No End in Sight: Academic Research and “Time Off”

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Wheedle

“Can you read these words to me, Amanda?” my first grade teacher asked, pointing at the cover of The Wheedle on the Needle. I shook my head and smiled, thinking this was some kind of trick. How the hell would I know how to read those letters? Later, I asked my friends if they had been able to decipher the book cover, assuming they were as lost as I had been. “The Wheedle on the Needle,” my friend replied, almost casually. The others nodded and I felt betrayed: when did everyone learn to read? This was 1983, when it was not assumed that children would enter kindergarten knowing how to read. But still, somehow, between kindergarten and first grade, I had fallen behind my peers.

Soon after my fateful reading test our teacher sorted us into reading groups. I was, of course, placed in the “remedial” reading group while all of my friends were in the “advanced” group. Though I had no way of knowing this earlier — this was the first time any kind of judgment had been made, implicitly or explicitly, about our intelligence — I now had confirmation: I was stupid.

I decided then and there that I would learn to read, as quickly as possible, and I would get the hell out of the remedial group. After several months of intense concentration and effort — it was the first time I can recall applying myself fully to academics — I was in the advanced reading group.  It felt good to be back with my friends and sure, it felt good to learn how to read. But the biggest lesson I learned that day was that I was built for studying: a natural born student.

Fast forward to 1999, my first year of graduate school. I had just graduated  magna cum laude from an Ivy League institution and I was pretty confident in my intellectual capabilities. As an undergrad I had stuffed my brain with the likes of Doris Lessing, Tom Stoppard, Toni Morrison, Euripides, and T.S. Eliot, but I quickly learned that these names meant nothing to my new classmates. They had abandoned the text, that frivolous playground of undergraduate English majors, and moved on to more challenging writers with unfamiliar names like “Foucault” and “Deleuze” and “Baudrillard.” When did this happen? Why did I not get the memo? I was behind everyone else and grad school had barely started. It was first grade all over again.

To cope with this brand new bout of imposter syndrome, I set to work “catching up” with my peers. I made lists of “essential” books and essays — the stuff I thought I should have already read, before coming to graduate school — and tried to fit them in after completing all of my assigned coursework (which was impossible since my coursework took up almost all of my time). How does one cope with such an impossible work load? Easy: you never stop working. And when you do stop working, you must berate yourself about your decision to not-work because, in the world of the scholar, you can always be working. That’s why alcohol is so useful for graduate students. No one feels bad about not reading Foucault while intoxicated.

9780253204745_med

Sometimes I would be in my apartment, rereading an incomprehensible passage in The Acoustic Mirror for the fourth time, and I would be seized with a bottomless sense of doom, like I was free falling down a long dark well, only it was the inside of me that was falling. The only way I knew how to keep my body from collapsing in on itself, like a black hole of dread, was to get into bed, squeeze my eyes tight, and breathe deeply until my internal gravitational pull slowed to a stop. Sometimes this took minutes, other days it took hours. Then I would get out of bed, pick up The Acoustic Mirror and my yellow highlighter, take a deep breath, and begin again.

At the time I had no idea that there was a name for these episodes: panic attacks. I just thought I was too dumb for graduate school and had a bad time coping with that reality. But after some consultations with my doctor and my parents I realized that the best thing for me to do was to take a leave of absence after completing my Masters. I hoped that a year off might help me to decide whether I should continue on to do a PhD or move into some profession that would not cause my body to regularly seize up  with dread or cause the skin on my face to erupt in angry pulsing nodules of adolescent acne.

The year off was good for me. I worked for AmeriCorps, watched a lot of movies, read all of the Harry Potters, got a puppy, and learned how to share a home with the man who would eventually become my husband and the father of our two kids. At the end of the year I felt refreshed and returned to the University of Pittsburgh, fully ready to begin a PhD in film studies. I still had the occasional panic attacks, suffered from imposter syndrome, and regularly believed that there would never be enough hours in the day to complete all of the reading, viewing and writing that  I thought I needed to complete. But I also knew that being a scholar was what I liked best and so the constant anxiety, a kind of low-level hum –my body’s own white noise — was the penalty I had to pay to do what I loved.

