Episode 56: Higher Ed is in Crisis-It’s Time to Make Your Move
The pandemic didn’t change the course of academia; it has amplified the issues that were already there. As higher ed systems crumble, it’s time for you to decide your own course of action.
As one of my favorite books, “The Slow Professor”, explains: the University system is deeply ingrained in the history of capitalism. The path the University is on wasn’t created by the pandemic, it simply sped up the journey down that path. More demands have been made on professors’ time, more unpaid admin work expected, the exploitation of adjunct and grad student labor has become prevalent, support roles have been eliminated; we have been seeing the capitalist system at work, squeezing us for every drop of labor it can.
When the pandemic hit, the process sped up. Now we’re seeing furloughs, lay offs, universities questioning the idea of tenure, institutions closing altogether. Higher Ed is in crisis. But what does it mean for you? I want to suggest that you get to decide.
Creation and the Upsides of This Moment
While it’s true that we are at a crossroads right now in academia, I want to encourage you to remember what your career is truly about: creation. The purpose of your career is to bring something new, something unique, into the world, documented through your writing. So here are 3 things to remember in this moment:
1. You are not your institution. The place where you do your work is merely the container, the vehicle through which you bring your contribution to the world. Containers can take many different forms; you don’t have to stay stuck inside one that doesn’t fit.
2. When creation drives your career, milestones are met as a by-product. The details of institutional requirements for tenure and promotion don’t matter; you’ll meet and exceed them by focusing on the creation and working for your own milestones and goals. If that doesn’t happen, it’s a sign that your institution is not the right fit for you.
3. Day-to-day life must be focused around the creation. The creation of your unique body of work is the point. Teaching, service, advising, committee work; it all needs to be arranged in service of the creation.
“What you are doing as an academic is, in essence, an act of creation.”
You have an opportunity right now, in this moment, while institutions are faltering and systems are crumbling, to remake yourself. It’s up to you. We’ve been conditioned to a scarcity mindset in academia. We’ve been taught to believe that we should just be grateful for the positions we have, and not to question or push back. But we do have a choice. To save yourself in this moment, you have to believe in yourself. I’m giving you permission. Here’s what it looks like:
- You build a career based on a clear academic mission, refined over time and built by you for the people impacted by your work, regardless of your institution. This will become your legacy.
- You have time, energy, and financial freedom.
- You have space in your day for the deep work that contributes to your personal mission.
- You set your own goals and milestones that support your vision (and blow by institutional milestones along the way).
“You’re allowed to believe in yourself and your writing.”
If 2020 revealed your institution’s true colors, if you’re questioning your role in academia, if you are ready to remake your career and organize your life around your unique contribution, don’t miss the chance to sign up for Navigate: Your Writing Roadmap. We’ll help you navigate these questions and give you tools to create the career and life you want in 2021.
Values and Systems
Achieving this transformation for yourself might sound dreamy or intangible, but I promise you it is not. It’s about 2 things: values and systems.
1. Values. If you want to remake yourself in 2021 you have to be willing to learn a new way: your way. Take a moment to mourn the losses of 2020, then sit down and articulate what your actual values are. What is important to you? What do you want your career to look like? How do you want your life to feel? What is vital to bringing your creation into the world? What do you want to cut away?
2. Systems. Once you figure out your values, you need systems to bring them to fruition. We teach all 3 of the vital systems you need in place and how to implement them in our Navigate course. Here’s an overview of what they are and how to use them:
- Time Management Systems: Are you automating as much as possible? Are you using technology to create and support boundaries around your time? Are you using templates and workflows as much as possible? Is your mindset in the right place concerning your time and boundaries?
- Writing Systems: Do you have a multi-layered ecosystem of writing practices? Do you have the tools in place to help you move your writing forward, and to recover from a writing break? Do you have a healthy mindset around your writing?
- Pipeline and Planning Systems: Do your projects flow smoothly through your pipeline? Do you have a strategy in place to manage the flow of your pipeline? Are you using publications strategically to bring your creation into the world in the way you want to see it?
“We cannot collectively remake academia if we keep believing in scarcity, in suffering, and in settling.”
Navigate: Your Writing Roadmap
If you’re ready to remake yourself in 2021 but you don’t know where to start, get on the waiting list now for Navigate. We will support you as you make decisions, and give you tools to create the career you want. Believe in yourself, and take action!
Don’t miss your chance to get into the Phoenix Cohort, our first group to go through this reimagined program in 2021. And if you are one of the first 10 to sign up, you will receive special early bird bonuses!
Get on the waitlist here: https://cathymazak.com/navigate-waitlist.
If you’re looking for some quick ideas to boost your writing time, grab my free cheat sheet: 10 Way to Make Time to Write.
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