Sunday, April 17, 2016


Work continues, as ever it must. I have one more stack of papers to assess today; it is a short stack, fortunately, so it ought to go reasonably quickly, but it still needs doing. I will be getting three more such stacks from the classes whose work I have been reviewing--two more versions of the paper I am reviewing now and the final exam--as well as from the other class I teach--a paper, a portfolio, and a final exam. My classroom work therefore clusters on the weekends for the remaining few weeks of my visit to the wind-swept plains, which should make for some fun times during the weeks to come. I continue to try to teach as I know how to do, pushing the students to do more and work more intensely towards excellent writing, but I admit that I am finding it difficult to maintain my focus on doing so against the end of the visit. I find it hard to keep in mind that there is a point to it and that moving toward the point is a good thing, well worth doing.

That my comments will seem to move towards whining, I know. (I do not mean them to do so; I mean them to be reflective, but I know that what I mean and what will emerge do not necessarily coincide.) I know also that some who will think them motion towards whining have not been facing the end of employment--other than looking forward to a retirement that will likely never be available to me--and so are speaking from a position of privilege that I do not get to enjoy. (Also, as I have noted, I have been looking for more work up to quite recently, and as soon as the relocation to the Hill Country is completed, barring some pleasant surprise, I will be looking for work again in short order.) Back in the day, there may have been less complaint about such things (although I think bartenders would disagree), but back in the day, there were also full-time continuing jobs available and expectations on the parts of employers that they would retain employees for decades at a time. The labor market is different; reactions to it should also be different.

And yes, I am defensive on the point. Why would I not be, when I expect to be attacked? (How's that for "real world" awareness?) And why would I not expect to be attacked when, time and time again, I hear from any number of media outlets, as well as the voices that speak to me mouth to ear, that I and those like me are caught up in senses of entitlement and expect things to be handed to them without effort--when I have been working three jobs and pushing forward more job applications in a month than many who make such complaints have filled out in their lives, and when I see my contemporaries doing much the same things and still neither being rewarded for their hard work nor even acknowledged as doing what they have been told for decades that they are supposed to do? I am not saying that people do not whine, and I am not saying that I do not have expectations; what I am saying is that the whining is nothing new (and the complaints are justified), and that the expectation is that a "recovering" economy will have jobs that will allow people to make a living. But I suppose that is a bit much to ask.

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