During those 5 years I was always wondering if I was doing “enough” to succeed. I distinctly remember sitting around with my fellow PhDs, comparing the amount of hours we spent on our coursework each week — not to brag or one-up each other — but out of a genuine desire to determine whether what we were doing was truly “enough.” Because there was no other way to measure the knowledge we were slowly and painfully accumulating. Was 50 hours enough? 60?  70? (Answer: it is never enough).

Of course anyone who pursues a post-graduate degree  — doctors, lawyers, nurses, veterinarians — finds themselves devoting all of their free hours to their studies. But the difference for professors is that this frantic need to always be reading or writing, to always be a student, never really “ends.” In this profession we are made to feel as if teaching and committee work and the occasional article or book are not enough. If we’re not publishing books with the top presses or publishing articles in the top journals or being offered jobs at R1 schools, then we don’t really matter in the field. If we’re not always working (and I mean always working) then we don’t exist.

William Pannapacker addressed this issue quite well in a piece for The Chronicle of Higher Education, which is worth quoting at length, because it is fantastic:

If someone asks, “How are you?,” I sigh, shrug, and say, “Busy, like everyone else.” If pressed, I will admit that I spent some time with my family—the way a Mormon might confess to having tried a beer, once. For more than 20 years, I have worn what Ian Bogost has called “the turtlenecked hairshirt.” I can’t help it; self-abnegation is the deepest reflex of my profession, and it’s getting stronger all the time…

Surely, the Catholic tradition of monastics and mendicants lies behind this tendency that I share with my profession, but there are other traditions at work here. As H. L. Mencken said, Puritanism is “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” Happiness is worldliness, and idleness is sin: Work is an end in itself, as Max Weber observed in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Likewise, there’s an old, unspoken commandment, “A professor shall not be seen mowing the lawn on weekdays.”

This “turtlenecked hairshirt” doesn’t go away when you finish your dissertation, or (if you’re lucky) snag your first tenure track job. It doesn’t even end when you get tenure. I know professors who have climbed as far as they can up the academic hierarchy (and it is a woefully stubby ladder to begin with), but who still regularly churn out monographs and anthologies as if they are getting paid by the word. But here’s the thing: they’re not getting paid by the word. Or the chapter. They’re barely clearing a few hundred dollars for what is often years of tireless research and writing. No, academics are “paid” in positive reviews, citations, and ego stroking.We’re paid with tenure or new job opportunities. Those of us on the tenure track are “paid” in new titles: Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Full Professor.

***

I am a tenured professor working at a state university that has ceased to offer raises (including cost of living raises) to its faculty. When I started my job in 2007 I was making approximately $53,000, a solid starting salary for an Assistant Professor circa 2007. Today, after 7 years at the same institution, I’m proud of my research profile, the classes I’ve taught, the students I’ve mentored and the film studies program I’ve helped build, but my salary is a mere $2,000 more than it was when I started 7 years ago. I have been told by numerous administrators that I should not get my hopes up for a raise, that money is tight (even though newbie professors fresh out of graduate school are hired every year at much higher salaries). The $2,000 I received for getting tenure is likely going to be “it” for a very long time. Yes that’s correct, the only raise I’ve received in 7 years is $2,000 for getting tenure. Oh, you can also call me “Associate Professor” now. I know academic titles carry a lot of weight so I wanted to make sure y’all knew about that, too.

I had planned to spend my summer — as most academics do — working on a major research project, in this case, my next book project. I would find a way, as I always do, to fit research and writing into the pieces of time leftover after teaching a summer class, driving my kids to their various activities, and visiting the family and friends who live too far away to visit during the school year. My summer research projects always drain away the time I spent with family and friends, but I have done this every summer since I can remember: to get a job, to get tenure, and because I was always advised to work for the job I want, not the job I have.

