§ I am not one of those people who “loves” teaching or who became a professor so as to teach. As I always say, had it been my desire to teach, I could have stayed at home or chosen a place I wanted to live. Yet I experience a flash of longing when the zydeco men on the radio talk about their other project: teaching GED classes. I want to join them! I want a job with meaning, that is involved with a community and does some good!
§ It was always emphasized to me that jobs were not for fulfillment, but to support oneself. I should be grateful not to be stuck at home with children, and satisfied with just having a drink now and then “for kicks.” But I would so like to do something meaningful with what I have left of life, something in which I do more than reverberate ventriloquism.
§ I became a professor because I wanted an intellectual life, but it did not give me one and I am not the only one who has found this. I have been called “arrogant,” “immature,” and “unrealistic” for wanting work that meant something, or that I enjoyed, or could be proud of, or believe in. I am strongly affected by these characterizations, yet I disagree with them. And this disagreement is of course a sign of middle class privilege, since working stiffs do not expect to enjoy their jobs.
§ What can I do about these things today? 1. Maintain integrity whether anyone else does or not. 2. Keep working like a real professional, not a faux one, whether anyone else does or not. 3. Be autonomous, take autonomy, whether this is authorized or not. Because I do not believe work is something you should just put up with and suffer through, and I know my attitude is not just a childish fantasy.