But this morning, I bounced over to In the Middle, where Karl put up a very thoughtful post, complete with New! Video!, with regards to how we, as faculty, might be reinforcing our own cynicism. As I mentioned sometime earlier, one of my goals for this semester was to try to avoid negativity about my work. I mean, really, I could complain, but when both my siblings have been either un- or underemployed this year, and when I am close friends with a professional woman who may be on the brink of losing her home through no fault of her own, and when I know so many putatively successful adults in jobs they dislike, it seems graceless to do so.
And then some student comes along and wants a life like mine... well, why shouldn't they? I mean, it's far from perfect, but depending on your priorities, it can be very good. Nice work if you can get it, as they say. I do still think that it is our responsibility as faculty to alert potential grad students to the overall crappiness of the job market, and to sacrifices that our life choices entail if and when we do manage to land jobs, but why are we so reluctant to balance that out by talking about the positive? Are we perhaps afraid to admit that our sporadic bitching about our jobs may at times be unwarranted, and so we project it onto our students who are guilty only of being as idealistic as we once were?
And if we did dare to talk with students about the good things about our jobs -- heck, even the good things about grad school! -- might that contribute to our own happiness?
Oh, nevermind. Just watch the video. It's not the one you've seen before.**
**And yes, before someone tells me: I know that those other videos were in large part snarking on utterly unprepared students. But a not-insignificant portion of the ridicule was also directed at student idealism, which is something I think I (a self-declared idealist who still, at times, romanticizes her job) needed to be called up short on.