Friday, July 20, 2007

Okay, so a little bit more about getting older — or on "Being Adult"

As I was putting black bars over the faces of my erstwhile classmates from the 1970's, I began some thinking about "Being An Adult."

Adulthood has many markers, one big one being a Recognizable Job. One of the first questions asked when people meet, after all, is "What do you do?."

I've been an academic of one sort or another for over ten years now — first as a graduate student, then as a graduate student and undergraduate teacher, then (after earning my PhD) exclusively as a publishing/aspiring academic and undergraduate lecturer, in search of a tenure-track teaching job. Soon I will start my position as a university administrator, which is something altogether different.

My Lovely Wife has been a full-fledge lawyer now for nearly ten years. The professional lives and responsibilities of lawyers and academics differ in radical and significant ways, but they do have one thing in common: Many people, I would guess, have conceptions of what people who have these jobs do in them. And, I would guess, most people (who don't themselves do these things), are wrong. I, myself, have a rather vague notion of what my wife does during her desk hours, and I'm privy to inside knowledge. (And snazzy TV shows like Law & Order don't help — she's a corporate attorney and not a litigator prone to courtroom histrionics.)

But I'd bet that most people don't really know what an academic's life is like, particularly a young one trying to make his way in American higher education. So as I'm preparing to leave academia in one form for another, I thought I'd dedicate a series of posts to talking about what I did with my days until this year. It'll be therapeutic for me, and might actually be interesting for you. Let me apologize in advance if it proves otherwise.

More to come, then.

1 comment:

Nadine said...

The importance a the kind of job you have as an adult has always kind of bugged me. I sometimes wish I had the guts to quit my job and travel the world. But with adulthood came parenthood. Living a traveler's life doesn't fit with raising children to become responsible adults. With responsible jobs.

I am looking forward to hear about your academic life!