“Smile and nod, but don’t overdo it”: two professors discuss how to live less anxiously in academia

October 4, 2016

Academics who have grown tired of the demands of their job within the world of “market fundamentalism” might consider ignoring the traditional path of professional advancement altogether, write Carl Cederström and Michael Marinetto for the Chronicle of Higher Education. Whether it is the undervaluing of teaching compared to research, or the celebration of difficult writing for a narrow audience, the authors contend that “we know that this situation is not going to change all of a sudden.” For this reason, the authors recommend that those who are frustrated with the system learn to how to be “left alone” to pursue broader interests and to enjoy the freedoms of academic work. “The trick is to navigate that fine line,” the authors conclude. “Once you get an academic job, you may want to keep a low profile, and just live up to the basic expectations. Smile and nod, but don’t overdo it.” Chronicle of Higher Education