Saturday, June 18, 2011

Living On the Edge

       I have been away from this blog for almost a month, concentrating on other matters. For one thing, I am trying to co- write two articles- one scholarly, one popular- on Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Dubois. For another, I have  been trying to earn a (small) amount of money working on a modest research project for a professor friend. This last has been especially important, as I am a man who is living in dire poverty. I have had no  almost income since April, and I have crushing bills. Because of the article writing and the research, I have been unable to make any further progress setting up my long dreamed of consulting firm.

         However, most of my time is  simply surviving. My mother is almost 77 years old and survives on inadequate social security payments. When I have  academic income, it is easier for us, but I am temporarily unemployed. This is why the two articles are especially important. If I "publish", my chances of a full-time job increase slightly. If I can follow up the two articles with something substantive on Abraham Lincoln, my chances increase exponentially.

                In a way, my academic inactivity is a blessing in disguise, as it gives me the time to actually write important things..things more important than this blog, which seems to have attracted scant interest.I have an idea for a book about life in the academic underclass, all of those over educated  but underemployed academics, toiling at a patchwork of part-time jobs. I often wish I had left academe for a more lucrative career in the world, instead of accumulating huge  debts  getting a PhD which has only resulted in a job which nets me little money.

                 Then why do I persist? I persist because I love teaching. I have the crazy notion that I have something worthwhile to impart. Almost all of my students like me; some have become close friends. Some have even told me that my teaching has inspired them to care more about citizenship and our public life. I only wish that all my work  gave me more income than a janitor. Perhaps it will someday.

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