Last Thursday, I cross-posted my tenure-related musing on Daily Kos. It has since been picked up by the new blog of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), Academe. There has been a lot of great discussion, here on joyouscrybaby and already on Daily Kos.
All writers want readers, right?
It is great to enter the realm of public debate, but I have to admit that I also find it a little terrifying. I recently said to my husband, “What was I thinking becoming a writer? The entire premise of being a writer is that you want to be famous. I am so not a fame-hound.” It is not that way with doctors and lawyers and graphic designers and so forth. Some gain notoriety, but it isn’t the point of their work. It really shouldn’t be the point of a writer’s work either, but often it seems that it becomes that way. I have been struggling with this issue as I pass mid-life not famous. I haven’t stopped writing, but how do I value my own work under these circumstances? My blog has been partly about exploring what I care about more than lines on my c.v.
In addition, one of those who commented on Thursday’s blog eventually accused me of greed because I make somewhat more than the median annual salary in the U.S. It’s a ludicrous accusation, but I’ve been thinking a lot about my motivations in the past week.
So it was with eagerness that I watched this 10-minute video called “The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” that a person posted in response to the blog post on Daily Kos. It’s an animation based on a speech by Daniel Pink, a bestselling author on the subject of work, and is part of a project of Britain’s RSA (the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce). Take the time to watch–it’s cool. Academia has operated (as least ideally) for a long time on the principles that Pink notes. It’s too bad that these ideas are catching on in the private sector at a time when they are under attack in university life.