It is 90 degrees in Little Egypt and it feels like 100. Yet with the aid of two fans the writing porch is comfortable enough. I was talking with my good friend the other day and something she said reminded me of the plethora of political pitfalls and sudden cliffs and 10 foot hurdles that an honest hearted person must negotiate in the workplace. During my 32 year and 2 months and 3 weeks career I experienced so many traps and snares that I became a bit of a person to watch in the escaping of bear traps. It has been said that some people speak out of both sides of their mouth…when in reality they often have multiple masks that they adorn themself with…as the occasion calls for. Dealing with hidden agendas and doublespeak is exhausting….and much the more so if you have to do it for many years.
I watched 3 episodes of ‘The Chair’ on Netflix last night. I not only laughed on several occasions but it reminded me of my time at Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale. I had several faculty friends and my dear friends, Peter and Jo Ann, that MJ and I spent countless hours with. University life is different than regular life. Being a member of the University Community was like living in a village within a city. Academia has norms and structures that are unique to their members. Yet when I see a movie or television series about academics…I feel like that I am a member of the group….I assume due to my lengthy association with them during my career. I think that I was a bit of a sponge in that I soaked up much
The Chair reminded me of the daily political games that are played on university campuses. In fact there are so many variants of what is expected from the members of the Campus Village that it is a wonder and somewhat of a miracle that the primary mission of the school, the teaching of students, ever gets accomplished. I have often said, and to my friend Jo Ann, that perception is 90% of reality in university life. One person may be working terribly hard and be extremely productive…while another may be a canny communicator and a great promoter of…themself.
All too often I have witnessed the self-promoter…and the excellent story teller…receive the promotion and the corner office.
University is the pantheon for truth. It is the enclave of free speech…and free thought. It is Sanctuary for the dispossessed intellectual and the shunned thinker. Academia is the refuge for Conservatives and Liberals as well as people of faith and agnostics and atheists. It is the place for speech that I do not care for or find offensive. What it is not is a place that puts people and position and power before those who have no voice.