Friday, July 28, 2006

Arrogant, Selfish, Job-Searching Me

I was going to dump this in the comments, as a response to the comments some people were making about something that I'd said over there, but I feel like it's useful to put this in a real post that isn't buried in a comment thread from days ago.

In a comment, I said this:

"Personal happiness and satisfaction is infinitely more important to me than 'changing the system from within.' Wrong or right, that's my position."


In response, Liz Ferszt says the following:

"Given this admission, which I find arrogant and selfish, if I were one of our current colleagues I'd just say, "Good luck on your search."

I might even find some boxes for your books."


Another commenter (Terry Porter) expresses concern that I am going to "regret" leaving my job for "purely personal reasons."

Well, first, I'm not really surprised that Liz would respond negatively to anything I might say, as she seems to take pleasure in thinking that I suck. Otherwise, why would Liz keep reading this blog when clearly she thinks that I'm so reprehensible? If it were me, and I felt as Liz seems to feel about Dr. Crazy, I would stop reading. And stop commenting. Because life's too short to be so irritated by the likes of a young whippersnapper such as Dr. Crazy.

But, because I'm a good sport, I'm going to respond. Also because I want to answer this for once and for all, and to assure my readers that I am being thoughtful and careful in my considerations about my professional choices, and that I do not enter into this - or much else in my life - lightly.

First, when I say that I put my personal happiness before my institution, that does not mean that I do not have a strong commitment to my institution or to my work as a professor at this institution. All it means is that I believe that it's important to prioritize things in life, and I believe that is important and sensible for me to make myself a priority in my life. My institution will pay me, but they will not take care of all of my needs. While I could sacrifice my needs for the greater good of my institution, ultimately I think that this would make me a bitter person and an angry person, and I think that this would be bad for my teaching, my research, and my service to the institution and to the broader community of which this institution is a part. Taking care of me doesn't mean shirking my responsibilities or treating my colleagues unfairly. It doesn't mean "dropping a bomb" on them by doing something for "purely personal reasons," as if those reasons, because they are only personal, are somehow criminal or at the very least illegitimate.

Let's think for a minute. Let's say that I were talking about deciding to go on the market for any of the following reasons:
  • In order to relocate to be nearer to my husband/partner.
  • In order to relocate in order to accommodate my husband/partner's career.
  • In order to facilitate the happiness of my children (better schools, being nearer to extended family, etc.).
  • In order to be nearer to an ailing parent or other close relative.
I suspect (though perhaps I'm being cynical) that everyone who has wondered about whether I'll "regret" the decision - not to take another job, mind you, but just to look for one - just to consider whether there might be something out there that would perhaps make me happier than my current position - would be the very vision of support of my "difficult decision." They would say things like how some things matter more than this profession, and they would even commend me on putting "what really matters" ahead of my stupid little job. Because, of course, for a woman, a stupid little job is just a purely personal thing that really has to go in the service of taking care of other people, right?

But, see, I don't have any of those "good reasons" to consider other employers. I'm single and my parents are in good health. I had the great good fortune to have my grandmother die during my second month on this job, so I don't even have an ailing grandmother potentially to validate going on the market. And, in fact, the thing that I probably devote most of my time/energy to is to my institution. So, many would say, it's just plain wrong for me to think about looking elsewhere.

But here's the thing. I don't plan on stopping being good at this job because I'm thinking of looking at other jobs. I care about my institution and my job. There are a great many good things about this institution, and I've gotten as much accommodation as is available to me at this institution (though often at a price in terms of service commitments, etc.). But the fact that I might consider my own happiness as part of the equation in my professional life does not strike me as "arrogant and selfish." Not at all. And I wonder whether anybody would chastise me or offer well-meaning advice on this issue in the precise way that has been done here if I weren't a single woman. Perhaps people would, but I wonder, only because I've never noticed anyone responding to a male blogger in this particular fashion.

