• College Ready Writing

    A blog about education, higher ed, teaching, and trying to re-imagine how we provide education.


Worn Down

The emotional labor necessary to do all my jobs has finally caught up with me. 

May 2, 2013

I haven’t been blogging nearly as much over the past two months as I usually do. My three-a-week has sputtered to two and sometimes only one post a week. It’s not that I haven’t been writing, it’s that all that writing (and the grading and the end of the semester and the long winter and...life) have taken away most of my energy, leaving me drained, and thus unable to really devote the mental energy I need to write in this space.

And it’s not that I don’t want to write in this space; I have a lot of fragments of posts, ideas that I just haven’t had time to work through to turn them into proper posts. And, they are topics that require a lot of mental energy. I need to think these ideas through a little more, to develop them in ways that ensure that the ideas behind them aren’t misunderstood (ok, less likely to be misunderstood). I’ll be thinking about the topic during the day, but when 9pm rolls around, and the kids are finally in bed, the ideas that had been so clear in my mind during the day seem to have dissipated.

Even this post is a fragment, a much shorter meditation on the emotional labor that goes into teaching off the tenure-track, of trying to transition into something else, and being pretty public in different spaces. I’m struggling to write about it in a meaningful way that doesn’t lead to getting ripped in the comments. I’m genuinely interested in these issues, certainly stemming from my own personal experience, but also the experiences of the people around me. I’m trying to figure out how I can use this space to start a real conversation about this.

Related: why do are some academics celebrated for writing about these topics and (most) others shamed?

I’m still picking at that scab that is the contentiousness around alt-ac careers (in which I include job for PhDs outside of academia). It seems like these are the thin edge of sometime, or just the tip of something else, but it’s hard to get at it because it any discussion of it inspires such a heated and visceral reaction.

I don’t know why I insist on staying on these topics that are so draining, intellectually and emotionally, for me. Really, I want to slow down and try to think about why I’m doing any of this: my book, my blog, my alt-ac work, even my teaching. And why am I trying to do all of these things at the same freaking time?

Hopefully, I’ll have the summer to think through these things. Hopefully, you’ll stick around to read them. 


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