I went to California on some difficult business and it was so beautiful, it was like being on vacation regardless of the circumstances. Driving to the airport I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge in April sunlight and it was a normal day. The man next to me on the plane from San Francisco to Dallas was Mexican living in California, flying to São Paulo on business and since that conversation I have been fixated on the idea of having a nice job in southern Brazil. Something is happening.
That night and the next at dinners here we talked about it. One colleague says this is the craziest place he has ever worked and another says my teaching problem here is not a problem of me but of the others; they do not bring research into teaching but tell stories, or give tests, or deliver Derrida in a nice package, but do not bring questions into teaching or show learning as a process. Knowledge is not knowledge but status and power, and information is imparted but not skills. This was quite illuminating.
People assume that if you do a Ph.D. professor is your dream job but I always thought of it as a starter job … that I ended up liking a certain version of, enough to keep it forever. But the job model for me is: high level research and collaboration in large organization with large impact, urban life and a lot of interesting work related travel. Graduate school was like that but the professor jobs I have had, have not been.
For now what I am going to do is put my foot down about being serious, and also undertake a great deal of self care. We were taught to sacrifice but it turns out that without a great deal of self care we cannot be who we are asked to be, give what we are asked to give.
And our lives are more interesting than we realize, someone said, and we are all massively dissatisfied and on the market but at least we are not at a sterile place like Princeton; et chacun vit comme il peut.