I just want to send this out there. Into the void.
Also, I want to preface this by apologizing: I hate it when people are vague but I have to be this time, at least for the next paragraph.
Something happened yesterday with my best friend and I don’t want to get into it because it’s his life not mine, but it brought up some issues for me as well. Mostly in terms of — what else — archaeology and academia. I don’t really know where to start, but suffice to say that it got me thinking about careers, archaeology, life in general. This is the second big wallop this year for two of my best friends (one in the spring, and now this one) and each time the terra ferma — that so diggable terra ferma — shakes underfoot.
But let me back up.
I haven’t always known I wanted to be an archaeologist.
I went to college thinking I would go into history, then I changed majors — briefly — to journalism, then I toyed seriously with the idea of going the pre-med route. Then, spring of my sophomore year I took Into to Archaeology and two weeks into the class I had changed my major to anthropology have have been hooked ever since. So I know what it’s like to not know what you want, just because I love what I do now, doesn’t mean I don’t know what it is to doubt.
Now though I love archaeology, breathe osteology. And yeah I know that there are other important things in life, I still have some perspective left, but I really do love this science. I guess what I want to throw out there into the void is this: Is this a bad thing? If so why? With a global debt crises universities aren’t hiring as they were before, there are seriously scary percentages of tenured vs. part-time professors vs post docs. Not everyone in academia is going to get that plushy full professorship way of life. Despite what (I’m sure) a lot of people think, I’m not naive. However why let those things discourage students from pursuing their passion? No, not everyone gets the great jobs but someone has to get that job. So why not try for it?
Ok, this got a little ranty, and that’s not really what I was going for, I’ll real it in…
What I’m trying (rather poorly) to get at is I don’t see what is the problem with loving your career? I’ve had very close friends (and not so close friends) tell me I don’t know what it’s like to doubt career choices because I”m too in love with mine (so much so they feel that they can’t open up to me about it), tell me that I’m married to my job, that I don’t allow room in my life for other things/people/whatever, that I just don’t understand what’s actually important.
I went on a long run today to try and think through some of what my friend is going through, and while I pounded the pavement I got to thinking:
Isn’t passion important? Isn’t a love for life important?
Just because I don’t want kids right now (at gasp — 25) or that I’m not in a serious long term relationship, does that mean I’m totally clueless to life? I want the same things everyone wants, someone to grow old with and love, maybe a kid or something one day but for now I couldn’t even keep the spider living in my flat alive so I’ll just hold back on that one for a while. But can’t loving your job be seen as a good thing? Isn’t it another thing we all want? And, as much as I hate to ask this one: are people — even friends — talking about this because of me, or because I’m a woman? Would a man be asked the same questions from his friends (but that’s a whole can of worms I don’t want to get into).
And as for doubting myself: I do that every damn day. Just because I don’t doubt my choice in career doesn’t mean I don’t doubt myself in other ways.
Anyway, this is failing, clearly. And this is only half of what’s on my mind today. I thought writing this out might make me understand things better but instead I’m quite possibly even more confused, and probably you are too…sorry….