Wednesday, January 21, 2009

More on the Academic World

I have known a number of people who got into other professions such as journalism or management and reached pretty high places. Some of my friends in school have successfully established businesses. When I would meet them, they would always be immensely pleased that I was an academic. In fact, one of my school pals, who is placed at a senior position in the corporate world, told me that he was impressed that 'I was a groovy professor'. Now, if you look at this school pal of mine and I passed out of school in 1988 and then went to college, it is indeed a pretty long time ago. This friend of mine is well-educated, holds a senior position, a position that is more senior than what I hold, earns more money and commands more people under him. So, socially, he is certainly at a higher scale compared to what I do in my life, most probably in every respect. However, he seems to have respect for the world of academia. Similarly, I have had a number of lay people (those who are qualified professionals but do not hail from the world of academics) tell me that they believe that 'teaching at a university is an easy job'--you go to the university, take lectures and come back home. In the popular perception, it is certainly easier than being a police officer, where you might be asked to report at night at the scene of crime.

Now, a number of such people also tell me that they believe that there is no workplace rivalry or politics in the world of academics because 'there are educated people in academia'. I understand that there are 'educated people' in academia, however, even for a moment, I refuse to believe that people who complete their Masters in Business Administration or hose who complete an MD, are any less competent or less educated. I have seen the seedy side of academics at close quarters and sometimes, I feel that I should script a movie on the subject. It might be the Slumdog Millionaire of the academic world!