hi friends


are you a tenured or TT faculty member interested in the expertise of someone who shares your qualifications and training but not your good fortune on the curséd job market?

would you, in short, like to "pick" a NTT expert's "brains?"

okay good let's talk
before we begin:

1) this can but doesn't necessarily apply to other contingent folks

[you can skip the rest of the thread if you promise never to ask to "pick" the "brains" of fellow contingent scholars ever again; let's find a better way ask for help and keep trucking]
[you might not know this but folks in privileged positions LOVE to "pick" the "brains" of marginalized folks, within and beyond the academy

and what that means is "use the hard-won experiences of folks who lack my privilege to further myself w/o boosting that brain's owner]
[so let's commit to mutual aid and steer away from this kind of language, yeah?



moving right along]
2) I want to fully acknowledge that mercury is in retrograde and meanings are being lost left right and center rn

so I am going to try to rein in the bitchiness but also no promises
okay great, let's do this

a thing about the academy is that it relies on labor that gets compensated in non-monetary ways and often relies on exchange in-kind

so for TT/T folks, it is NBD to ask another TT/T prof to skype* into a class for free or lower their rates
bc guest lectures and keynotes and the like yield CV lines that in turn help that un- or undercompensated TT/T prof earn tenure and promotion

(and supposedly like job security and academic freedom and I know it's not working out that way but also that's a different thread)
likewise sharing teaching materials--which y'all know is like catnip to me--helps TT/T profs teach better classes

and teaching is ALSO supposed to help with tenure and promotion

(look, I know, don't get me started about how teaching is not properly valued by T&P either)
I'm not saying TT/T profs can't also take advantage of TT/T marginalized folks

bc obviously they can

our Black women colleagues have told us how often their white male colleagues ask to "pick their brains," yeah?
but what I'm trying to get across here is that TT/T requests of NTT/T colleagues is apples-to-oranges

actually it's more like polo to fucking Calvinball, if we're being honest

and the only folks who seem to know that are the alt-ac, staff, contingent, etc people
we are operating on different economies

and here's where I start using my I-statements
I, like 70+% of folks who earn PhDs these days, did not land a tenure-track job

I have the qualifications of a TT prof

and if we're being honest, I publish like one

until recently, I did service like one

but I am NOT one

I am: staff
granted, I am staff at a magical unicorn of a program at an R-1 that is super excited about the work that program does

and my supervisor is a smart, kind, incredibly generous colleague who takes me seriously as a fellow researcher as well as an administrative coworker
please do not think I am not counting my blessings every freaking day

I fully know how lucky I got, in large part bc so many folks like me--who got the degree, who put in the work, who did the dance and wore the suits and followed the rules--did NOT get lucky like I did
but even at this magical unicorn of a job, guess what my leviathan of an employer cares about


they care about: am I doing the job my job description says I'm going to do

that job description involves a lot of things

guess what's not on there

did you guess research?
yes, that is correct

research is officially 0% of my job description

teaching is a wee small part of it, but I could be the world's most phenomenal teacher

(and I'm pretty fucking good, don't get me wrong)
and that teaching excellence would in no way contribute to me staying employed in this job

here's what determines whether or not I stay employed:

external funding

(and Liz still wanting to work with me, obvs)

that's it
why are we talking about my job description, you might wonder

bc, friends, if you read it closely, you'll note that it makes my research an extracurricular activity

it is something that, in the eyes of my employer, I do for funsies

like other people take up golf or something
I love sharing my research! I love collaborating about teaching!

but I'm no longer in a system that rewards me for doing either of those things!

so if you're asking me to do them for free, you are *actually* asking me to pay to do them

bc that labor comes out of my PTO
I am so, so lucky that my employers are cool with me working an unconventional schedule

which means I have the latitude to decide if and when and how I *do* do work I enjoy and am trained to do but isn't part of my, you know, job

and I do quite a bit of that work!
but facts are facts, America

and one cannot subsist upon gift economies out of which one was rudely forced

after which one developed skills and also a research agenda many seem to want to know more about

so one shares those skills and that research

but one gets paid to do so
there are exceptions, obvs

I can choose to lower or waive my fees if the person/org asking is run by minoritized folks

I can choose to lower or waive my fees if it's a friend asking me to do them a solid

I can choose to lower or waive my fees if I damn well feel like it
but if you ask me to do labor that isn't part of my job description and for which I will not--indeed, CANNOT--be compensated for by the academy that flushed me

