Thursday, April 2, 2009

Some good words

Make sure to check out this short piece by Bill Ramsey, a longtime member of the philosophy faculty at prestigious Notre Dame University. He recently moved to Las Vegas after realizing that there was more to life than a professional career as defined by mainstream academia. In his essay, titled "You Are Not Your Job," Ramsey makes some important points for anyone struggling with this issue:

the bottom line is, yes, I really am so obsessed with climbing that, in certain respects, it is more important than my career. The fulfillment I get from teaching and writing is enormous. However, I determined long ago that my life without climbing—without the places, people and experiences that climbing has introduced to me—would be unacceptably diminished.

I am working this issue out constantly myself. Thanks Bill for articulating this conflict and your priorities so well.

Colorado readers should immediately visit the website for the Northern Colorado Climbers Coalition and 1. Join the organization, then 2. Download the very high quality PDF guide to Poudre Canyon by Cameron Cross and Ben Scott. A measly 10 bucks gets access to the online guides and judging by the Poudre guide, that's well worth it by itself. So check it out today.


Kate T-C said...

Thanks for the link to NCCC. I didn't know they had redone the site. I looked at it just a few weeks ago and everything was massively out of date. This is nice.

sock hands said...

good links, peter. i also enjoyed chuck's piece immediately below bill's, which reminds me of my first days "climbing" on the slabs around lake saranac in the adirondacks.

anyway, i can very much sympathize with bill... though younger, i certainly feel the outside pressure that my 'career' decisions are not up to snuff. i should really be severing all my climbing ties and i should begin to seek community with other young attorneys, go to more CBA events, fret on the weekends about articles i can write for legal periodicals, and potentially even seek out a larger firm to get some of my bills paid.

still, some of the 'successful' partners that i've come across in my days are divorced recovering alcoholics with strained relationships with their kids, some of which seem to be the most miserable creatures on the planet.

lifestyle above career?

you bet your ass.

my grandfather moved dirt around for his entire life. he had his own issues, but he loved his life and was loved by a surprisingly far reaching community. that seems like a better model for life than any steeply tilted career ladder.

it seems like bill's happiness in his career can be tied to the energy and enthusiasm of his students. are kids at notre dame more psyched to learn than in las vegas? i'd suspect that the law of averages says no.

also, and this is speaking out of ignorance i realize, bill's field does not seem to be one where some better scientific facility of the school will make a difference... his research is in text and in the mind. seems pretty portable to an outsider like me.

looks like there is little to lose and much to gain.

i'm rambling.

Peter Beal said...

Great reply SH. Re: Bill (and I want to do a short interview with him) and his situation, tenured positions in philosophy, as in any humanities field, are up there with hen's teeth in scarcity. Generally, unless you are a superstar, where you wind up after graduate school is where you stay. The law is far more portable though the activities that you describe yourself as "should be doing" show a very similar potential professional track to that of academia with corollary commitments of time and energy.

Thanks for the comment,Kate. I teach at FRCC in Fort Collins so I move between both areas and have enjoyed the bouldering at Carter, Horsetooth, and the Poudre. But the Park is still in Boulder County! (I think)