Friday, November 2, 2007

Nina Naive Checks In With a Question of Her Own: "Just a Job? That's Not What I'm Looking For."

I'm a longtime lurker who just had to step out of my self-imposed shadow. Call me Nina.

I am a PhD candidate at a school in the northeast, about 2 years away from my first run at the job market. The recent postings here and elsewhere about the junior faculty / senior faculty divide were very interesting to me, but I don't want to talk about that because I simply don't have the experience to get into it.

But what I do want to say concerns a comment I saw a number of times on many of the other academic blogs that discussed this incident.

"It's just a job."

It is? That's not what I'm looking for. Maybe I'm hopelessly naive, but I can get "just a job" anywhere, doing anything. I'm not working toward my teaching and writing career for that. From the first day of my undergrad education I fell in love with the university. My professors were gracious and interesting. They worked hard for me, gave me more respect and care than I was worth then, and their careers were callings, not just jobs. That's what I wanted.

And now after years of grad study and with a focus on the future, the last thing I want to be told is that a career in academia is "just a job." It's not worth more than that?