Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The Bachelorette in Academe

The Bachelorette in Academe. This is an interesting career column from the Chronicle. In it, a young single woman complains about how hard it is for young women professors to find mates and how socially isolated they can become in higher education. Here is what is interesting from a librarian perspective. She concludes that librarians are more socially outgoing than academics! This was a fun twist.

From the site:

Leaving has given me an opportunity to meet people, among them, Mr. Right. My greatest revelation came, however, not when I met Mr. Right (that was a revelation of a different order) but rather when I met a woman in one of my three book groups (that's the good thing about a city -- you can belong to lots of book groups and none of the members will know that you are seeing others).

Bright, funny, and well-read, Emily had dropped out of a Ph.D. program in history. She was single and working as a librarian. Tentatively I asked her, "But you are so bright and you have such a passion for history, why did you ever drop out of graduate school?"

Her response: "Early on, I realized that academe has no office culture. I know office culture is always seen as a joke but I realized that as a single person, I was going to need some interaction at work. Academe couldn't offer me that -- but a library could."

It took me a while to mull that one over: Librarians are more socially outgoing than academics? Admittedly, there was a little envy on my part, too: If I was so smart, how come I hadn't figured out, as Emily had early on in her graduate career, that I wasn't going to be spending large chunks of my academic career sipping sherry with my colleagues while we discussed a range of issues?

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