Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Why Is It Whenever Somebody Leaves It's Never Wicked Walter?

I'm beginning to side with the people who called you out the first time, saying that your sympathies are obviously with senior faculty. Seriously--how many more senior faculty tantrums are you going to air--all of them are based on the same logic--"I'm special, my scholarly 'community' is special, and you junior faculty don't tell us how special we are enough!" Fine, we got that message four posts ago.

There are legitimate issues that junior faculty face, and it's not all about being a gumdrop or demanding higher salaries. But you seem abjectly unwilling to air these issues, instead issuing post after post of senior faculty taking a big smelly shits on people who have less power than they do--either adjuncts or junior faculty. It's unseemly. And, ironically, that's why I am done at RYS.

My feelings aren't hurt that you didn't post my stuff. Who cares? The world can live without my tantrums, and somebody much funnier than me will come along and smack back. What I'm finally beginning to see here is that my usual batch of daily glee at reading somebody's frustration with their students, so like my own frustration, is actually rather unsavory. The self- important "you kids should listen to us as we are so so special" crap that senior faculty are handing down to junior faculty is the same crap I always enjoyed about the site--only directed at students instead of me. And now I have to stop reading for two reasons.

First of all, getting tenure and teaching your first years are hard and demoralizing. I don't need to know that my senior faculty hate my guts because I failed to kiss their asses to the extent they believe themselves entitled, the same way my students hate my guts because I'm not kissing their asses either. I don't need the pressure of worrying I'm not kowtowing enough in addition to worrying I'm not publishing enough. But rest assured, before any of you (obviously senior faculty) moderators get your Depends in a wad, I'll do right by my senior faculty from now on. I'll go into work-- oh! I meant my spiritual calling--today to my office, the crappiest office they could find, to teach my classes, the crappiest classes in the department, and announce to the line of closed doors my senior faculty, the backbone of my department, hide behind every day: "Golly! What a beautiful day! What a fine day to be in this GRAND university! How lucky I am to work with SUCH GREAT colleagues." I'm converted to the way and the light of investing in my institution and investing in my relationships with my senior faculty who have been known to throw such pearls of mentoring wisdom as "the copier's broken" to me on their way to and from the bathroom, their classes, and the parking lot.

How grateful I am that my senior faculty are investing so much in my success that they are willing, at such a great expense to themselves in terms of time and energy, to mentor me away from the broken copier. Every time I ask one of these people to go out for a cup of coffee or lunch they can't because they 'are crashing on something,' and it's not clear to me that's really just their special, giving way of mentoring. If I were doing my job (oops, grand calling), I wouldn't have time for lunch or coffee and if I did I wouldn't waste it on somebody who can't do anything for me, like a junior faculty member. Such mentoring! Closeness like that you just can't buy. I mean, sometimes my senior faculty even wish me a good weekend on the way to the bathroom, the copier (when it's not broken), their classes, or the parking lot. Wow! And some people would equate the special, special relationship I have with them with any other, mere 'work' relationships.

And second of all, I now see that there is no difference between the sniveling that the senior faculty are doing about junior faculty like me and the sniveling I do about students. Intergenerational complaining is an old sport inside and outside of academia, but now that I've seen how self-indulgent the senior faculty sound...I can't be a part of sounding like that any more.

The whining from the senior faculty sickens me: it makes them sound less like scholars and more like spoiled brats, and you bet I'm looking in the mirror, and I don't like a a whole lot about what I've said myself about students. I'm not going to pretend that I've had some sort of soul's awakening here and I'll never complain about students again. But I now see how ugly and entitled all the complaining sounds, and I don't want to do it anymore or read it any more. It's excusable from 18 to 21 year- olds on their RMP, because they are young, and to some degree youth and stupidity go together. In old people, it's just ugly and entitled. I don't want to be either.

So I'm out.