Weekend Reading: Emotional Labor in the Academy

Weekend Reading: Emotional Labor in the Academy

May 18, 2017
Weekend Reading - Orange tabby cat wearing glasses reading from an open book

Academics are getting better at talking openly, honestly, and fiercely about the intellectual and physical work academic life demands of us. But the requisite emotional labor is often more difficult to identify and manage. As we finally name the mental health crisis happening in higher education, our reading this weekend reflects on its invisible emotional terrain.

It can be extremely hard to get objective advice about graduate school, and doubly difficult to preempt the emotional toll this kind of long-term work takes. Some Lesser Known Truths About Academe involve the realities of juggling high expectations, career instability, and critical feedback.

As a graduate student, your relationship with your advisor looms large. As we explored in our Mentorship series, it takes effort and skill to handle advisors that are (usually) less than perfect.

Emotional labor is always gendered, raced, and classed. In other words, the experience of and expectations around emotional work are different for women, people of color, queer people, and other marginalized people. The classroom can be an especially fraught space to manage.

The work of challenging dominant structures and institutions can be exhausting and demoralizing, especially if your loved ones do not support your efforts. If you are feeling alienated in your activism, self care is vital.

Do you feel like you are Just Barely Holding It Together? Know that you are not alone.

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