dilluns, d’agost 21, 2006

Response to an email from a friend (English / Spanish / Welsh)

My response to an email from a freind who was concerned that I had mentioned abandoning my Ph.D.:

Hi Dar!

I thank you for your concern; that's very sweet of you, but there's no need. No, there have been no setbacks at all, and no depressions. It's only that in the many years since beginning the diss, my life and my goals have changed. The area of research that is my topic is not something that I ever really wanted to do. My advisor browbeat me into doing it, so right from the get go, I was not invested in it the way I should have been. At first, the work progressed well enough, but as time went by and we got into the reading stage, my advisor kept changing the ground rules. This is her normal M.O., a fact which I have gathered from others over the years. No one has had her on his or her committee without having incredible troubles with her.

If my career hinged on having the degree, it would be one thing, but it does not. Professionally, I am stigmatized by my time in the CC world, and by the fact that I have not been doing research nor have I been publishing in my area of expertise. I do attend and present at conferences at my leisure. None of these are relevant however, since I have no desire to leave the CC, nor indeed do I have any desire to leave my CC. What the future holds is a big question mark, and true enough I may find the PhD usefull at some future junction, through happenstance, and for that reason I haven't abandoned it as of now. On the other hand, one has to set limits from time to time, and so I have decided that this is the do or die year. Either I finish, or at least have a defense date by close of this academic year, or it's over. So, it's not really as hopeless as you would think!

On the other hand, my life is not my career, and I don't live to work, rather I work to live, following the time honored French model. Nonetheless, I am deeply entrenched at the College, so someone could hate me lividly, and I could just bide my time, more than likely outlasting anyone with any power over me. Because I teach languages, I end up having many adult students who are themselves deeply entrenched in the local social and political scene, and even more fortunately this has been to my unintended advantage. I know many of the lawyers, doctors and politicans of the region and have made positive connections with the vast majority. I have never used these acquaintances to garner any personal favors, and this fact has only increased my respectability. These people know I'm not interested in using them, and they have honored me frequently with their high praise (I think justly deserved) on campus.

Recently I have become more involved in our union, and that has helped "cadarnhau" my profile with my colleagues and administration. Luckily, I still really love my work, and I'm still competent and coherent in the classroom. My enrollments are up with each successive year, and between my base pay, my overloads and the rents, I'm quite comfortable. Financially I have no worries at the present time, and I should be able to continue on this way for some time. How many years is the question mark of course, but I learned a longwhile ago not to ask too many questions about "tomorrow." Furthermore, somehow, I don't think changing levels would make me feel better about teaching if ever teaching became a drag. Luckily, over the last 12 years, I have found ways of keeping it all fresh and interesting to me, and as long as I can, I will continue.

Maybe my attitude confuses you, but I don't come from a point of view that life is always about semper ad astra. I come from very humble beginnings, from a poor and deeply dysfunctional family, the classic picaro, and like all picaros, I accept my fate and my buen puerto when it arrives. This is not, in fact, a resignation, although it may appear that way to some, but a vehicle for me to enjoy my life and my privilege. I'm not giving up on anything Dar, I'm just enjoying the view from my buen puerto, relaxing on a chaise lounge, a glass of Old Raj in one hand, and a used condom in the other ;) This is what I've been working for all these years, not a degree, or status, but the ability to indulge in the very temporary and all-too-short-a-slide along this mortal coil.

Now, assuming I do finish the big bad diss, there will be a hell of a party, and you will certainly be invited!


2 comentaris:

Tree ha dit...

I already know all this about you, but it was good and interesting to see it tidily summed up. :-)

The image of you with the Old Raj and condom is indelible.

Bacchus ha dit...

Hehehe ;)I couldn't agree more ;)