Some interesting and good advice from David Berliner, How to get rid of your academic fake-self?
Principle of care:
– Substitute a politics of competition by an ethics of care (for yourself and for others). Science is about collaborative knowledge and not a massacre.
Principle of incompleteness:
– Acknowledge that you have not read everything and that you cannot debate all topics. Learn to say: “I don’t know anything about Derrida. Maybe one day, I will read him, or not”.
Principle of honesty:
– Train yourself to say publicly: “I am not researching anything new at the moment, nor writing”. When a colleague asks you “what are you working on?”, learn to say “I don’t know. I am teaching and that already takes a considerable amount of time. I have nothing to publish right now”.
Principle of irony:
– Always have a big critical laugh at metrics and other tricks of neoliberal evaluations. They only painfully reopen your narcissistic wounds.
Principle of self-preservation:
– Try to avoid – as much as possible – toxic colleagues who never ask you how you are, but only list their own academic achievements and focus on lauding their cv.
If it doesn’t work, double the dose and try again.
David Berliner, anthropologist.
I can’t claim I always follow these, but they are good ideas, and if more people followed at least some of them, then academia would become a much more pleasant place.
[Update: A response from Mathijs van de Sande which points out the challenges for earlier-career academics and the structural context is here. Thanks to Nadim Khoury for this link.]