Why is investing in ourselves as academic womxn a radical act? And what should you do if your institution doesn’t want to invest in you? Making your career what you want it to be is up to you.
There’s a lot of talk these days about self-care, but what does this mean for us as academics? How do we make sure we are getting where we want to go in our careers, and valuing our own contributions to the world? In order to grow and develop as scholars, we must invest in ourselves. As womxn, this is a radical act, and one I hope you’ll make for yourself.
Self-Care = Self-Preservation
The term ‘self-care’ has been co-opted a little bit…people often think of things like bubble baths when they think of self-care. But what I’m talking about here is really self-preservation. What do you need to do to be able to live the life you want? As a writer, I know I need to exercise and keep my back strong or I won’t be able to physically sit in the chair and get writing done. As a scholar, I know I need to keep growing and developing best practices for getting my message into the world. That means investing in myself.
“What are the actions you have to take…to make sure that you can keep doing what you want to be doing in your life?” -Cathy Mazak
Why is it Radical?
We’ve talked about radical acts in previous episodes, because many things we do as academic womxn operating in a patriarchal system that was not built for us are radical! The patriarchy tells us that womxn should defer to the needs and comfort of others, that our only real contribution to the world is through caring for others. Not true! Investing in yourself, doing what you need to do to preserve yourself and the academic life you want, and growing and developing as a scholar is a radical and much needed act.
Can’t Can Take It With You
Your institution (the “container” through which you do your scholarly work) helps you get your work out into the world, but your career is about your work and your contribution. When your institution refuses to pay for professional development, it can be infuriating, frustrating, deflating…especially if you’re over-working and give them all of those precious extra hours of your life.
You may have (understandably) developed an attitude of “I just won’t do anything they don’t pay for”. But don’t forget! Your career belongs to you. Your personal and professional development belong to you. And just like with publications, learning, growth and connections you make enrich your career and come with you wherever you go. Professional development programs like my Amplify program can even teach you how to cut down overwork and create a regular workweek, which means you are essentially giving yourself a raise. You and your career are worth it!
Taking the Next Steps
1.Advocate for yourself! Ask your institution to cover expenses for your professional development and tell them why making you a better and happier scholar benefits them.
2. If they refuse, remember that you can take it with you! Consider the pay off of investing in yourself, in terms of happiness, in terms of contribution to your field, in terms of pay. You are worth it!
3. Consider applying for Amplify: Faculty Writing Accelerator, my 6-month long program designed for you, whether you want to build a sustainable, scalable writing system, go up for tenure with confidence and ease, take control of your career direction, or find a supportive community that understands your struggles. Click here to apply, but don’t wait, applications close soon and we get started on September 1st, 2021.
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