Saturday, December 28, 2013

It's the Work, Stupid!

In the last two posts, I repeatedly mention "the work." If you don't thrive on the work itself, all the rest won't help. You want to write books, do the research, write articles and get them published, write grant-proposals--all of it--and then the work is motivating and satisfying. You have problems, questions, an itch so to speak, and the work scratches that itch effectively. You may want fame, fortune, respect, promotion, and all the rest, but if the work does not motivate you, you are likely in trouble.

For the work is the one thing you control. You might not get the grant this time around, but there is work to do. You may have trouble getting the book or article published, but you have work to do.

My impression is that perhaps as much as 1/3 of the faculty of a research university finds their work so compelling. Even at the strongest institutions, it is surely no more than 3/4. Everyone else sets deadlines to be prepared for meetings, becomes an administrator, whatever. But for the people for whom "the work" and that itch are primary it's a different world.

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