food for thought: clover food lab edition

This week looks to be the first five day work week, for many of us in the Boston area, since the week of January 19th! We hardly know how Mondays function any longer, and many of the classes that were supposed to meet this spring are floundering their way through make-up sessions and finding other creative ways to get through their syllabi. As I put this links list together I’m sitting in Clover Food Lab in Harvard Square (Cambridge, Mass.) waiting for my wife’s evening class at Harvard Extension to wrap for the evening. Thanks to her benefits through the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW) she’s able to take a class per semester for $40.00 tuition! Hip hip hooray for unionization is what I say.

My links from the week…

Erik Loomis @ Lawyers, Guns and Money | Culture Wars and Studying History (II)

[Gordon] Wood has found a new publishing outlet and that is The Weekly Standard. His discussion of his dissertation advisor Bernard Bailyn is little more than a cranky old white man screed against how new generations of historians talk about the past. He has a litany of complaints–too much race! too much gender! too much other countries! not enough big stories! historians trying to use the past for social change!–that for whatever merit (and I don’t think the complaints have much merit at all) they might have, basically come down to Gordon Wood believing the solution to these problems is seeing the past and writing about the past precisely in the way Gordon Wood sees the past and writes about the past. To say this is an unfortunate essay is a severe understatement.

Lara Hogan | Working in Tech with a Chronic Illness

I reached out to three other folks in our industry who have chronic illnesses to ask them to share their stories. I’m so appreciative that Lyza Danger Gardner, Mat Marquis and Nicholas Zakas have all been willing to participate. It’s important to note that lots of people with chronic illness don’t want pity or concessions—and we definitely don’t want to sound like we’re complaining, and so we just try and barrel through our workday.

I should also note that this post only reflects four individuals’ experiences with chronic illness; it’s not intended to represent the entire spectrum of ways illness can affect someone. Rather, I’m hoping to illustrate how our web development jobs are impacted by chronic illness, and how these kinds of jobs can also empower people who may not be able to work in traditional fields.

bossladywrites | The Fairytale of the Work-Life Balance

The only way to have any work-life balance is to take it. By that, I mean in order to maintain balance you have to absolutely know when to say No and know when things are starting to feel off balance and need to be realigned. Only you know those things. I’m pretty sure most bosses will let you work yourself into a tizzy and are busy enough that they may not even know until it’s too late. Because I’ve had very serious health concerns happen to me that were related to stress in a previous job, I try to be really aware of all of my people and check in with them (especially the most eager beavers) to make sure they are not overdoing it.

Jordan Schneider @ Chronicle of Higher Ed | A Letter to Full-Time Faculty

Complaining about low standards of education won’t do it. Showing the plight of adjuncts won’t do it. I’m pretty sure administrators know that adjuncts sometimes have to go on food stamps, that they have to work multiple jobs to support themselves and their families, and that the life of an adjunct is often filled with isolation, disappointment, and anxiety. I just don’t think most administrators really care, and no amount of shaming and guilt-tripping will change the balance sheets they have to show to presidents and governing boards. I don’t think administrators are bad people; they just have priorities and perspectives that are different from those of faculty, and no amount of handwringing and ethical indignation will change that.

So if adjuncts are so attractive because we’re so cheap, powerless, excluded, and replaceable, the solution seems to be to make adjuncts more expensive, more empowered, more included, and more secure in our positions.

Sarah Seltzer @ Flavorwire | Online Harassment Is the Missing Piece in Discussions of “PC” Culture

[Michelle] Goldberg focuses primarily, but not exclusively, on prominent white feminists in her piece. This is unfortunate since her point holds for the larger community. It’s common knowledge that women of color and queer women who are prominent, powerful voices on social media and blogs get the same, if not worse, cruel and violent harassment on a regular basis.

Aaron Wiener @ Housing Complex / Washington City Paper | The “Gentrification Myth” Myth

The Economist piece makes passing reference to one of the core problems effected by gentrification—a term I usually avoid for its ambiguity and loaded connotations, but generally referring to the displacement of low-income residents by wealthier, whiter ones, amid rising housing costs and new restaurants and shops. “In New York and San Francisco, which both have rent-control rules, soaring property prices create an incentive for property owners to get rid of their tenants,” the famously un-bylined magazine writes. “Stories abound of unscrupulous developers buying up rent-controlled properties and then using legal loopholes or trickery to force residents to leave.” That point is made briefly, as part of an argument the piece sets out to squash. But it’s actually an important one.

What have you been reading this week? Share via email, Twitter, or in comments!

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