(But then, what do I know? Because of course arrogant and selfish people don't generally recognize themselves as such, and maybe my questions about how people's responses to Dr. Crazy Going on the Market are gendered somehow show me to be even more arrogant and selfish than everybody already thought I was?)

But to continue. Let's go back to Liz's comment. She concludes with the following:
"I can't help but think a few more years in the profession will help you and give you some perspective. This discussion has been so similar to discussions I've had with young faculty over the years. "I just want to write." "I just want to have time in the summer to get away from the college." "I just want my books."

Well, get a library card, I say. Get a tiny room above a garage and wrestle with your thoughts, your cat, your literature.

The rest of us will be college professors (taking care of the students, the curriculum, being there for more than a brief visit along the way) while you're getting satisfied."


Where even to begin. Just for the record, I'm not going on the market because I just want to write (I don't), because I have some fantasy about having summers off (who, exactly, gets that luxury? I know people at RI institutions, and I think they're more crazed with work than anybody), or because I just want my books (what does that even mean?). I'm not an idiot. And I've been teaching for over ten years, and an assistant professor for three, so I'm wondering how much time I need to be in this profession before my sense of it has legitimacy.

I expect that if I am offered a position - which is in no way a sure thing - to make a basically lateral move. I do want a lighter teaching load, and I would like either to stop teaching composition or to teach it only one semester per academic year. I'm not trying to get away from teaching or from service in order to bury my nose in a book One of the reasons why I'm good at this job is that I'm really good at balancing the demands of all of the parts of it. I do take care of my students - who incidentally often ask what in god's name I'm doing at this institution - and I have made more of a contribution to the curricular process in my department in the three full years that I've been at this job than many of the tenured-and-inactive members of my department. I'm not here for a "brief visit," and longevity does not necessarily equate to productivity or utility within a department.

This is the appropriate moment to go back on the marketto have a look-see before going up for tenure. I will not make a decision to leave this institution without a lot of agonizing, because I do, ultimately, really care about this place. But you know what? Caring about a job is not enough in life. I want more in my life than what this particular job has to offer. That isn't wrong.

That's enough for now. I'm sure that Liz is rocking back and forth and humming in a corner somewhere in an effort to come to grips with my audacity in responding to her, and I'm sure many others are shaking their heads at what a stupid, selfish, naive girl I am. I'm hoping, though, that this clarifies my position, if it needed clarifying, and that this post can be the last in this vein. Really, the reason I posted the LAST post about going on the market was to try to head off this kind of bullshit at the pass so that I could get into the actual nuts and bolts of what it's like to go on the market at this point in one's career. And to talk about things like my class background in relation to the academic job search, and I don't know, other stuff that's infinitely more interesting than all of this.

And I'm tired and cranky and hungry. I spent all day shopping, and I really had hoped to write about that. I suppose that will have to wait until tomorrow, though, because I've blown my wad on this crap.

35 comments:

phd me said...

I do want to ask Liz what perspective, exactly, you're supposed to be missing. Your reasons seem quite clear-headed and sane to me. As they did the first time you mentioned going on the job market.

Why is satisfaction a dirty word? Why is considering your own happiness looked down upon? Perhaps some people enjoy playing the martyr - being so busy taking such good care of students and curriculum and such - but I do wonder what such individuals are trying to escape.

I say good luck with the job search. Perhaps you'll find something good; perhaps you won't. But at least you've got the guts to look.

And I'll bet you already have a library card.

helenesch said...

Great post! (And in response to a comment that really wasn't even deserving of a reply...)

As you point out near the beginning of this post, it really smacks of sexism to assume that you're being "selfish" b/c you're going on the market for yourself, while it would be widely thought acceptable--and even expected--if you were to do so because of a husband or children. After all, it's your life! And you'll be better in your job anyway if you're finding it to be more satisfying and rewarding.

I hope the search goes well, and that you'll continue to write about it here.

negativecapability said...

You only have one life. If you're not happy in your current location (and I've read your blog since you've started and know that you've put a lot of effort into it and not just sat around and said "oh, this place isn't enough for me"), then why not take a look elsewhere? I don't see it as "selfish" at all - the way I see it, if you do leave, you've contributed a few years worth of good teaching and service to the institution and are opening up a spot for someone for whom the job might be a much better fit.