“Why are you always working in the summer, aren’t you a teacher?” my non-academic friends often ask me, while my academic friends usually ask “What are you working on this summer?”

***

A few months ago, after a failed attempt to get a job at a university that might actually pay me a salary commensurate with my rank and experience, I came to the realization that the stress and late nights, the self doubt and loathing, were now unnecessary. I am not going to get a better-paying job and my current employers, no matter how many books I publish, how many students I mentor, or how many committees I serve on, are not going to give me any more money. Or at least not much money. Initially this realization made me despondent: if no one is paying me more money to produce more work, and very few people read the peer-reviewed articles or monographs I’m trying to crank out, then what happens? What happens when a professor no longer has any incentive to work at the breakneck pace at which she has been encouraged to work since she first embarked upon that great and arduous journey towards a career in academia?

Nothing. Nothing happens. And, dear reader, it is glorious.

Yes, this summer I decided to stop: panicking, working at 9pm after the kids go to bed, working on Saturday afternoons, bringing “work” with me on vacation, making myself feel guilty for not working on vacation, complaining about how “busy” and “stressed” I am all the time in real life and online, writing articles or presenting at conferences just to add a line to my CV, writing shit that no one will be able to read because it’s locked behind a paywall, viewing the success of my friends and colleagues as a indictment of my own (non)success, and staring at my computer screen while my kids ask when I will be done working so I can play with them. Plus, most people believe that professors are lazy layabouts in the summer anyway, so I decided to start living up to the stereotype.

So this summer I’ve been on vacation — a real, honest-to-goodness vacation. Sure, I taught a 5-week class and I’ve answered urgent emails. I’ve spoken with colleagues about conference panels and workshops. And right now I’m writing this blog post. But I’ve stopped with the “musts” and the “shoulds.” I’m only working on what I want to work on. And sometimes, even when I really do feel like I’d like to say, brush up on the history of broadcast television, I decide to go out to lunch with my kids instead. Just because. I’m saying “no” to “Would you like to chair this blah blah blah…” and “yes” to “Would you like to sit in this chair and drink a cocktail?” And I’m enjoying my family and my life in a way that I haven’t been able to since…well, since I started graduate school back in 1999.

I want to be clear: I love writing and researching. I love the feeling of finishing a sentence and knowing that it says exactly what I want it to say. I love following an idea through all the way and producing scholarship that is readable and functional. I’m incredibly proud of my first book and I think it’s doing something useful in the subfield of genre studies. But my scholarship won’t cure cancer. It doesn’t provide fresh drinking water to drought-stricken regions. It’s not even the kind of writing people stay up all night reading and then eagerly discuss with their book club the next day, like Twilight. That’s just not how humanities scholarship works. So I’m in no big rush to publish my next piece of scholarship. While I love doing good scholarship I don’t love feeling like a hamster on a wheel: working, working, working for no tangible reward and with no end in sight. At least the hamster is getting exercise.

***

Last week my children and I drove up to Connecticut to spend a few days with a dear friend and her family. They swam and dug holes and her kids taught my kids how to catch (and release) frogs. They were having the kind of summer I remember having when I was young — days that unspool in no particular hurry, with no clear agenda. As we walked home in the twilight, holding hands, my daughter said to me “This is the best vacation ever!” And she’s right, it is.

Frog catching
Frog catching

 

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56 thoughts on “No End in Sight: Academic Research and “Time Off”

    Lisa said:
    July 22, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Great post; insightful of both the field and the self.

    Pris said:
    July 22, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    I like this one a lot. I am 99% certain that I *don’t* exist, though, and I’m actually okay with that as long as my paycheck is a living wage (it isn’t).

    Erin B. Taylor said:
    July 24, 2014 at 2:22 am

    Great post. I spent probably twenty months working like that when I first started teaching. Then, one day when I was completely exhausted and had dragged myself out of bed, someone accused me of not working enough. That was it for me. Since then I’ve worked to my own schedule and interests. Glad I came to the realization early!!

