Thursday, January 24, 2008

Survivor Issues

“I feel fortunate,” he said, of his position, “and I have survivor issues.” -- Marc Bousquet, author of How the University Works from Inside Higher Ed's Call to Arms for Academic Labor, by Scott Jaschik.
Survivor Issues. That could easily be the title of my entire blog. I resemble too closely the people described by Bousquet and in the various online posts provoked by his recent book (in particular, a headsup from Ortho and posts from Professor Zero and The Little Professor.)

Inside Higher Ed quotes Bousquet:
“Degree holders frequently serve as university teachers for 8 or 10 years before earning their doctorate.... Many degree holders have served as adjunct lecturers at other campuses, sometimes teaching master’s degree students and advising their theses en route to their own degrees. Some will have taught 30 to 40 sections.... During this time, they received frequent mentoring and regular evaluation.... A large fraction will have published essays and book reviews and authored their departmental Web pages. Yet at precisely the junction that this ‘preparation’ should end and regular employment begin — the acquisition of the Ph.D. — the system embarrasses itself and discloses a systematic truth that every recent degree holder knows and few administrators wish to acknowledge: in many disciplines, for the majority of graduates, the Ph.D. indicates the logical conclusion of an academic career.”
This describes me. The one very important difference is that, miraculously, my career didn't end with the Ph.D. and I ended up with tenure after another decade-long soujourn through the adjunct wilderness. And like Bousquet, "I feel fortunate, and I have survivor issues."

You can find more interviews with Marc Bousquet on YouTube.

1 comment:

  1. Survivor issues, that's astute. And one main reason I stayed in academia was survivor's guilt. "You can't leave because at least you got a tenure track job. Most aren't so lucky." "You can't leave because at least you got tenure. Most aren't so lucky."