And I'm interested in all that other interesting stuff related to the search :)

USJogger said...

FWIW, I made a very similar decision six years ago. There were things about my job -- including my colleagues -- that I liked immensely, but overall it wasn't satisfying. The math and science majors were not very strong, and we were always scraping for competent students. I made the move, and it was probably the best professional decision I've ever made. No one at my former school or at my new school talked to me the way that Liz has talked to you. Perhaps it's just because they were used to it -- I was neither the first nor the last to use that institution as a "starter" job and then move on. Or perhaps it's because I'm a man, and so have an innate right to my own life, which, as we know, women don't have.

Good luck on your job search. I expect that you will have a hard decision, eventually, and I hope that you will be as lucky as I was in making your choice.

USJogger

Tiruncula said...

I'm totally with you.

I'd like to add that looking, testing the market, moving, and finding new career paths within academe is "changing the system from within" as much as staying in one place and working on one institution. One thing that became clear to me when I tested the market as I was coming up from tenure is that administrators in my home institution had grown very complacent about the (non)marketability of humanities faculty. Both admin and faculty had bought into the notion that humanities PhDs are so desperate that they will take anything and stay put for anything. That assumption contributes to the salary compression that makes humanities departments, and especially long-serving, mid-career people therein, among the lowest paid in their institutions. It's worth getting out there and discovering what you're worth on the open market. It was a shock to me, and it was a shock to my chair, who used it as an occasion to argue for better pay for his other faculty, on the very reasonable assumption that if T. can go out there and get other offers, so can many of the other supposedly desperate but very accomplished people we've hired in recent years.

Anastasia said...

The thing that strikes me with liz is how transparent it is that this is not about you. She isn't talking about you. She's talking about some other young faculty person who really pissed her off.

a little therapy might help give her some perspective.

New Kid on the Hallway said...

Wow, I can't BELIEVE this debate is still going on. I've missed the recent comments, and I haven't even read the rest of your post yet (let alone the comments to it), because I got to:

Another commenter (Terry Porter) expresses concern that I am going to "regret" leaving my job for "purely personal reasons."

and I just want to say: WTF??? I mean, what the hell else should govern what we do? Everything we decide, we decide for personal reasons! Shit, some people are just stupid.

Okay, off to read the rest of your post now...

susan said...

I think you're totally right to be looking at other jobs right now (although a passing good point in one of Liz's (i think) comments is to wonder whether your chair might be in a position to help you with anything that might be an improvement.

The chair who hired me told me in my first week of work, "don't think about making your career so you can get tenured at Our Comprehensive Urban Institution. Make a career in the discipline. It will be good for Our Institution, and good for you." And he was right. Now that I'm about to be chair of my department, and I'm thinking about what to say to the new assistant professors joining our department in the fall, and I'd be quite happy if one of them is thinking like you are.

None of us are married to our institutions, and we don't owe our institutions our lives. Nor is it a service to the disciplines we chose to continue working in a place (whether it's a dept/campus/city/region) where the place might be something dragging us down. Say you go on the market and don't find anything for a stretch of years, and then maybe you'll make a peace with staying there (with or without some accommodations from the institution). But in the meantime, you're totally right to be doing some thinking about the balance within your professional live and the balance between your professional life and everything else.

That's smart, and that's what any school wants its assistant professors to be. Sure, those of us who are senior colleagues want the juniors to stay--but I think that those of us who are senior should also be connected enough to the discipline to know and see the ways in which other places might be better for our junior colleagues. It's not always personal.

New Kid on the Hallway said...

Crazy, I hope you don't mind if I get intemperate here and drop my (semi) professional persona, but: goddammit! WTF? I am SO SICK of the self-righteous bullshit!

(Okay, sorry, if you get any intemperate replies to this!)

Anyway: You have nothing to explain. You have no need to justify yourself, to ANYONE.

