Generation games 2

March 3, 2006

How ironic that you have a pro vice-chancellor patronisingly splitting academics into old and cynical worn down husks and young virile and able staff ("Carping is a real senior disservice", February 17) while in the same issue you have an article indicating that academics' stress levels are in excess of those of A&E workers ("Academics suffer more stress than A&E staff").

Susan Bassnett states that "the young people I meet when interviewing seem to show the same enthusiasm for academic life that my generation did". Well, what a bleeding surprise. If I were out of work and interviewed for a job (especially a permanent one) as a car-park attendant I'd muster some sort of enthusiasm for stationary vehicles. Her comments illustrate how out of touch some senior managers are.

Many new staff are stressed and disheartened by the pressures placed on them and their desire to have some sort of stability after years as migrant postdocs. Many established staff are comfortable and retain enthusiasm for their work, having built up teaching materials and a decent research track record. Don't carp? I won't, if Bassnett and her ilk cut the crap.

Magnus L. Johnson Hull University

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