Last night J jokingly called me the Pied Piper of Academia. Since finishing my PhD a couple of years ago, I’ve been working in university administration.
And since almost the first month in my new job, I’ve been asked by fellow grads for advice on the pros and cons of taking that step over to the dark side.
At first it was just people I knew.
Recently I’ve had emails from total strangers, referred to me by people I hardly know, asking if I’d have time to talk over coffee.
So as academic job application season swings around, I thought it might be worth a blog post.
In this first post I’ll give you some background on how I ended up making the decision to apply for an administrative job in the first place. In the next I’ll leap into the bit you’re probably more interested in: the pros and cons of making a side-ways move in the university if you’d always assumed you would be an academic.
My thoughts on this topic are based on my own limited experience and to a certain extent my ethnographic work on universities. But if you in a similar situation yourself, please chip in in the comments! Continue reading
We finally went to see The Flick by Annie Baker at Steppenwolf this month, catching it just before it closed. It’s one of those plays I first encountered in fragments, as I helped J learn lines from a handful of scenes, and was curious enough about to badger him into getting us tickets.
J seemed a bit concerned I might not like it. He reminded me several times it’s over 3 hours long and has a reputation for being a bit tricky. (I suspect he still hasn’t forgiven me for hating Waiting For Godot.) The trickiness, it seems, comes from Baker’s use of silence. The play runs 3 hours 10 minutes but only has about 70 pages of actual dialogue, which means there are a lot of long pauses or moments when the actors are moving about the stage but not saying anything to each other.
Apparently the first time The Flick was performed, the (mostly subscriber) audience was furious, and in every performance including the one I saw, the audience was a lot thinner after the interval.
All this throws up interesting questions about the extent to which we associate “something happening” in a play with “people are talking” as opposed to “people are moving around on stage.” But I found The Flick utterly absorbing, helped no doubt by the very high quality of the production and the wonderful cast. Continue reading