And I TOTALLY agree with Tiruncula's comments about changing the system within the profession as a whole (and Susan gets at this too). The "system" doesn't just encompass individual institutions, but the wider discipline.

Anyway, I'll shut up now because I'm not going to say anything any better than you already have, and at a certain point, there's no point in responding, because it's like feeding trolls.

undine said...

I responded to the issues in your first post about this on my blog the other day along the lines of what susan (above) had to say about commitment vs. loyalty to an institution. From both posts, I have the impression what you were asking about wasn't whether you should go on the market--that's a decision only you can make--but about the process itself and our (commenters') perspectives on it.

New Kid on the Hallway said...

PS - I just want to retract a little of my indignance from my earlier response to Terry Porter's comment - I see that the overall comment was more sympathetic, so I'm sorry I reacted so quickly. But still, we *do* decide to do what we do for personal reasons.

susan said...

I just noticed that the good point I thought was made by liz was actually a good point by Terry Porter. Mea culpa.

Anyway, as I was looking for articles for a course I'm planning, I found this column from the Chronicle, on the virtues of hiring ambitious people who may/will leave over safer people who will stay. The author is discussing administrators, not regular faculty, but I think the point still holds.

sheepish said...

Work is what you do, not who you are. It's that simple.

Miss M. said...

I think Anastasia makes a good point about how Liz's orriginal comment is probably more related to her own situation than it is to yours, Dr Crazy.

You mentioned in the post:
"While I could sacrifice my needs for the greater good of my institution, ultimately I think that this would make me a bitter person and an angry person, and I think that this would be bad for my teaching, my research, and my service to the institution and to the broader community of which this institution is a part"

Perhaps this is the trap Liz has fallen into? Phd Me mentioned matyrdom, and its possible that people could become so absorbed in their idea of the "greater good" that they do become bitter about where their choices have taken them later on.

It seems to be you're setting about escaping such bitterness, and that's surely a good thing.

Good luck with the search!

Liz Ferszt said...

I read the column because I read a number of academic blogs, and I often find your posts funny and sweet. (The whole man-kitty thing cracks me up.)

And I apologize if my tone is not as fawning as most of the comments you receive. It's clear you're personable and a favorite of many of your readers.

I do indeed have a pet peeve with junior faculty who tend to always be in the market looking for a new spot, and I have been unfair in working out my issue with you.

If my point of view doesn't fit with yours, it's not a huge problem. I choose to think that sharing dissenting views is a useful practice, and that perhaps, given my long tenure in the business, that perhaps something I see might be relevant to the discussion. As noted, I bounced around a fair amount early in my career, and feel as though I've learned something from it.

I'm not some evil bitch who has it in for Dr. Crazy. Alas, it's not nearly that dramatic, folks.

Finally, to New Kid, (whose blog I also read with real interest), I can't believe you can say this about a professor's desire to leave a college: "You have nothing to explain. You have no need to justify yourself, to ANYONE."

I just can't believe that's truthful. And if so, I can't help but think there must be something terribly wrong at these insitutions. I have really powerful allies and colleagues from the past 2 schools I've taught at. We've presented papers together, partied together, traveled together. I've counseled them on parents' deaths, childrens' births, tenure, divorce, etc.

As they are my friends as well as my colleagues they may not THINK I owe them any explanation for why I'd leave them behind, but I sure would feel obligated to do so.

I guess if you aren't at a school like this, or in a department like this, perhaps you should move on, and the faster the better, perhaps.

But I also think that to develop these relationships takes time and effort. Junior faculty who hop around may not get the chance to develop the rich and satisfying relationships another generation of academics has been so lucky to forge.

Liz

Terri Porter said...

I'd weigh in and say that job searching is not selfish at all, but giving plenty of notice so that your department can have a full job season to replace you is reasonable.

Telling them after you've sewn up a nice new position means they're stuck with the post-MLA bottom of the barrell applicants which will hurt their department and their college for a year or more. Now, if that doesn't matter to you, then there should be no regrets.

