Annorlunda Books has a new release — the novella Caresaway! Go check it out!
I have been reading “The Professor Is In: The Essential Guide to Turning Your PhD Into a Job” by Karen Kelsky. It’s interesting and very engaging, and I believe it is an invaluable job-hunting resource for people in the humanities and social sciences. (Some of the wisdom translates well to the physical or biological sciences, but much does not, as the cultures do differ.) The book has been reviewed extensively on Amazon, so I won’t do it here. What I wanted to highlight is a rather personal essay by Kelsky from her website “The Professor Is In” on how her successful business as an academic coach and the accompanying book came to be (she also writes a column at Chronicle Vitae). She completely left academia after ~15 years; at the time she held the position of department head at a midwestern R1. She cites two key reasons for leaving, one of which was that she felt that her soul was dying because of the culture of the place. The essay describes elements of the culture that are common at research universities and that I recognize at my place of employment. The issues she discusses are exacerbated for expat academics away from metropolitan areas: the locals are indifferent to or even uncomfortable around foreigners (or perhaps certain kinds of foreigners), so that non-church and non-work friendships are exceedingly difficult to forge, yet work relationships are usually just “colleagueships,” i.e., situational friendships at best but usually just decades-long civil coexistence. If our family were to pack up and leave today, my kids’ friends might be sad, but not a soul would truly care about either DH or me leaving (beyond a few being irritated that my massive teaching and service now have to be covered by someone else). But, it is what it is, I suppose; it makes me cherish our little family and the connections I do make, IRL or online.
Speaking of connections, here’s an interesting story from Louie CK.