As Jeremy noted in a private communication, we got more traffic in the last couple days than a run of ASR. As my first experience in blogland, it was fascinating to see the attributions made off site. It is clear that most of the traffic was generated by Kieran Healy’s extract of the “angry” paragraph and that most of the commentators on other sites never read the whole post. You would think that “I chose to be angry rather than accept defeat and adapt to my constraints” would have been a tip-off, but apparently it was not. Most of the traffic came from a metasite that characterized the post as bitter and more bitter. Very interesting. I felt like an idiot writing comments pointing out that I’m happily married and that I like my life, but it was hard not to. It is also interesting that a lot of the people assumed that my career is in the trash can because I expressed a sense of relative deprivation. The ones who do know who I am might have wondered what in the heck I was talking about, as I hardly lack prestige and honor. (As I pretty much “outed” myself in my first post to anyone who knows me or cared to figure it out, let me say that I’m using a pseudonym only because I’m doing politically sensitive work and it seems easier if this blog does not come up in a google search of my name.) If you are too junior to know yet, you will soon learn that most academics feel a sense of relative deprivation. It is part of the job. At least 50% of the senior academics I know have complained about being under-rewarded and under-appreciated, and I’m guessing that another 40% at least feel that way but are too polite to say so in public.
None of those who criticized my writing style recognized the genre, although I assume some of you must have the background to have spotted it, despite the attempt to put a sociological spin on the end. It is a clear example of the confession/testimony genre: I was lost but now I’m found, I was blind but now I see.
The work/home issue clearly hit a nerve with a lot of people, and it hit the nerve in different ways. I might write more later, I really should be getting off to class. But I wanted to mention what I only alluded to in the original essay. The stay at home moms suffered almost as much as I did when their husbands traveled. It is really hard to be alone with small children. I pitched in and helped out with their children a lot, too, even as they bailed me out when I was stuck. Single moms rely heavily on their friendship networks to deal with these stresses and so, it turns out, do stay at home moms, although I think the two networks are different, and as a married woman, I connected more easily with the other married women.
At some point I want to get back to Shamus’s point on the sociology of all this, but that will have to wait for the weekend.