Terri

Flavia said...

I just want to say that I'm with NK in being totally ASTONISHED that you're getting this kind of attitude from actual, live people--I really thought that your initial justifications for going on the job market were just ways of psyching yourself up for going out there, rather than responses to things that people have or would actually SAY!

Maybe it's just my very small sample of friends and colleagues, but I'd say that more than half the people I know have moved or are planning on moving from their first job--and this includes the (totally awesome) chair of my new department, who moved across the country for her current job three years ago, and moved at least one other time, 10 years before that.

Thing is, there surely ARE people who are cynically careerist, who stay the minimum number of years at one place in order to jump to the next perch and who never really commit to their students, but I don't think that those people are very large in number. Most people leave because a) their institution is unhealthy, or b) it just isn't the right place for them to spend an entire career, for whatever reason. If the average American changes jobs--or is it careers?--six times, presumably because he or she is striving to find the right fit (whatever that means), or maximize his or her talents. . . well, it seems to me positively unnatural that an academic would automatically just smile and take whatever's offered. Even if it's pretty good.

Me, I could envision spending my entire career at the institution I'm just starting at, and probably being pretty happy. However, I don't expect that I WILL stay that long. Am I evil for already thinking that way? Will it prevent me from throwing myself into this job? I don't think so. But others might feel differently.

Seeking Solace said...

You go girl. You have to do what makes you happy and content. Do these nay-sayers live with you on a daily basis or contribute to your well- being? No. I learned that lesson the hard way. There is more to life than just what is good for the institution.

I think the problem with Liz’s statement is that she comes off as extremely arrogant and self righteous. She seems to take one’s leaving personally, rather than realizing that often we need to grow as professionals. Some of us thieve on new experiences and new challenges. It is not an indictment on an institution when someone decides that he or she is moving on, that is the way the world works. Things change and people move on.

Liz Ferszt said...

I'm sorry I've come off as so "old." LOL. I'm only 52, and perhaps that is very old to many of you.

I'd be happy if I thought Dr. Crazy was at least aware of what her leaving meant to others, the people in her department, her college, her students. What about those sophomores who you've influenced. When they walk at graduation, where will you be?

I understand moving on; I've done it myself a number of times, especially as a young professor.

I'd be happy for Dr. Crazy and for all of my mentees if I thought they understood that their loss would be felt in a powerful way by many people at their college. If that was the case, I'd say "bon voyage," and start looking for someone else to help with the job that remains.

I just don't see in any of her comments anything beyond that the move is for her personal satisfaction. And for those of you who think that's the only satisfaction worth having, I don't know of anything I can say that might explain what it is I'm talking about.

Liz

Oso Raro said...

This thread has been fascinating, for what it reveals about our profession. Often times, in my experience, junior faculty don't choose to leave, but are shown the door openly or obliquely, under the noxious notion of "fit." (after of course working their fingers to the bone on a job we rarely recognise as dead end)

Once bitten, twice shy, and it helps to keep your eye on the market even as you settle into any given sinecure. Even after tenure, nothing lasts (necessarily) forever, and better to have your alimony than nothing at all.

New Kid on the Hallway said...

Quick response to Terri - giving early notice so that your department can replace you the same year is great, if you're determined to leave anyway. If you only plan to leave if you get something else, your department is stuck with "scraping the barrel" anyway - because they can't search until they know you got a job. What happens if you don't? And if you want to stay if you don't get a different job, you don't always want to get into a discussion of this with your colleagues until it becomes necessary.

Plus, I think "scraping the barrel" is a little insulting to people like me, who've been one of those post-MLA (or actually post-AHA) hires, and I really don't think that I "damaged" the department into which I was hired (maybe I flatter myself, though I am judging this based on what the chair of the department told me).

To Liz: actually, my comments that Dr. Crazy doesn't need to justify herself to anyone were in response to the comments on her blog, not how I felt she should treat her colleagues. But no, I don't think she has to justify herself to her colleagues - but explanations and justifications aren't the same thing.

