padic's BearBlog

Brief Micro-Bio

Perhaps the best way to start a new blog is to give some context about me: who I am, and what my life is like. I think it probably makes the most sense to work my way backward.

For the last several years, I've been a lecturer in a mathematics department at a university in the US. I don't know if that sounds terribly fancy to outsiders, but I promise that it most certainly is not :]. Up until this academic year, I've been employed 2/3-time (though I generally actually work far more than 40 hours each week) for just under $20K take-home, with no benefits. With COVID-19 wreaking havoc this year, things have only gotten uglier, and my workload's been cut in half (well, my official workload—I still put in far too many hours, because half the classes certainly doesn't mean half the work, not really).

Academia's a racket :P.

I can't say I really like what I do, not entirely; it's exhausting and anxiety-inducing; there's no well-defined hours and always, always more work to do (for, again, an unconscionably low wage which hasn't gone up in several years—even as administrators' and tenure[d][-track] faculty's wages have); the university thinks of and treats me as disposable; and I have deep, fundamental misgivings about the power dynamics of classrooms and educational institutions, and the way that these reinforce larger power structures I'd rather encourage my students to be critical of… but that could fill several posts (or books) on its own—and perhaps it will sometime.

At least my department values me, though (I think?). And… I'm not really sure there's other work I'm cut out for, so… I'm sort of stuck where I'm at for now, spinning my wheels, until I can figure out where I'm going next.

Around the time I started doing this work, I dropped out of grad school (which I had been in here and there for the better part of a decade) for personal reasons; the [proto-]fascist-in-chief rose to power; and I found myself first in and then out of an intense, emotionally abusive relationship that I'm still recovering from (I imagine that, in some ways, recovery will be a lifelong effort—another post or series of posts there, too).

In short, the last several years have been an intense ride, and it's been all I can do just to hang on and get through.

Perhaps that's enough for now. I think I'll take some time in the next entry to talk about my interests. Until then, I'm excited to be with you all on this site, and thanks for reading!

#bio #personal #work #distribution of wealth #academia #power #grad school #graduate school #hierarchy #dropping out #teaching

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