职业早期学者是“自己大脑的受害者”

对“学术退圈”的调查显示,有抱负的人坚信他们可以克服困难,因为他们过去一直都能成功

七月 21, 2020
quit resign give up
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一项研究表明,博士生的超常智力水平使他们过着“炼狱般的”生活,因为他们追求不大可能得到的理想工作、拒绝更为现实的职业、并认为这是一种失败。

“学术退圈”(quit lit)是人们宣布离开学术界的一个说法。针对“学术退圈”的一项分析表明,许多职业早期的学者都是自己“优于数据” (above the data)大脑的受害者。

他们的自信心激发了对学术工作坚持不懈的艰苦追求。迪肯大学(Deakin University)的生物伦理学家埃维·肯德尔(Evie Kendal)说:“在这种情况下,不管你跟一个人重复说多少遍没有职位空缺都没用。”

“他们一直认为自己终将成功,因为他们过去总能成功。”

这一研究刊登在《高等教育研究》(Studies in Higher Education)期刊上。作者研究了在80篇关于“学术退圈”的文章中重复出现的、能表明作者经历趋势的单词和短语。

肯德尔博士引用一篇文章中提到的“优于数据”一词,说这代表了总是超出学术预期的人。

她说:“他们被告知:‘你不可能一直都处在领先地位。如果你在高中拿90分,到了大学就只能拿60分。’而这些学生在大学仍能拿到90分。他们最终拿到博士奖学金,并在大多数情况下偶然获得学术工作。”

一位作者将职业早期的学术界比作第一次世界大战时的情景——一名上尉告诉士兵,战死沙场的可能性是99%,而“每个人都认为自己会是活下来的那个”。

在这些总共114902字的样本文章中,提到了16次“地狱”、31次“哀悼或悲伤”,并以各种形式提到“损失”、“痛苦”或“受伤”达138次。

分析还包含8个“留下的理由”——人们用此来证明自己留在学术界的决定是合理的,并常常劝说退圈的人也这样做。

有人说,学术工作“比大多数工作要好”,并把“学术退圈”者描述为“想让别人解决自己的问题的抱怨者”。他们甚至把别人赶离学术界,利用退圈行为为自己减少竞争者。

分析还找出了样本中出现113次的“行业”一词,并以各种形式提到“学术工作的代替方案”达119次。“学术退圈”的作者们称赞这些代替性工作的影响力和“现实世界的价值”,并称学术界是与现实“脱节”且缺乏创意的。

但那些转而从事替代性事业的人必须克服一个不断强化的偏见,即非学术工作是“劣等的”,并浪费了他们的才能。一位人士写道:“在我被灌输的观点里,认为‘要么留在学术界,要么就得去做汉堡’”。

john.ross@timeshighereducation.com

本文由陆子惠为泰晤士高等教育翻译。

后记

Print headline: Young academics ‘victims of their own brains’

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Reader's comments (11)

My my! This is bound to upset a few readers. But I agree most definitely. Yes, everyone's research is good, but there will never be enough jobs due to the overproduction of PhDs. And quit-lit is often just cringeworthy.
A concise and realistic article. It sometimes saddens me to see able brains falling into the delusion that only academia offers intellectual challenge and satisfaction. There are many demanding and satisfying tasks outside academia that would benefit from the attention of these people.
As someone who quite a well paying corporate job to pursue a Ph.D and be in academia I find this article in poor taste. The problem lies elsewhere- you certainly don't need a Ph.D to pursue a non academic career. Perhaps what needs to be discouraged is the number of people trying to get a Ph.D or even a higher education. There is no mention of why academics fail and the structural problems within academia that are the causes for the doing so. Perhaps we just need less people in university!
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Even for those who do "make it" with tenure, is it worth it, with the hours required, and the risk of burnout and the effects on personal life? Late forties, no husband or children, still struggling to buy a home.
This is a misleading article that confuses, alarms and after reaching the end, provides no sensible conclusion. Obtaining a PhD should be for those who are intellectually able and who have an aptitude and suitability for academic life. Others may be as intellectually elite but wish to pursue careers outside academia because that is a better career choice. The less intellectually able should not pursue a PhD. Confounding the issue with ridiculous terms like 'quit-lit' is not necessary.
Strange. I did a degree & then research in botany, found there were not jobs going in academic botany, which - along with commiting the cardinal sin of going home to write up and then getting married - contributed to not submitting my thesis. I took a sideways step into computing, working in a software house, as a consultant, and in web development, thence into FE via appointment as a college webmaster... and now back in a university in the computer science department, loving & thriving at academic life (and finally getting round to doing a PhD!). It wasn't planned this way, but I'm delighted how it's all turned out!
If the brain is ‘good’ it should be able to find needles in haystacks ... where ever the stack and whatever shape the needle. There is a certain ‘ cultural protectionism’ in academia not found outside of it. True brains should be able to survive as much inside that protectionism as in the wild. The wild often lacks a road map. Coming up with one is the proof of the pudding for the truly prodigious brain. Anything else is ‘ well beaten path ‘ ... pseudo originality . Basil jide fadipe.
Blame the victim! If a person has invested in a career through education and research and proven themselves, how can the survey researchers be so stupid and premise their belief that something is wrong with the surveyed's self-belief. The idiots (there is no solid philosophical argument for them) have fallen for the fallacy in the belief that the truth is in the social-economic statistics rather than lives matter, person's matter, and a person's career ambitions has validity. Ethical incomprehensible and incommensurate with social values.
Everyone seems to be missing the point. It's not about jobs. Rather, if you make scholarship & learning be about getting a job, you've constrained your mind -- whether you end up getting the job or not. Just go to university for the love of knowledge, not for employment & money. Jobs are just an unavoidable part of the daily routine grind of the current human world. Knowledge is something completely different, it's in another existential realm altogether. University should be engaged as a romance with knowledge,and you stay true to that throughout your time there. It's best to let the chips fall wherever they may afterwards. I did that, and never once regretted it.
Well said!!

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