I'd be happy for Dr. Crazy and for all of my mentees if I thought they understood that their loss would be felt in a powerful way by many people at their college. If that was the case, I'd say "bon voyage," and start looking for someone else to help with the job that remains.

I just don't see in any of her comments anything beyond that the move is for her personal satisfaction. And for those of you who think that's the only satisfaction worth having, I don't know of anything I can say that might explain what it is I'm talking about.


How is moving for personal satisfaction incongruous with recognizing that one's leaving will be a loss? And I think "personal satisfaction" is being defined awfully narrowly - part of "personal satisfaction" is being able to feel that you're making the best contribution to an institution that you can. That may not be the institution at which you're initially hired.

luolin said...

Not to deny the usefulness of all this discussion, but I keep coming back to Dr. Crazy's course load. A 4-4 load, with 2 composition classes each semester seems like reason enough in itself to at least look around for another position.

AAYOR said...

Gee, Crazy, it sounds like you are just ungrateful. You should feel so lucky to have a job in academia--any job--that you should never, ever contemplate leaving it! How insulting to everyone around you!


I'm appalled that anyone would discourage a junior faculty person from finding the best possible professional AND personal fit. It is best for BOTH institution and the professor when this happens.

Psycgirl said...

Having not yet read all the comments, I just wanted to leave one saying I think you're making a good decision for you when you put you first. Who can be effective about a career at a place where they are dissatisfied? Enjoy your job search

susan said...

In my department, we've relatively recently lost two faculty members, one who moved to a more prestigious university with a PhD program in the subfield which also happened to be in the same city where the colleague's partner had recently moved. We were bummed to lose this young colleague, but we all understood it. The other faculty member we lost in a harder-to-get fashion: the colleague came, stayed for 2 years in what was I think the second position he'd held, and then he left for a position that's on the face of it not as good a position as the one he had in our department. And he was really rather vague when anyone said "why are you leaving?" He didn't try to negotiate a counter offer, just said he was leaving, that we were all great, but he was leaving. That kind of leaving was harder to deal with--but I don't think he owes anything to us to make it easier on us.

Your original post described what are both personal (the city is not the place you'd hoped it would be) and professional (the nature of the teaching load and the quality of the teaching load). Seems perfectly reasonable to me, as I said above.

dhawhee said...

I agree with those who say that this post & comments are fascinating for what they reveal. I even find Kate's second or third comment pretty compelling. Someone here or over at New Kid's mentioned tenure, and I think that's really it. Until people are made to feel something less than (how was it my senior colleague put it to me?) fungible--that was it--there's no need to feel huge allegiances, even to students.

I say that too as a person who left her first job only to return to it after a year out of the kinds of allegiances that Kate refers to. So I can see multiple sides, and yet as a recently tenured person am still familiar with the fragility that the horribly named 'probationary period' produces: on. both. sides. I hope I can remember this for a long, long, time.

Barry said...

I left my first academic post around four years ago, after about 8 years in the job. I (and I am sure that Dr Crazy will be too, if it ever gets that far) was very conscious of the assistance I had been given in establishing myself as an academic, and of the hole that would be created by my departure - but was never so egotistical as to think I could not be replaced (sure, they took on three staff members to replace me, but that's another story). But I still remember the fellow who had taken the risk to employ someone with no academic background saying at my farewell how proud he was to have got me to the position that I could move on to what everyone recognised was a much better job, in terms of my own professional development. I can only hope that Dr Crazy has equally enlightened colleagues.

dhawhee said...

Aw, that's a good story, Barry. I left my institution on such supportive terms that I was able to return a year later. It's completely possible to appreciate and still move on, just as Dr. Crazy is saying.

I'd also add to corroborate my point about tenure that several institutions make it pretty clear that one is supposed to go on the market the year one is up for tenure. This is not the case at all institutions, to be sure (not even where I am) but I've always found it symptomatic of the 'we don't want you until we're sure that others do' mentality that produces the very fragility of the employee-employer relationship that I wrote about in my own blog last night, prompted by comments here and over at New Kid's.

