Tenured prof has no plans, ambition

Newly tenured professor admits he’s looking forward to “kind of just phoning it in” for the next 35-40 years

Jacob Pacey

In a recent interview with Low Calibre, York sociology professor Edward Keating, who officially received tenure last week, admitted that aside from the job security, prestige, and significant salary bump that will result from his new position, the 33-year-old academic will be mostly looking forward to the prospect of “kind of just phoning it in” for the rest of his career, and says he has no real long-term professional goals of any kind.

“Who’s got two-thumbs and has fucking got it made, baby?” stated a visibly jubilant Keating in the exclusive hour-long interview, pointing both of his thumbs towards himself and proceeding to offer this reporter a high-five.

Keating, who insisted that the interview be held during one of his “more boring” lectures in Accolade East, arrived wearing a blazer, stained undershirt, and bright blue heart-print boxer shorts.

“Oh, this?” asked Keating in mock-surprise while pointing to his naked legs. “I only own one suit, and I burned that shit as soon as [my tenure] came through.” He went on to explain that he was much more of a “casual Fridays type of guy.”

While many professors who receive tenure often use the near iron-clad job security it offers to embark on long-term research on important and sometimes controversial subjects for the betterment of society, and for whom tenure merely represents the beginning of a long and bounteous career rather than its peak, Keating insists that he has “put in his time,” and now plans to “just take it easy.”

“I still have to teach a class or two, but I have TAs to do my marking,” explains Keating, adding that because there is very little chance his particular area of study will change in the near future, he plans on simply repeating his lectures and course structure from last year for the next three or four decades. Aside from that, he plans on not doing much else other than writing an occasional op-ed in the local paper or co-editing a book with six or seven professors “somewhere down the road.”

“I might also hit up a conference or two here and there,” he says, before pausing the interview to dismiss a student’s question and answer three text messages. “If it’s somewhere nice like Paris or Rome and vaguely related to my area of study… I might throw a paper together so I can go.

“Either that or take a sabbatical to Europe for some bullshit reason, everyone does it,” Keating muses. “Seriously, taking a year off to grab a few papers out of the archives of some European library and photocopy them? Half of that crap is digital nowadays anyway. The university has got to know we’re just chilling like motherfuckers 90 per cent of the time we’re away.

“This guy knows what I’m talking about,” Keating laughs, gesturing to an unnamed colleague passing by the lecture hall doors.

When asked how it’s possible for him to get away with such behaviour, Keating is straightforward, and explains that tenured positions are designed to give professors complete academic freedom and he can essentially do whatever he wants.

While Keating relents that taking advantage of his privileged position does make him feel a little bit guilty, he says having zero passion for his job helps him overcome the emotional obstacles that stand in the way of his plans to do as little as possible for the rest of his life.

“I never really wanted to be a professor anyways, so I can’t help not liking anything about academia, aside from the perks that is,” says Keating, who explains that he did not want to get a job after finishing his Master’s degree.

“I got my PhD, wrote my dissertation on something mildly relevant, and one book and a few journal articles later: boom, professor. Made friends with all the right people and didn’t rock the boat too much: bang, tenure,” explains the professor of his career path. “It sort of just happened. I’m not saying I’m going to do a bad job because of that, I’m just saying I’m not going to do a good job.”

With the rest of his life now more or less settled, Keating says that aside from being a smug son-of-a-bitch for the next 6-8 months and individually calling every one of his old co-workers to brag, his immediate plans include picking out new furniture and a computer for his office, trying out some of Starbucks’ new holiday lattes, and re-watching all eight seasons of 24 on the pretense of research.

“This is seriously a sweet gig,” admits Keating. “No wonder so many people aimlessly attend grad school.”

DISCLAIMER: This issue contains works of satire. All names used in this story are invented, except in cases where public figures are being satirized. Any other use of real names or events is accidental and coincidental.

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