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    July 25, 2014 at 3:49 am

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    Renee said:
    July 25, 2014 at 7:53 am

    Wonderful! “At least the hamster is getting exercise,” I’m just getting worn out, except for the good and needed laugh this line gave me today. Thank you for posting this well-crafted, spot-on piece; and enjoy what remains of summer.

    Alex Le said:
    July 25, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Thank you very much for sharing your experience and ideas. This summer, after being denied a sabbatical and after receiving tenure, I decided that I needed to focus on recovering my health and spending time with my family who lives abroad. I often feel guilty, but I know that if I do not do it now, I will regret it later. Thank you!

    V. Santiago-Irizarry said:
    July 25, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    Right on! Thank you, especially because I just spent a summer thinking of bailing out. I’d add that these feeling become particularly acute when one is in an institution that is striving to hit the top ten and thus the page-counters have taken the upper hand. Never mind that forests are perishing so that academics can enhance their credentials from year to year for meagre salary raises by churning out pages and pages of text that no one reads. Add to this the dominant corporate and neoliberal current university model and the prevalence of the student consumer, and there’s the context you’re addressing.

    So, yes, I’ve spent the summer mostly engaged in leisure reading, and pushing deadlines back because it’ll be done when it’s done and if not, have some other soul, hankering after meaningless credentials, do it.

      scarlet689 said:
      July 28, 2014 at 5:56 am

      Bravo, Amanda. I have always admired your candor and insight, and this piece is brimming with both. Thank you.

    […] No End in Sight: Academic Research and “Time Off” […]

    s.alvarez said:
    July 26, 2014 at 12:20 am

    amen! i really couldn’t have said it better myself. thank you for taking the time to write up this blog. as a humanities prof & mom of three in very similar situation it’s great to read this & have some re-affirmation that i am not the only one & know it’s time to reclaim our summers & lives before they totally devour us. enjoy what’s left of the summer.

    Professor said:
    July 26, 2014 at 6:29 am

    This hits the nail on the head. I am tired of working 60 hours a week year round for no recognition and little pay. I think we should all commit to a 40-hour work week, period.

    Katy said:
    July 27, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Thanks so much for this – as others have said, these are all too familiar scenarios for so many. (Had a little rant about it on my own blog: http://www.katyhamilton.co.uk/2014/06/15/giving-our-all-at-what-cost/ – if you’re interested!). Here’s to those guilt-free holidays, and having the time to do what you *want* to do.

    Katy said:
    July 27, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    Thanks so much for this – as others have already commented, you’ve outlined all too familiar thoughts and scenarios here, and I wish you all the very best in your pursuit of time for yourself and your family! I had a similar rant on my own blog (http://www.katyhamilton.co.uk/2014/06/15/giving-our-all-at-what-cost/) if you’re interested. Have a great summer.

    Amanda Ann Klein responded:
    July 27, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    Thanks for reading and commenting, everyone!

    This post was not intended to be prescriptive–just a way for me to sort out what it’s like to take an actual vacation for the first time in 15 years–but I’m so pleased that other academics have found it useful. It seems that all of us REALLY REALLY need a vacation…

    I hope you all find your moment of zen this summer.

