Est-ce que je suis intéressée?

Am I interested in what I am doing, or not? I needed this as a starter job. Raised with the idea that I would be incompetent for everything, including jobs like receptionist and shop girl, I chose something I definitely knew I could do. My idea was that if I could make tenure at a good place that would be proof I was viable for something else.

What I discovered: working at a good place would be very interesting, entirely satisfying, and at the same time I was either not interested enough, or else too interested, to work in the field at a low level. Further: I was satisfied sooner than I expected. When I saw I could make tenure at a medium place if I kept on going, I was finished. I had gotten what I had come for and was ready to move on, and had furthermore figured out exactly where that would be.

That is all it was et je ne l’ai pas fait but I will wrangle with what I have and see how to make it interesting. Perhaps after this long hiatus, doing this because it was an obligation, doing this because I had been defeated by those who told me it would hurt them too much if I left, I should start doing it for a reason other than:

Stage 1: it was an interesting thing I knew I could do, and also the only thing I knew I could do, so it was an experiment in living
Stage 2: it was something I had done and was obliged to continue doing in the name of the fallen and to care for those who (“it is the best profession in the world, and the only non-materialistic one”) might cry if anyone did anything else
Stage 3: whether I lost interest in this, or in myself, is one question; another is whether I actually lost interest or lost interest in doing this in the negative way I had been taught to do it. I know I lost interest, or withdrew, because I could not tolerate the cruelty of the people around me, but it is the first two questions which interest me now.



2 thoughts on “Est-ce que je suis intéressée?

  1. Stage 4: Reinvent the structure of an University

    “There’s a job opening at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Indira Samarasekera, the current president and vice-chancellor, is stepping down at the end of the month and the search is on for her replacement. We know of at least 56 university professors and academics who are vying for the job, which starts at $400,000 a year, and they’re all applying for it in groups of four.”

    And here’s a sample of a typical application:

    Dear Mr. Goss and the Board of Governors,
    We are writing to apply for the position of President and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Alberta. As you will see from our CVs, we are eminently suited to fill this position. Indeed, we believe that by job-sharing this position, we would be able to do a better job than any one person could do – and the salary is certainly ample enough to meet the needs of all four of us. Indeed, for many of us one-fourth of your proposed minimum salary would double or triple our current wage.

    Our collective experience in academic and administrative leadership totals over thirty years. We have extensive experience in “inspiring the human spirit” through teaching thousands of students in hundreds of classes. Collectively, we have earned twelve post-secondary degrees, including four PhDs, which we believe will surpass the “exceptional intellectual calibre” of any of your other single applicants. We believe that our commitment to higher education is evident in our willingness to job-share and to each take only a fair and reasonable salary, rather than one which is four or five times that of a tenured academic and at least ten times that of a sessional, and that this willingness will prove to society our belief in “the importance of higher education,” and encourage others in similar positions to follow suit.
    Between us, we possess the “credibility, vision and intellectual depth” to interact with all levels of society and all of the stakeholders of the University of Alberta. Dr. Cawsey, with her experience and background in journalism, will cover the responsibilities of the President/Vice-Chancellor to the media, public relations and other public bodies, while Dr. Ward with her research on monstrosity and hybridity, is eminently suited to interact effectively with various levels of government. Dr. Kocum’s knowledge of statistics as well as her work with feminist issues makes her perfect for dealing with internal university administration and productivity assessment, while Dr. Fawn-Dew Babcock will liaise with business and the corporate world while ensuring the academic mission of the university remains our highest priority.

    As you can see, four people can manage this job far more effectively than any one single person, however qualified that person might be for a half-a-million in compensation. We can spell off the dreary business of Convocation, with one person attending/presiding while the other three continue on with the much-needed work of the President/Vice-Chancellor’s office, rather than having to take a week’s hiatus every April. Sick days will be irrelevant, since three other people will be available to fill in if one person is ill or on leave. Most importantly, we each pledge to teach one undergraduate class per year – which we would bet none of your other candidates are proposing to do! – both as a way of “walking the talk” about the “importance of higher education” and our “world class students,” and as a means of contributing to the current climate of austerity at the University of Alberta, in which everyone – even in the highest levels of administration! – is called to pitch in and do their bit.

    We know that you, in your wisdom, will see the sensible nature of our application: how by accepting only what is a reasonable and fair salary, four extremely qualified individuals can contribute far more to the university and to academia in general than any one person could.

    Kathy Cawsey
    Renee Ward
    Lucie Kocum
    Becca Fawn-Dew Babcock

    1. This is so fantastic. I did not realize that more than one group of four had applied.

      Nice to see you, N G.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s