values?

I was chatting with an older male colleague about being on sabbatical but feeling kind of frustrated because I’m spending time visiting my ill mother and talking to her every day on the phone. He said, “You don’t want to waste your sabbatical that way. Can’t you get out of all that?” I just looked at him for a couple of seconds, then said, “I could, if I’m willing to be a total jerk.”

I could go on about all this implies about world views, but maybe I’ll just let this speak for itself.

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Author: olderwoman

I'm a sociology professor but not only a sociology professor. It isn't hard to figure out my real name if you want to, but I keep it out of this blog because I don't want my name associated with it in a Google search. Although I never write anything in a public forum like a blog that I'd be ashamed to have associated with my name (and you shouldn't either!), it is illegal for me to use my position as a public employee to advance my religious or political views, and the pseudonym helps to preserve the distinction between my public and private identities. The pseudonym also helps to protect the people I may write about in describing public or semi-public events I've been involved with.

7 thoughts on “values?”

  1. I have a little mental file entitled, “If doing X is what is required to be successful [get tenure, be famous, insert something impressive here] then I want no part of it.”

    This is now filed as another example of X.

    I have been spending a lot more time doing care-work for my parents. I resent it. But I hope and believe that many years from now I will be glad I did it. On the one hand it means I spend time with them. It’s not good time. But it is time. And second (sadly, perhaps more importantly), I’m not sure how I could live with myself if I didn’t. I can only imagine the guilt, sadness, and regrets that would result.

    And I am increasingly convinced that the practices of everyday living – cooking, cleaning, caring, mundane things – both produce meaning in our own lives and connections with other lives. I don’t want to give up on them and simply become a worker, from beginning to end.

  2. When I was younger and naive, I didn’t realize how much real life imposed upon work. Sometimes good. Sometimes bad. Only the very privileged and extremely lucky can keep the difficult parts of life at bay. The sad thing is that we know this for ourselves, but tend to forget or ignore it when considering others. Thinking of you and Shamus as you try to manage the best you can.

  3. It’s certainly a callous remark (and one with which I certainly don’t agree), though perhaps he thought you were amenable to his position given that you had expressed some frustration at your family obligations.

  4. Ugh. I’m sorry – what an ugly comment.

    Because, perhaps, of generation, my two examples are about pregnancies (not my own, of course, that being as yet a biological impossibility):

    1.) “She can’t be serious about an academic career if she’s having a third child.”

    2.) (Dean looks at pregnant colleague): “Was that an accident?”

  5. To be fair, knowing the person, I’m pretty sure he did not mean it the way it sounded. He’s done some caring for ill relations. As Trey says, I think probably he was trying to be supportive of me and it came out wrong. But there are also big differences between people, I think, in how you weight the importance of the different parts of your life: which are things you do only if you can’t get out of them (like housework, in my case) and which are things you feel are important enough you should do them even if you could get out of them.

  6. To be fair, knowing the person, I’m pretty sure he did not mean it the way it sounded.

    As someone who’s always saying the wrong thing, or having things come out the wrong way, I completely understand this. I admire your comeback and the patience you’ve shown with your parents (and colleagues).

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