Dr. Lisa said...

Academic free agency is a fact of life now. Junior faculty didn't invent this game; if senior faculty don't want us doing this, then they have to knock it off with the $20,000 raises leveraged with other offers, the Director of Something positions handed out with course releases, and endowed chair offers hither and thither and yon while telling junior faculty: "oh, be patient, your turn will come; meanwhile, here's your 2.5 percent raise this year! And 40 more undergraduate advisees! Isn't academia swell?" OF COURSE junior faculty want what senior faculty have, and we know how to get there: by being willing to move in order to get it.

I look at my successful, well-paid senior faculty and they entertain headhunters like old friends; never, ever, ever, EVER think about curriculum unless dragooned into it; and take care of students by providing them work on sponsored projects--that's all. The other senior faculty--who preach that my focus should be making extra time for the student in the need, attending to departmental service, and being loyal to the Party--are the source of salary compression. (And their student evals are lower; I suspect it's because so much of their egos are wrapped up in the being "The Great Mentor" that students sense it somehow.)

Good luck, Dr. Crazy (and that's not "fawning"--it's good wishes from one ambitious young woman to another. I would tell you not to listen to bad advice, but it's obvious you aren't. Way to go.)

Liz Ferszt said...

Lisa,

That sounds like a horrible college, the one you describe. If that's the case where Dr. Crazy is, then I have been impolite in all of my remarks.

I've known no such place, and perhaps I've been fortunate all these years.

Liz

MaggieMay said...

I was going to write almost exactly what Lisa, PC wrote -- but she said it better :)

patsy montana said...

Hi, Dr. Crazy -

Delurking to thank you for your posts on this topic, and also to ask this crucial question: what does one WEAR when going on the market? I remember a post from a while ago in which you mentioned wearing an excellent suit, and I've been curious about it ever since. Plus, you mention a recent shopping trip ... so perhaps a combined fashion post about recent purchases/job market outfits?

Dr. Crazy said...

Thanks for all the comments, y'all. I'm not going to say anything more on this particular topic, but I wanted to let you all know that I read what you had to say and appreciated your comments. Now, on to post about clothes

Derrick said...

Well, this one hardly needs another comment but that has never stopped me before.

Personal happiness and satisfaction is the common denominator. While "loyalty" to the institution may seem like a different motive it is, in reality, just personal happiness and satisfaction in a different manifestation.

To me, the baseline issue, professionally, is having a sense that one is thriving in her/his vocation. That requires a certain kind of fit. Some institutions are simply stifling. Others energize.

An institution, at some point, has to be accountable for the culture it sustains. The burden is not on the prof. Create a life-engendering culture and you won't have to worry about those junior academics going on the market.

On the other hand, if you create a culture of management by guilt people are and should move on. There is nothing noble about being committed to a professional coma.

Professor Zero said...

Ay ay ay ay ay. Enough has been said, and nothing I can say will be new, but I simply must weigh in. I have tenure and I have worked in 3 places. I may move again.

1. Of course personal happiness comes first!

2. Of course you may find something better if you leave, especially if you now know a little more about what you are looking for, than you did before!

3. It is perfectly possible to leave an institution, and maintain a collegial relationship with people there, or with the institution itself. You do not owe them your blood, just because they gave you a job.

4. Yes, sure, as a senior, seasoned person, I sometimes get tired of sheperding new faculty through that odd adjustment period from graduate school, but hey, I went through it too.

5. It does not sound to me, however, as though your problem is that kind of adjustment problem. It sounds like you feel like moving for realistic reasons.

6. Every time I've moved--even to my first job, out of my geographical reason, but tenure-track as opposed to the visiting gig I had at home--people have complained at me. Maybe they just want their own fear of change justified.

7. I got talked out of leaving academia once. I let myself be talked out of it when somebody presented arguments which showed me, that I did not really want to go. Most peoples' arguments against leaving, however, were fear based.