & was contingent.We got there thru luck
but the thing ab getting lucky in academia is we all kill ourselves from overwork to overachieve enough just to be in the running for the lucky break. It's a brutal workload but much more brutal as a psychological load. Most of us get here bc tchng & research are labors of love,
but the process of hoops to be "good enough" to keep doing it year after year warp you and wear you down, so that if you do make it you don't even know what work is anymore. And mental health care is stigmatized, a balanced life is stigmatized, anything healthy is stigmatized.
And you spend the rest of your life continuing to do the same work, still judged anew every time by people as exhausted and embittered and suffering from undertreated mental health issues as you are, with accomplishment or praise coming maybe once in 10 yrs if you're lucky.
You keep doing it bc you still love the *work* - teaching and research - but with a constant haze of confusion & pain around the system in which that work happens. That, and you're no longer fit to do anything else.
But mostly, at least to me, the *work* feels worth it when I see students really learning or I can explain how something works that helps in some way. At the same time, I watch the world around me burn for lack of the very skills I teach, while voters call me a useless parasite.
It's complicated. I work too many hours in some sense - in the sense that i can't remember the last time I truly rested and have never had a vacation, like many Americans in many fields and I'm luckier than most - but it's really not about the hours.
You can follow @kpanyc.
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