This is the title of a Dec. 1, 2005 "First Person" article in the Chronicle, by A. Papatya Bucak. She writes about the double-edged sword of jealousy and admiration of role models that compels her to exceed. She laments the fact that the "Life on the Tenure Track" meetings in her department give practical advice instead of allowing the faculty to showcase their work or model their successes.
I wish we would all sit in a circle and read from our favorite works. Then wouldn't we all want to go home and write? Isn't that what made us writers in the first place? Jealousy?
Most of my colleagues are not creative writers -- they are literature scholars, historians, and sociologists, but surely they have their equivalent inspirations. Rather than warning against failure, our meetings could model success. I don't need any more practical advice: What I need is inspiration.
During the three years I was a graduate student, every one of my writing professors published a book. And they were fantastic teachers. .... Those faculty members, more than anyone or anything else, remain my models for what I can and should do.
It's hard to get people to brag about themselves, but I know my readers would love to hear success stories about what has worked well for you! Please share your successes, whether in grad school, during the job search, and as a junior professor. (I wonder if the author was really a graduate student for only three years -- if so, she's a great role model herself!)
What worked for you in writing your dissertation? What did you wish you had done to help yourself with dissertation writing? What kept you going during the job search? What led to your best interview? How do you get any writing done while teaching?
People need role models! Let's be role models for each other.