A culmination of events from last year led me to feel extremely devalued in academia. In response, I decided I needed to set some ground rules for myself and my career. I refuse to have my self-worth determined by academic achievement. Academia is not my life. I am a person who happens to be an academic as a vocation. And as much as I happen to really really enjoy my work, pouring hours of passion and care into it, I refuse for being an academic to be my master status.
I am a person outside of being an academic. I have a life outside of academia, outside of fieldwork, outside of the office, outside of academic socializing, and I am learning to jealously protect and defend these spaces. And to do so, I set some ground rules for myself over the Christmas break.
It has been eight weeks since then and I write this as a reflection on my new work-life balance, so to speak. To be honest, these attempts have not been without backlash, have come at the expense of other things, and have not been thoroughly successful. But as I work my way through refusing a culture of overwork in academia, I hope these fieldnotes bring encouragement or commiseration to others who are trying to do the same. Continue reading Academia and the refusal of overwork culture.
Last Tuesday, in our airbnb in Adelaide where we were attending an anthropology conference, J and I mused about conference fatigue, academic precarity, and our plans for the future. And then she told me that she knows that I am ‘working very hard’ for my academic goals. I got shy and brushed it off in mock humility, then attempted to return the focus of our exchange to her.