Monday, August 30, 2010

I Really Like My Job

I worry sometimes that this point gets lost in all the political kvetching and bitching about the workaday bullshit we professional philosophers endure: This is an awesome job. One thing I find especially gratifying is that several of our best undergraduate majors are products of my intro courses. Now, I don't teach many courses in the upper division, so I didn't have much to do with their subsequent growth. But it feels good anyway.

--Mr. Zero

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ditto. Best damn job in the world if you can tolerate the low pay and others reminding you that what you do is not really work because you enjoy it so much!

Anonymous said...

I've spent many many years trying to get into the "best damn job." Hope I make it someday.

Anonymous said...

I actually liked being an adjunct more than being a tenured faculty member at a small school in the middle of nowhere with only 3 colleagues who aren't interested in philosophy anymore and shitty students. The fact that I make twice as much as a lecturer doesn't even begin to make up for the rest.

Being an adjunct at a big school was great: good colleagues, a nice city, good students. What sucked was the pay and the temp nature.

Enjoy the aspects of the adjunct life that are good. It might not get better.

Anonymous said...

I should add that I have considered asking for that adjunct job back. My wife and I are seriously considering it. It might be better than what we have now.

zombie said...

I loved my last adjunct job. Good school, good students, supportive department, great location. I love my fellowship right now. Great colleagues, great university (but so-so location). Except for the longterm uncertainty, being a philosopher is a great job.

Asstro said...

I was just having this conversation last night with my wife and my mother (who is visiting). I insisted that I couldn't imagine not being a philosopher, that I have the best job in the world. They insisted that they couldn't imagine being a philosopher. They think I'm crazy, that what we do is just maddening.

I found their position perplexing. I get to read and write all day, think hard about very difficult issues, discuss these issues late into the night with students and colleagues, and I get paid to do this. Moreover, I have all the perks of academia, including an incredibly flexible schedule. Seriously, what's not to love?

At this point in my career, a lot of the uncertainty and anxiety is behind me, which is nice. I admit that the uncertainty was a real downer. Those of you on the job market have a fair bit to complain about. I don't want to downplay the significance of that. Nor do I want to suggest that there aren't other factors, like location, that determine whether one's particular job is good or bad.

Whatever the case, I very much do love my job, and I thank my lucky stars every day that I get to do what I love. I can't imagine doing any other job, so much so that I want to believe that everyone else would be equally stoked to have my job.

Apparently, however, some people, even people I care very much about, disagree with me. Fancy that!

Anonymous said...

Being a philosopher definitely is not for everyone, but it's good, if you like that sort of stuff.

That said, most other professionals who are passionate about their job would say the same thing about their profession, that they can't seem themselves doing much else.

Anonymous said...

I remember that pleasure Mr. Zero. Now I'm recently tenured at a shitty school and so jaded that I feel disgusted at myself and with the students who decide to major in philosophy after taking one my courses.

Anonymous said...

My sense is that we philosophers feel disappointment about our job and profession when we set ourselves up for it. First we must admit that despite our aspirations to be a tenured faculty member at a top research school most of us will end up at best a tenured faculty at a teaching school and more likely an adjunct or term lecturer at a state school. If we can come to terms with this and realize that it does not necessarily reflect our skill or intelligence as philosophers, then we're more likely to relish the special character of our jobs. Most professionals do not get such a flexible schedule or the freedom to express their ideas (no matter how wacky) that we do.

Applicantus said...

Fellow smokers, I need a bit of teaching advice or some help brainstorming. My class will be taking place in a very large classroom where the chairs are pinned to the floor. I was planning on quite a bit of small group discussion during class, but that would now be a challenge. Or will it? How realistic will it be to ask students to turn around in their chairs and discuss with those seated behind them? How many at a time? This is a medical ethics class, and so I was planning on many case studies. (The reason I only found it out now is that the classroom was being renovated and last year the chairs were not bolted to the floor in that particular room; it is now much fancier, though not very conducive for my purposes - and it's too late to change rooms, since I have 80 students).
Any thoughts?

Anonymous said...

I love my job but I do occasionally wonder whether I would be happier in a profession in which I spent less time feeling like a stupid person.

Anonymous said...

I have to wonder whether many "lovers of wisdom" are thinking rationally when it comes to the sort of job they'll be happy with. If your standard for comparison is the top 10% or so of the best-paid, most prestigious philosophy jobs available, it's no surprise that you'd be unhappy with your 4/4 load and 100 students. But what many philosophers seem to overlook is just how nice they have it compared to what the vast majority of people throughout history have had to do each day just to survive. Even when compared with how most Americans in the past century have lived, philosophers today have it pretty good. For the record, I've got a 5/5 load and 175 mostly mediocre students. Like just about everyone else, I wanted a research job or at least a job at a school that offered a major in philosophy. Even so, I'm thrilled to go to work each day not because I can't imagine anything better, but because I'm mindful that so many people have it so much worse.