Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Bad Talk, Good Talk

I went to a really good luncheon today. It was very different than the really bad talk I went to yesterday. The former was an IBM sponsored event targeted at women who are in the last stages of their PhD program and the opportunities that they have awaiting them. The latter was one academic's opinion of working in academia. Let me give you the secret title's of these talks; the actual description of the actual content of each one.

1. "In which two very distinguished, articulate, and snarky women from IBM encourage their audience to just stick with a PhD; that you have power to negotiate your completion plan with your advisor and that your thesis is only proof that you can start a big project and see it to completion, and there are plenty of opportunities in places that aren't sick, diseased, and horribly misogynistic."

2. "In which a narrowly-focused academic who has never had a job in industry perpetuates myths about how working at a top-tier university as a tenure-track professor is the greatest profession in the world which is perfectly fine opinion to have but then goes on to say that everything else is just a job; a stress-free, nine-to-five, job where no great ideas are formed and that you as an audience member should feel horribly guilty for considering anything else leaving the audience member to wonder about how teachers, waitresses, and engineers would feel about this."

I am very glad that (1) took place after (2). Yesterday I was depressed. Today I'm inspired.


shannon said...

lesson learned: always ask for the bad news first when someone says, "I've got good news and bad news."

Glad that the second talk boosted your spirits, too bad the first had to be such a downer. You should report back to the people who put the first talks on and let them know how it affected you...

Jeff Erickson said...

What?!! Are you daring suggesting that being a tenure-track professor at a top-tier university is NOT the greatest profession in the world? That other professions might have some intrinsic value that even approaches the eternal glory of academia? I'm shocked! SHOCKED!!


I agree with Shannon. Let the people who organized the talks know what you heard! Sometimes us profs need to be reminded about, about... How you say? Ah, yes. Reality.