Recently I have had a series of conversations with a pretty wide variety of people about what they like and dislike about scatterplot, sociology, and academia more generally. For now, let me focus on what people like. The acknowledgment that we watch TV comes up again again (here and here are examples, even if we worry about it). In short, what lots of folks tell me is they are happy when we seem like actual humans, and not simply people who are huddled up in an academic monastery. Therefore, let me publicly affirm what I have been privately conveying to others.
1.) I watch television. I make no apologies about this. It does not make me a worse academic or a worse person.
2.) I sometimes think about quitting. More than sometimes really. Often it is daily. This does not mean that I hate sociology, or my work (although at times I do). For all its rewards, our job is taxing. Particularly taxing is the sense that I am never done. This makes me want to quit. And I entertain the idea.
3.) I take days off. Sometimes I take multiple consecutive days off. I am not necessarily doing anything productive on these days (I am not bettering myself by going to art museums or traveling around Europe). Sometimes I choose not to leave my apartment on these days. I order in food and watch movies or catch up on watching TV (see #1).
4.) I feel anxious about my work almost all the time. That it’s not good enough. That I’m a fraud. That I should be doing more of it. That it will never be done (see #2).
So if you feel the same way, I’m just here to say, you’re not alone. Wow. That was cathartic. It may not be smart to reveal these things on such a public forum. But I think that by collectively denying them we make it worse for all of us. You may not be in completely the same boat as I, but I suspect there are some similarities for all of us. Now I’m nervous that I wrote this (see #4). Anyone else in my club?