Around this time last year, Thomas Frank put forward some very pointed and accurate criticisms of the popular literature about creativity – namely, that these books and articles discussed the same examples over and over again – and wondered how much this literature could really enlighten us about creativity when it was so un-creative itself.
In my work, it’s the time of year on campus when things are gearing up for graduation – and a big part of that process at a lot of universities and colleges is choosing a commencement speaker for the graduation ceremony. I’ve sat through these ceremonies as a graduating student and as a faculty member, and I have some painful memories of very tedious, long-winded speakers who spouted cliche after cliche. But I’ve also been privileged to hear great speakers like author Antonine Maillet; at the ceremony where I received my MBA, she gave a beautiful address that was like being told an enchanting tale about the power and magic of books.
This past week marked the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. And it’s also nearly a year since I was in Boston, just after the bombings, in a bright sunny springtime.
I don’t think I will ever forget (more…)
In 1989, sociologist Arlie Hochschild published The Second Shift, a book about her long-term study of how a group of employees balanced their work and their family commitments. The title of the book referred to the employees putting in a shift of work at their workplace, and then going home to undertake another round of work in managing their households and their families. The book was hugely influential in many ways, not least of which was Hochschild’s finding that even when the employees had access to flexible work arrangements, such as compressed work schedules or flextime, they were reluctant to use them. Even if flexible work arrangements would have helped the employees better manage the demands of their two “shifts”, the employees – especially the male ones – thought their careers would be hurt if they were perceived as being less than committed to their jobs or to their employer.
But that was 1989. Things are different now. Or are they?
Two weeks ago, sports radio talk show hosts Boomer Esiason and Mike Francesa took it upon themselves to criticize New York Mets baseball player Daniel Murphy. The reason for their criticism? (more…)
This week, the Inside Higher Education website reported the results of a study showing that, increasingly, university faculty members work long hours struggling to meet intensifying demands on their time. This very insightful blog post is by someone who experienced this first-hand, and decided to leave academic work as a result. It’s a sobering and thought-provoking read.
On the following Tuesday (it was a bank holiday weekend) I started a three-month stint as an intern at a then-mid-sized software company. They were pretty clear that there wouldn’t be more work at the end of it; all I had going for me was that they were paying me — a lot less than my academic job paid, but hey, it was money. (Let’s not even start on the ridiculous exploitation of young people by companies looking for free labour, or how unpaid internships exclude those who can’t afford to work for free.)
Anyway, so … lunacy, right?
Maybe. But maybe it saved my life.
I cannot possibly supply a complete list of the things that drove…
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