16.1.14

CLOISTERED ACADEMICS.

The Hundred Reasons NOT to Go to Graduate School is up to #92, which recognizes that there is a fine line between calling and obsession.  It ends with a link to "Get A Life" at the Chronicle of Higher Education.
A fascination with one’s discipline makes a faculty member productive and inspiring, but an obsession with one’s scholarship can discourage the development of leisurely pursuits or the formation of friendships outside of the academy. While I’d be hard pressed to imagine that faculty members in their 40s and 50s would be willing to attend a “Get a Life (Before It’s Too Late)” seminar, I think this is a topic worth discussing.

Do you think having interests outside of work helps or harms one’s professional success? Is there any way to help highly driven faculty members achieve a little balance in their lives?
As with any other issue in resource allocation, there are tradeoffs.
One still highly productive faculty member well north of 70 summed up the struggle well when he said, “It’s not about the money. I just don’t know what I’d do in the morning. I don’t have any hobbies and I don’t have any friends who aren’t here. This is really all I have. Does that make me pitiful?”
Depends on what the author means by productive. Knowledge is of no value unless it is shared with others, and this individual has the potential to share rich insights.

I don't anticipate any trouble finding things to do.

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