[*I don’t know what to call this feature yet. If one of you suggests something catchy and I use it, I’ll give you a shout-out on the blog.]
I’ve wanted to start a Friday-links feature for a while now. I’m finally getting around to it. Every Friday, I’ll post a few links to stories, blog posts, and/or images that amused me, bemused me, enlightened me, or otherwise engaged my attention that week. They’ll be heavy on lit news (books, publishing, writing, what have you), libraryland, the humanities, and the odd natural phenomenon or cute critter. Into every browsing life a hummingbird livecam must sometimes fall.
This week’s theme—not every week will have a theme—is labor and the life academic.
Should you pursue an academic career? Yes, if you’re called to it:
It’s not for everyone. It’s not valuable because of the status conferred by the credential, or the job at the end of the apprenticeship—which is a rare-to-endangered commodity these days and, even when landed, is almost never as great as advertised. It can be just as valuable an experience for those who abruptly hit the eject button, or gradually give up amid the petty indignities of adjuncting or departmental infighting. But the university life will only really exert a lasting appeal for those who feel truly called to the immersive pursuit of knowledge.
—”Mind Games: Making the Case for an Academic Calling in a Neoliberal Age,” by Siva Vaidhyanathan (Bookforum, April/May 2014)
But what happens to labor in a society where we’re all urged to work for love?
There’s little doubt that “do what you love” (DWYL) is now the unofficial work mantra for our time. The problem is that it leads not to salvation, but to the devaluation of actual work, including the very work it pretends to elevate — and more importantly, the dehumanization of the vast majority of laborers.
—Miya Tokumitsu, “In the Name of Love” (Jacobin, April 1, 2014)