I am going to tell you I charge for that shit
hopefully, telling TT/T folks that I have set rates for research talks and teaching consulting can be the beginning of a conversation

hopefully, my TT/T colleagues know or can learn that we're not playing the same game anymore -- that it's damaging and unfair to pretend we are
but that starts with us acknowledging that so many folks doing work that excites you got flushed the fuck out of a deeply broken sewer system riddled with leaks

and if you want their shit to fertilize your own work, that comes at a cost
and bc I am one big nerve ending this week, let's say out loud that the cost isn't just monetary

it is so awesome to be asked by scholars you respect to do talks or share resources, bc that FEELS like the respect the academy at large didn't, wouldn't give us
this can, I say from deep experience, lead us to OVERPERFORM and OVERCOMMIT to any opportunity that comes our way


but that shit is not healthy, beloveds

they will take our labor

but there is no amount of overwork we can perform that will make the academy take us back

(pause to cite @seananmcguire)

publishing.tor.com/everyheartadoo… every heart a doorway cover
all this is to say that it costs NTT/T scholars to do work that folks might expect us to be eager to do

(in funds and time, but also in disappointment and frustration and just, like FEELS)

I'm not saying don't ask us

I just hope you understand: we'll have to charge
postscript of overwhelming gratitude to all the TT/T folks who supported, invited, signal boosted, commiserated with, and literally and figuratively fed me while I tried--and I'm still trying--to figure this alt-ac thing out
your solidarity is everything and also the only way academia has a shot to change for the better
and white women colleagues also, obviously

look, whiteness and white people are a problem

full stop
*I also got so lucky bc so many tenured profs, especially tenured women profs, worked very very very very hard to land me this spot

and the only thing I can do about that is be grateful and try to pay it forward

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More from @mpgPhD

10 Jun
NTTs don't *have* to do research

unless they want to, you know, use the skills they spent a decade cultivating and were taught were the only real way to be a scholar and are the only way other scholars will see them as doing scholarship
I want to say again that I fully know have good I have it (and *have* had it)

I have never been a 4/4, commuting to multiple campuses to make ends meet prof

(though I will have utterly failed as a scholar and a human if I ever see their struggles as separate from mine)
my biggest teaching load ever was a 3/3 and my classes tend to be smaller and bc I've mostly done VAPs at "good" schools, I've been well resourced even when not well regarded

I've mostly been able to opt into my service commitments (even if I maybe overcommitted)
Read 4 tweets
9 Jun
while I'm waiting for this freaking PPT to convert to mp4 *again* so I can hurry up and wait for it to upload to Vimeo

hey folks who narrate slideshows

what's your favorite way of doing that?

bc PPT to mp4 used to be my fave but it is currently
the reason I have historically done this on PPT is that it lets you record audio for each individual slide, instead of just talking over a PPT like on Panopto

because trying to do a single take recording for a 45-slide presentation is a goddamn nightmare
and sure, it takes fucking forever to convert to mp4, but it *used* to work just fine

it no longer does

so I am officially looking for better options
Read 6 tweets
8 Jun
okay, let's pull this piece out

bc a of all: yes, teachers aren't special

this is 2021

we all get perceived, like it or not

but also, and I say this as a scholar of abuse: please note that this douche thinks folks shouldn't talk about profs' behavior publicly
bc you know what makes abuse possible?

lack of public accountability

please for the love of christ, students: talk about your teachers

tell us what happens in your classrooms
unless you're complaining about critical race theory or like, learning that Muslims are people

you can keep that shit to yourself
Read 4 tweets
8 Jun
imagine saying this ableist BS about students AND thinking you're going to bat for professors OR that you know what grading is or should be

you cannot sit with us, sir screenshot bad tweets
I know I said I was going to stop responding to bad takes but I think we all knew I was lying
I cannot speak for my colleagues, but I fucking LIVE for students who push back and demand more of me

not the douches who think they know all the answers and don't do the readings

but the ones who genuinely don't get it and WANT to
Read 5 tweets
8 Jun
damn it I just talked myself out of buying that t-shirt
I bought this one instead but obviously the answer was both

Read 4 tweets
24 Mar
tell me no women were on your design team without telling me no women were on your design team
one of the more upsetting revelations whilst so many of us are working from home was reading responses to Toobin's behavior

and seeing how many dudes on Ada Lovelace's internet think wanking at work is fine as long as no one catches you at it

why, why would you do this
women are not at a loss for places to receive unsolicited dick pics

Read 10 tweets

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