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Monday, December 5, 2011

The Ideal Job

I know psychologists describe human satisfaction in terms of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. I tell my student that my job is the greatest I could ever hope for. I research and teach Spanish literature and they pay me money to do it. It almost seems unbelievable.

I experience high levels of autonomy in my job. Nobody tells me what I have to write about, and I can design courses of my own that reflect my own interests. Aside from class time, office hours, and a few meetings, I can organize my time however I want. I am trying to think of a job with as much autonomy as mine and I cannot think of one.

Autonomy also brings competence, in the sense that I can be responsible for my own areas of competence, developing them with no interference from anyone else.

Relatedness, in contrast, is a sore point. I have a hard time "relating" to students sometimes (to use a favorite word of theirs). I don't collaborate on research with anyone. I like my colleagues very much but I don't spend a lot of time with them every day. Autonomy and relatedness are inversely correlated much of the time. I value autonomy very highly, but I am suffering a bit from the isolation of academic life, especially since my personal life is rather miserable too.


profacero said...

Well, for an academic job you do have an ideal one: don't have to work for a private university and don't have to teach lower division.

To de isolate in the city context is easy since there is so much going on. In the smaller town context you have to do things like take classes.

Tanya Golash-Boza said...

Perhaps you could organize a faculty/grad colloquium series on Spanish literature and culture. With you and Jorge both in the department, I am sure you could attract some amazing speakers.