Through all this, I never quite gave up on academia, even though the reports of catastrophic budget cuts and tales of th

Author : hanas143amri
Publish Date : 2021-01-07 09:21:48


Through all this, I never quite gave up on academia, even though the reports of catastrophic budget cuts and tales of th

Should my sense of failure be helped by knowing the stories of others in similar or even worse situations? One former colleague in grad school is a talented writer, studied under one of the top scholars in their sub-field, got to speak about their research on NPR, and had a diverse teaching portfolio. That led to a job loading boxes. Another friend was downsized from their dream job teaching at a small, private college near where his family lives because of “budget reallocations.” Granted, a few of my other colleagues have gone on to receive decent positions in academia, but each year that goes on it seems more and more like trying to hit the center of a dartboard while dangling upside down.

Still, I’m sure some would tell me I’m entitled, or that I should “learn to code.” But a literal reading of that advice has its own shortcomings, as learning how to code is not much of a guarantee you’ll get a job (ask anyone in the video game industry). Applying it figuratively, as a suggestion about going wherever market opportunities happen to be, it’s fine but similarly fraught with pitfalls; there are always problems and uncertainties in a market. I could become, say, a nurse, a potentially promising path to steady employment. But given my track record with anything involving technical equipment, you really wouldn’t want me to tend to your parents or grandparents, unless you’re hoping for a nice inheritance. Healthcare is a wonderful field, but it is not for everyone. Ideally the people working in life-and-death fields would have gone into it because they were drawn to it, not because they settled for it.

These days, what I hear from internet trolls and even some left-of-center people is that you have to shut up and take “x” career, regardless of what your strengths and weaknesses actually are. What on earth is the point if, after paying your dues, it’s a rarity — that is, not merely difficult, but rare — to attain even a middling career that reflects your actual talents and interests? One might as well go back to medieval serfdom. At least serfs are bound to the land! If you’re American, you would get more days off, and you would have actual job security.

I’m left scolding myself over things I can’t go back and change, and that shouldn’t foreclose a life of the mind in an academically accomplished adult. Maybe I should have taken my early education more seriously. In high school, I didn’t join the Honor Society because I didn’t like most of the people I knew who were in it. Maybe toughing it out would’ve helped with college placement. But I wouldn’t give up the path I’ve chosen. I love writing. I’m good at it. I fit in well in academia and greatly enjoy the atmosphere of a university community. If every person is indeed “meant” for a purpose, I have found mine.

In this uncertain, unmediated space, scammers have proliferated. Any tweet mentioning Venmo or Cash App donations prompts a torrent of suspect direct messages. In one common hustle, a would-be donor promises his mark a huge amount of money, but first requests $50 or $100 to cover unspecified transfer costs. In October, the New York Times reported that reviews mentioning the words “fraud” or “scam” spiked for several payment apps this year, including Venmo, Cash App, and PayPal. (Representatives for the three companies did not respond to emails seeking comment.)

Direct-givers also widely understand — and accept — that some people seeking help misrepresent their circumstances, or use the funds for other purposes than they requested: “If someone wants to buy M



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