Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Inside Higher Ed: "The Apparently Bearable Unhappiness of Academe"

I'm just catching up with Rebecca Steinitz's "The Apparently Bearable Unhappiness of Academe" over at Inside Higher Ed. Long story short: she decided to quit her tenured position (although she's currently just on extended leave). Here's part of her reason:

"But when it came down to it, and my husband and I turned 40, we decided we did not want to spend the rest of our lives in a city we didn’t like enough, doing jobs we didn’t like enough, at places of employment we didn’t like enough, hundreds of miles away from a family we liked a lot."

The Chronicle is fond of publishing these "why I'm quitting" articles, and posters in the forums often give reasons for quitting, too; many report colleagues surprised by and/or secretly envious of their decision. Some of the commenters at IHE seem furious at Steinitz's action, at the article, or both.

Not me. I can't imagine quitting because I love what I do, but two thoughts run through my mind when I read these pieces: (1) it's nice to have enough money that you can quit a job that you just "don't like enough" and (2) hooray! another seat just opened up on the tenure-track lifeboat for everyone who's waiting for a chance.

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