    anxiousabd said:
    July 27, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Did you ever have one of those moments where you read something and everything suddenly snaps into focus? Reading this was it, for me. I have been having panic attacks for the last three years of grad school… and I’ve realized that I probably drink more than I should for precisely the reason you described… Overall, I am deteriorating physically and mentally. It’s been difficult for me to express why I am willingly doing this to myself, and I get stuck in a guilt/shame spiral whenever I engage in self-care. As an ABD, dedicating time for self-care and working at a pace where I can quell the panic often means going at a pace slower than might please others (or slower than what I think might please others). I needed an extension for a couple of papers after I was hospitalized for what turned out to be a panic attack and when I finally handed them in I got A-s on them (instead of As). A professor of mine actually told me he was disappointed and hoped I wasn’t slipping on effort. The great thing was that for the first time I realized what was actually important was doing the best work I could while not sacrificing my health. In the end, will it really matter if my transcript has some A-s instead of As? Probably not.
    Anyway please accept my boundless gratitude for helping me think about and reflect on these themes and cut myself a break. I do enjoy grad school and I can see myself being happy being a professor but I worry about the endless pressure to publish and the negativity which that engenders harming my mental health (if I’m even lucky enough to get a TT job). The downward spiral of competitive pressure (even if that pressure is only generated by how you think you measure up to what you’re supposed to be doing) is a dangerous thing. I’m glad you were able to escape it. I hope I can keep this in mind as I move forward.

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    July 27, 2014 at 6:29 pm

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    Maybe Next Summer | Daily Nous said:
    July 28, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    […] exist,” will, I’m sure, resonate with many readers. It is at Klein’s blog, Judgmental Observer. […]

    Sabrina Lobo said:
    July 28, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!
    I would appreciate if you checked my blog as well. It’s a lifestyle and entertainment blog.
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    Der Pinkster said:
    July 28, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Love that you’re embracing the summer! We academics really need to work on work/life balance without the omnipresent guilt.

    LaDale Winling said:
    July 28, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    This issue of the endlessly flexible (but potentially endless) work week of academics always brings me back to one of my most deeply held beliefs:

    In an affluent society (and an affluent strata of that society) we have the unprecedented opportunity, if not the obligation, to pursue more leisure rather than more money. I can’t imagine how my grandparents or great-grandparents would feel to look at one of the grand kids they worked and sacrificed so much for (as a farmer, a house painter, or manual laborer) and see them feeling miserable chained behind a desk, haunted by the thought of working more more more.

    It may be unorthodox, but I do feel I’m realizing the goals of previous generations by NOT working at my absolute capacity — only enough to make myself happy. I hope everyone (especially the academics I know) gets to this point of satisfaction and security.

    melanie b said:
    July 28, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    I’m eating up the honesty with a spoon. Thank you! Make me feel less alone as I learn to navigate the culture of academia.

    beetleb100 said:
    July 29, 2014 at 4:19 am

    That was fantastically honest and refreshing. With academia an option in my career path, its nice to hear the reality instead of the constant “you MUST get tenure at a good university to be a worthwhile academic!!”. You deserve many more frog-catching, cocktail drinking holidays in the summers to come. Make sure you take them!! 🙂

    Jessica & Love said:
    July 29, 2014 at 7:56 am

    Phenomenal piece! Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! 🙂 Jess

    nicshep said:
    July 29, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Congratulations on seeing the light. Ive come to the same conclusion too. Enjoy more precious moments!

    afiwiyono said:
    July 29, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Reblogged this on Chosen and commented:
    Great, i should concern my studies more. Perhaps, i would be a professor of life, it is just hilarious tho

    earnestern said:
    July 29, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Very nicely written. As someone working in industry, I’d just like to say that much of this holds true for any professional, especially if working from home where the pressure to prove your worth can sometimes feel overpowering.

    blessuptomlinson said:
    July 29, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    What is that in the net Amanda?

      Amanda Ann Klein responded:
      July 29, 2014 at 2:46 pm

      It’s a frog. We let them all go, I promise (we’re vegetarians after all). : )

