Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Is this where I am headed?

You know, I have heard mentors and collegues say or dance around the same thing I read this weekend in Goodall'sWriting the New Ethnography.  Is this where I am headed? To take some poetic license with the NLT, what do I benefit if I gain tenure but lose my own soul? Is anything worth more than my soul?

This goes out to all my tenure hounds who give up X (writing, praxis, whatever) for the title: 
(Oh, no.....song stuck in my head now)

It's about time we had our own song
Don't know what took so long
Cause nowadays it's like a badge of honor
To be an associate professor....


"I received the official letter one afternoon late in May. A surprising thing happened. I opened my tenure letter, saw in the first line that I had been granted tenure and was promoted to associate professor, and found myself incapable even of forcing a smile. Instead, for a long, suspended moment, I stood there with the letter in my hand and a sense of loss in my heart. The humid air was as thick as syrup, warm and sticky as the road to hell, and perfectly still. I looked down at the letter and read the words again, as if maybe I had missed something on the first reading, something that would make this moment feel good. That didn't happen. I had come to a desired destination, but I wasn't happy about it. 

Why? The question was my own. Its echo, in that suspended moment, defined my life. 

The answer did not take long in coming to me. Every thing I had done to win tenure, every word I had written to gain a promotion, no longer seemed worth it to me. I had won a place in academe, but had lost my soul."