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S L Forsburg nospamforsburg at salk.edu
Sat May 8 20:24:13 EST 1999

Linnea Ista (lkista at unm.edu) writes
> Except that job security is not a given in ANY arena any more. I agree
> that there should be better screening at the front and clear criteria for
> what defines success on tenure track. But neither my husband (who is not
> in any way associated with academe) have any illusions that our present
> positions will be guarenteed after 7 years. This does not keep the
> university from taking money out of my paycheck to put into their
> retirement fund, however.

Yes, this gets into a broader position:  do employers have the right to
demand these sacrifices from their employees, if they offer no rewards
for that loyalty? Maybe if they pay well. But academics work long 
hours for little money.  Once
security and collegiality go out the window, there is little attraction
to the profession.  Usually if you do your job and are productive, 
a the company is unlikely to let you go (unless the whole comapny
is affected). But in academics, it's completely subjective. Like
so many myths of merit in this profession, it pretends to be based
on objective data, but it really boils down to what a few (often 
unpleasnat) people think of you--the worst of personal politics.

Sad note for job-hunting postdocs:  just because you get 
your foot onto the tenure
ladder, you haven't "made it".  You just have farther to fall.

> On a personal note, I find it interesting that people would be suprised
> seeing such attitudes on Ally McBeal! I absolutely cannot watch that show,
> I find it so regularly offensive to women-- starting right with Ally's
> character, who is supposed to be representative of women of "my"
> generation.

Part of the backlash against feminism, perhaps?  Put women back into
short skirts and make them obsess about sex, and all's right with
the world? It really does seem to reflect old notions of puttin women in
their place.

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S L Forsburg, PhD  forsburg at salk.edu
Molecular Biology and Virology Lab          
The Salk Institute, La Jolla CA 

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