Is “Entrepreneurial” Really a Dirty Word?

creative work, job market
The push in higher education for faculty and departments to think more "entrepreneurially" about their course offerings, their programs, and the experiences they provide their students gets a fair amount of pushback in the humanities. I remember a department chair telling me, circa 2008, that, yes, there might be money to be found in partnerships with foreign companies, but that we, as a department in the humanities, needed "to be careful with whom we climb in bed." His objection to pursuing corporate sponsorship for departmental events or prizes came from that place of collective cynicism in the academy that ascribes morally pure motives to researchers in the ivory tower and capitalistic, exploitative motives to (all) other players in the capitalist economy. I disagree with his commonly held assumption that academia…
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A Fresh Perspective

coaching, post-academic
Any job can be, or become, draining. Aggressive or needy colleagues; a repeating cycle of the same courses, same lessons, same student errors; and allowing yourself to get roped into service commitments that drain your energy and produce few results can all lead to burnout, frustration, and thoughts of a simple 9-5 job with less Angst. The policies (or lack thereof) put forward by university administrations can also contribute to burnout and frustration. When management systems and universal guidelines impinge on how you schedule assignments, advise students, order textbooks, assess students, and myriad other things, your sense of autonomy and purpose feels under attack. For those with stable jobs, this frustration can then be compounded by survivor’s guilt and the knowledge that they should not be “crying on the yacht.”…
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Success & Failure

coaching
A professor colleague of mine recently reflected on a “revise and resubmit” decision she had received from a journal: “why does success so often feel like failure?” Although her article had not been rejected (success!), the external readers or editors found things with which to quibble (failure!) And because publishing an article is one more step on the road to tenure, wavering on that path, even a bit, causes anxiety, shame, envy, fear, what have you--a whole bevy of negative emotions. Or was that just me? Success has a very narrow definition in academia: PhD, tenure-track job, dissertation revised and published as a monograph or article series, publication in highly ranked journals, tenure. Missteps, detours, and layovers can delay the journey to success, of course, or make it an unpleasant…
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