CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts. In the face of corporate academia, disgruntled graduates have been reduced to levelling a criticism which amounts to saying that they are being treated unfairly as workers in a competitive labour market.
Protest is voiced mostly by those in adjunct professorships and other short-term positions. They offer a correct but uncompelling critique of how they are being treated.
“It’s a rather bad deal,” said one graduate.
Few comment on how the production mindset of academia is detrimental apart from its consequences vis-a-vis themselves.
A man explained that this “self-interested tone is because the majority of recent graduates are millennials.”
“They are overentitled narcissists,” he said.
Not all millennials emphasize their own plight.
“Whether you are a tenured professor or an adjunct, you are working within a metric of productivity that all but guarantees you are wasting your life and whatever meagre talent you may once have thought you possessed,” said one millennial.
This critique is seldom heard by research planning committees — lest anyone suggest that academics are not doing good work, that there is no such thing as academic productivity, or that creativity is not incentivisable.
It is the opinion of this newspaper that the dream of academia in the minds of hopeful adjuncts is not tragic because of their exclusion from the academy: it is tragic because the academia they dream of does not exist.
“Apparently, these are just the facts of living in the real world,” said one person who did not appear to be suffering any heartache at the time.