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Roles and Choosing

April 10, 2006

Roles and “Choosing”

Today is going to be a hodge-podge of sorts.  Dean Dad has an engaging post about the causes of adjunct-nonTT teaching OR “why my life sucks more than my father’s.”  B. Tozier has a strong reply, but then goes a little grandfatherly (“this confounded younger generation” sort of thing which really should not undermine his points but kind of does).

But for popularity, nothing beats sex…or at least hints of sex.  Bitch PhD blogged late last week about flirtation among the geek set (anyone reading her blog would, no doubt, be accorded this designation (more below).  Running close to a 100 comments, her post raises the green-eyed monster in me…in my pants…

Back to topic.  As I was driving the hour to work this morning (not teaching, consulting—which should be read, not waving, drowning) avoiding the break-lights-hitting-the-left-shoulder-as-a-car-spins-out-up-ahead, I was thinking about choice and roles.  I am certain that nothing new has been discovered here, but it was insightful for me.  I begin:

Why am I the way I am…that is, NPR asked, in a story on living wage and poverty, what socio-economic level this guy felt described himself best.  He said “rich poor.”  Of course, Fussel would say he is ill-informed and should be bowling.  The story missed the point that the guy, divorced with a penchant for body art, felt rich because he could indulge his hobby (he had a work-in-progress scrolling up his arm).  The correspondent felt that tattoo-guy was really buying into the classification system (two puns for me).  

How do I describe myself…the bane of teenagers everywhere seems to be a driving force throughout life.  In pre-school I see the little boys and girls acting out sex roles reinforced by society and biology.  In educated blogs I see very smart people struggle with labels and roles…

Here are some thoughts toward this:

  • I must choose a role—I cannot be unlabeled, either to myself or to others.
  • I can only choose from a limited number of roles
  • Definitions of roles do not change as often, as much or as quickly as we would like to think they do
  • A chosen role will determine my actions, attitudes and options
  • I cannot opt out of this process

So, am I an adjunct? A professional?  A consultant?  A graduate-student on “break” from the dissertation? An agnostic? A father?  A husband?  A wanna-be blogger god?


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