Category Archives: Banes

Found phrases

“It is I who have learned to stand in my own way because of having been taught it was illegitimate that I could do these things, and inappropriate that I should be happy.”

That was in a computer file I am deleting.

Axé.

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On abusers and enablers in academic culture

This is an important article and should be read. “You would be hard-pressed to find a mental-health professional, a productivity expert, or a writing coach who would suggest that — rather than recognizing people’s talent and rewarding their hard work — the way to get good results out of people is by making them feel inadequate or confused,” is one of its key sentences.

My current weapon against anxiety is to give myself time, not try to rush. I am amazed how easy it is to start work when I know that starting does not have to mean rushing. This, for me, is the true procrastination-buster.

The other general weapon is to keep saying my work is good enough and that I am not crazy. The linked article talks about the impact of gas-lighting, and the importance of not deciding, in that situation, that the problem actually is you.

Holding onto these weapons, keeping them at hand and within view, is a constant struggle.

Axé.

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Corazonada

Yea, verily I say unto thee that it is a bad omen when you do not wake up in the morning thinking about research and teaching, but about how to withstand and/or avoid bullying and harassment.

Axé.

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Some things I learned at the conference

I learned a number of the things one normally learns, about new work, ideas, books. I learned that I have to actually write the proto-article I presented on: it is time to write it, and the thinking will come in the writing. Here are some of the other things I learned.

My projects are many and complex. They are like those of the stars and people who get invited to be keynote speakers. This is why I always end up in conversation with those people. And someone told me that it involves having the kind of thick education that many professors don’t have anymore.

Anyway, the reason I don’t develop my projects well enough is that they need R1 time and confidence, ideally, or barring that a more positive or at least less hostile work environment; and also that I’ve always been taught to be tentative, to limit myself, not to jump in with both feet. Jumping in with both feet is something within my power, as well as leading myself from the head and not pushing myself from the back (this last is what those who say their problem is not liking to write do). And standing up against mistreatment.

Also, I remember that in Reeducation I was not only accused of being too logical, but having excessive powers of concentration and focus. I kept saying these were just my academic training, and that I needed them, they were a tool of my trade, but my Reeducator was looking for pathology and thought he might be able to tackle me with an OCD diagnosis. I was afraid of this because I was afraid of the drugs I would have to take, and tried to show that I could destroy or disable my powers of concentration and focus on my own, without drugs (thus also proving I was not wicked, and trying to earn the right to something more like psychoanalysis).

The other part of Reeducation was academia and in it I was shocked to find myself, first, in a teaching-and-pampering situation and next, in a research-first situation where research wasn’t an intellectual endeavor but a measurable production endeavor for the university as industrial complex. It took me a long time to understand these situations and my lack of comprehension of them.

I think that for my article on neoliberalization these things are important. I remember some of the first signs of it when I was a student. We took them seriously but did not understand them as completely as I do now (and it’s not a question of hindsight; the information existed but we did not have it). I think that the whole time I have been a professor is the time in which this destruction has been happening. We’re accused of not having stood up to it but in my case it has been not understanding it, or at least not understanding it immediately. I have only become really able to understand it recently.

Axé.

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My first enemy

All these years I have felt sorry for my colleague because he was depressed and not as well educated and hadn’t had as much fun in life as I have had and wasn’t as inspired, so I made allowances for his vagaries, but now I realize his waif act has always been just a cover story for his enormous passive-aggressive plan. Everyone has always encouraged me to feel sorry for people who behave badly instead of be angry at them, but I declare this is actually very bad training. Very bad because now that I see who this person is, I am his enemy — whereas had I never gone into denial, I would just have been cold-neutral.

I have had people who were my enemies and realized it, but this is the first time I have decided to become someone’s enemy.

Axé.

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It is a normal day and I am begging my colleagues to do their jobs

A favor for T: could you get the language evaluation for the Fulbright in sooner, rather than later? Here’s why: there is a possibility B won’t get to his letter. Any encouragement you can offer B, or help editing, would be great but B is going abroad for 10 days on Friday. He has fallen down on letters before and I would say there is about a 50-50 chance of his doing this. I’ve hinted at him as much as I can, and T is at this moment making a final plea.

If B cannot manage to write, T will need to get a new recommender and perhaps a short extension from Fulbright. It will help if the rest of the application is complete. Your language evaluation and B’s letter are all that are missing, and it will look a lot better for T if there is only one piece missing and not two.

T has strong letters from me, S (a prominent professor in another department), and R (the university Fulbright advisor). From Fulbright Country he has beautiful affiliation letters from the President of the Academy of Letters (also a professor at the Catholic University), a full professor in field at the national university, and the director of a poetry foundation who has published extensively and on modern texts. T’s statement of purpose is well done and R thought it was fundable even before meeting T for the Fulbright interview.

It would be such a shame for this application to be incomplete/late because of a missing letter from our department. I’m asking you to get your language evaluation done so the packet is complete minus one, not minus two. As I say, T is making a final plea to B. Then if B disappears there will still be a few days to make an emergency request to someone else and perhaps an emergency request for extension from Fulbright, so that that person has time to write their letter.

Axé.

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Cut from an e-mail

The time to plan courses for Spring, 2018 was Spring, 2017 and we did it, quite carefully. We can adjust things now but I do not want to reinvent the entire plan. I just don’t have time. I have a great deal of administrative work, and I simply have to be efficient.

Axé.

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