A friend says her problem is not only the lack of resources, conditions, and funding for research, it is the lack of a research culture. She says she needs a research culture, and she clearly does not consider this need to be a personal failing. She believes it is normal.
As we know, I have been told many times that one should not need a research culture. One has all the resources one needs since one has electronic access to so many things. I have explained before that electronic access is a supplement and enhancement, not a replacement for actual libraries and archives. I have said I wanted a research culture. I have acknowledged how self indulgent it is to want one, and how weak I am to need one. I have not allowed myself to consider it an objective necessity.
From very early on I was told that my goal was teaching and that I would have a hard time remembering research. My interest in research was disappointing to those who held this expectation and I came to feel guilty about having it. At the same time I feel guilty not being more productive than I am. I self mutilate in many contradictory ways, all so as to become the right person.
But this colleague says a research culture is a necessity. She says it completely naturally, the way one says food is a necessity. I find this fascinating. She believes herself to have the right to exist as herself. That is less common than one might believe.
And it appears that many people went to graduate school so they could teach, and see research as something they have to get through so as to keep on teaching. It appears that they knew this was the reality in most of academia. It appears that I did not, although I was expected to know it almost naturally, being a girl.
This, then, would be my advice to advanced graduate students: figure out whether your aim really is to be a research professional. If it is, look for a research job, whether it is an academic one or not.
I think many of us were forced into academia because our graduate programs left us no time to think, and accustomed us to accepting whatever position we could get for the next semester or the next year because we wanted to eat.
I do not mind teaching at all, but I am even less willing to sacrifice a research culture for the sake of being able to teach, than I am willing to submit to a suburban or rural life for that reason.
The willingness to say so is the difference between myself and more professors than I would have expected.