    Elizabeth said:
    July 29, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Oh my GOD!!! Though I am now… oh dear…is it 17 years? out of academia, HOW I IDENTIFY with this article. I too LOVED discovering literature and articulate ways of expressing ideas. I loved having a particular inner life that was a way of perceiving the world. And yet, all the things you posted are the same feelings I had, and are many of the reasons I DIDN’T go on for a PhD. The constant feelings of inadequacy and the condescension from certain professors in teaching style, the time I sat in a chair for five hours re-reading those few pages of Derrida and still had NO IDEA what he was talking about, which led me to the one and only time I cried in class — in the next day’s discussion…..when that should have said more about Derrida than about me……the completely insane ratio of toil and anxiety to actual reward of any kind IF you could even get a job…. oh yeah, and the breakdown over the experience of the Master’s exam. It pissed me off that many students — prob many more than I even knew — needed to be on anti-anxiety or OCD medication to make it through. It pissed me off that even at professor level, it was still left for the female in the dept to put out the food spread at a meeting. It pissed me off that there is serious evidence that health is worse in female academics than many non-academics or male academics. Yeah, and the fact that you could not just read deeply and discuss that poem or novel, you had to micro-dissect it and/or position it as a latent symbolic tract for some esoteric psycho-sexual or political identity. Oh, and what of the ever widening maw between my language/culture reference or interest and my students’? And the push to become both the totally flexible jane-of-all classes teacher as well as ever more and more specialized in one’s own research, into a little pigeonhole where you would be able to talk to about three other people in the world? I just knew I personally could not do it emotionally — and at the time I had virtually no other real obligations! Can you tell this is still traumatic for me so many years later?

    Jean said:
    July 29, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    I guess my question is by now: Do you enjoy teaching? The biggest complaint of students is the low to mediocre quality of teaching..teaching in a way to inspire and stimulate plus hold their attention in this age of distraction.

      Amanda Ann Klein responded:
      August 4, 2014 at 1:38 am

      I love teaching. And my students pay tuition to take my classes. So I feel more beholden to them than to anyone else at my university. I’m never going to punish my students for my state’s idiotic policies re: higher education funding.

    Guillaume Cabanac (@tafanor) said:
    August 3, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Thanks for sharing. It reminds me about what a friend of mine one said to me:
    “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” He told me in English, and since I’m not a native speaker, this stuck to my mind in a blink.

    On the other hand, I like to contemplate this quote by Andy Warhol:
    ““Work is play when it’s something you like.”

    Eventually, I managed to work and play on a reflexive paper with a fellow workaholic during summer 2012 → http://doi.org/10.1002/asi.22888

    Best wishes,

    Guillaume

    creativeconfessions said:
    August 4, 2014 at 2:37 am

    What a fantastically-written post!

    Siddharth Muzumdar said:
    August 4, 2014 at 7:37 am

    This is fantastic Though I’m not a PhD, I do have that sense of working all day. Reading and writing are like oxygen to me; I can barely survive a day without reading something. And that perpetual sense of wanting to read something all day drives me into obsession at times. I totally understand what you feel because not getting paid for what one is really good at and not being able to view it materialistically is a lot disappointing. But c’est la vie… 😦

    Somewhere else, part 154 | Freakonometrics said:
    August 5, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    […] “It’s Your Duty to Be Miserable!” via http://chronicle.com/… “No End in Sight: Academic Research and “Time Off”” https://judgmentalobserver.com/2014/… […]

    […] And I’m enjoying my family and my life in a way that I haven’t been able to since…well, since I started graduate school back in […]

    Rebekah Farrugia said:
    August 21, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write and post this. As a recently appointed associate at a state university wiht two young children it really resonated with me.

    利点 said:
    August 25, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    まぁ、この2名は単なる無能で、秋元のような天才ではないがw
    女優とか勘違いもはなはだしい 病気だろこいつww
    と、恋愛や結婚に一生無縁のキモオタ童貞が申しております。

    appslotus said:
    September 1, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Reblogged this on Apps Lotus's Blog.

