Sunday, April 23, 2017

Disingenuous

For no good reason, a week or two I was thinking about an online exchange I had with a professor whose name, rank, and affiliation I no longer remember, except that she was not an adjunct. She had been arguing that one's career always took precedence, and that if one was really interested in advancing one's career, one would simply move to where the job was, regardless of distance. I argued that for many, it was not so easy to do that; her response was that "what I did not get" was...well, I can't even remember anymore, but according to her, there was something that clearly I wasn't understanding when it came to simply moving to where the job was. She then tried to engage me, stating that she honestly did not understand my point of view, and asked - noting that she was being serious - how I came to believe that this wouldn't simply be an option if one's career wasn't important. This was a woman who had never married, had never had children, and whose parents did not need her care.

I replied:
  • Moving requires money; the further one moves, the more money one needs. If one does not have the money, either in the form of savings, credit, or being able to borrow the money from someone (or by taking out a loan), "simply moving" is not viable. Because it was possible for one particular person does not mean everyone has the same level of financial comfort. This professor chose not to recognize her own privilege.
  • If one is married or otherwise partnered, one generally (I hope) takes into consideration the needs of the spouse/partner/whatever-term-you-want-to-use-that's-applicable-to-your-situation. Some might find it easy to get a job; others would not. If you have kids, you take them into consideration...up to a point. If you have kids with special needs, I hope one would take into consideration what support, medical, etc., services are required for your kid, and compare them to what's available. If one's parent(s) needs care, financial, medical, or otherwise, that's something else to consider. Who will care for them? Can you afford (and/or want to) put them into a long-term care facility where they currently live, or where you're moving to? Can you take care of their needs yourself? Will someone else provide those needs?
None of these facets of "just move" seemed to cross this professor's mind - or she dismissed my arguments out of hand because, after all, if you really wanted the job, you'd just move. This is ignorant at best and disingenuous at worst.

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