Try as we might, we cannot convince the Mighty Milo that it’s Labor Day, not Labrador Day.
The COVID situation has made me realize how complicated labor is in the academic world. Right now, I find that teaching face-to-face is by far the most personally rewarding part of my job. Not only do I get to interact with people outside the walls of my house, but I also have had a chance to really rethink my classes and work to pare them down to their most essential parts.
I’ve also found the work that I do with colleagues – particularly at The Digital Press and North Dakota Quarterly – exciting and invigorating this summer and fall. In fact, I have tended to prioritize these project and teaching as much because its stuff that I want to do as because its stuff that I fear catching COVID and getting sick will make more difficult to accomplish.
It makes clear to me how little redundancy exists in my work. I don’t necessarily have a plan for getting COVIDs and the current speed of the virus in North Dakota makes getting infected make this feel almost inevitable, even if this doesn’t mean getting sick.
What’s strange about this, is that most of the work that I do in the classroom and with NDQ and The Digital Press has the least economic value to me as a professional. Our raises are almost entirely determined by our scholarly output. It’s been pretty hard to focus on my scholarship these days.