    Rebecca Meyer said:
    September 1, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    I loved reading this post. I am about to begin applying to grad school, and I have felt much of the anxiety you described. I’m a perfectionist–I freeze, panic at the thought of failing. During my first year of undergrad, I took on too many activities and worked myself too hard. I learned that it’s okay to take a step back, breathe, and relax. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who has felt this way at some point.

    blackenedgreen said:
    September 2, 2014 at 7:05 am

    Love, love, love it! For what its worth, thank you for writing this. It may not cure cancer, but it warms my heart

    PB said:
    September 2, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Your article may have slightly changed my life. I’m in a masters program right now, and feeling the pressure. I love to learn, research, and make arguments… but THIS much? I thought going back to get a masters would make me a better history teacher, but academics today is way too pressurized. You can tell. There’s a marked difference in reading academic books written 50 years ago and books written now. The older books just seem to have more life and passion and love for the subject in them, a bit of eloquence. Today it’s more dry. We need the passion back, and stop worshiping busy-ness. Otherwise, why be in the humanities? As it stands now, I wish to teach and inspire students, not be the slave of the school administration.

    Angielala said:
    September 3, 2014 at 4:46 am

    Maybe you haven’t cured cancer, but there’s obviously a lot of us out here who are so grateful and pleased and just relieved to hear that someone made it out alive and all right. I have nowhere near the amount of anxiety and stress that you have described, so knowing that someone in your situation has been able to pull through lets me know that all my frustrations are only temporary.

    sarahjane2x"s said:
    September 4, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Reblogged this on sarahjane2x.

    kelsydemelo said:
    September 4, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Great post- I have recently left a steady, mind numbing position in order to pursue a career that I actually want, and am taking some time off in between, including time off from my Master’s degree. Sometimes you need a change of course and a little room to breathe- glad to hear I’m not the only one!!

    jeremiah8777 said:
    September 5, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Anna stood up in her class and stated that at church they were told the story of” Jona being swallowed by a whale” ! The Teacher then replied, “I’m sorry Anna but a whale can not possibly shallow a human, it’s ucofiuos is to small” ! Anna rebuttal, “but it’s in the Bible” ! Anna I’m sorry but it’s impossible! Anna stated back, “when i get to heaven, i’ll ask Jona”! Teacher ;”but what if he goes to hell” ? Anna,” then you ask him” !

    andemumoh said:
    September 5, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    Reblogged this on Andemumoh's Blog.

    Stephen said:
    September 6, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    This is fantastic!

    My favourite line is: I’m saying “no” to “Would you like to chair this blah blah blah…” and “yes” to “Would you like to sit in this chair and drink a cocktail?” haha!

    As a post-grad student I feel that constant work guilt (I REALLY SHOULD BE WORKING ON MY RESULTS SECTION RIGHT NOW).

    In many ways you turned me off of my slight interest in an academic career. I don’t want that level of pressure. So cheers *lifts martini* to Summers!

    petradmd said:
    September 10, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    Reblogged this on Lessons Learned in Life and Medicine and commented:
    The sweet freedom of surrendering to enjoying your work and letting go of the “shoulds”. Great article!

    Rosaria Burchielli said:
    September 21, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Great post – resonated with me, an Australian academic.

    mentalhealpower said:
    September 21, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    nice written

    katies123 said:
    September 24, 2014 at 9:23 am

    Thank you for this. I’m an undergrad majoring in Classical Archaeology and Latin, and I feel constant pressure about getting into grad school, my (hopefully) future job, and the need to keep up with everyone else. It is really nice to remember why I chose to study what I do in the first place- because I love it- and that there is no chance I’m the only student out there that feels this way.

    Povonte said:
    October 1, 2014 at 6:44 am

    Very cute and fun, made me smile

    should have left sooner | christianlong.org said:
    November 15, 2014 at 3:14 am

    […] looked for it much sooner.” A while back someone I follow on twitter approvingly linked to “No End in Sight: Academic Research and “Time Off”” In it, Amanda Ann Klein writes about her search for a job “that might actually pay me a salary […]

    Julie’s Week 7: A Work-Work Balance | 52 Habits said:
    February 15, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    […] what it feels like to do this job; one of my more recent discoveries is Amanda Ann Klein’s “No End In Sight: Academic Research and ‘Time Off’”, in which Klein, considering what it would take to get to the status of full professor from […]

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