I was being mean as hell today. And the worst part? I was enjoying myself  while at it.

First of all, I lied shamelessly. I felt so exhausted that I was literally falling asleep in my chair. I couldn’t envision staying awake for several more hours, waiting for my English student to arrive for his lesson. So I called him, inventing an excuse why I need to cancel our class today. Miraculously, the moment I put the phone down, I felt refreshed and not sleepy at all. To see the scheme through though, I did take a nap, and it was probably the most expensive nap I ever had. Because I obviously lost some money by cancelling the private lesson. In terms of expense, today’s nap is closely followed by the nap I once took on the train, which resulted in my missing my stop and having to return by quite complicated manoeuvres.

Even worse, I rejoiced at other people’s misfortune when I woke up from my refreshing nap and was still feeling evil. I got a call from my former thesis supervisor, doctor Emma, who asked me to convert her .odt file into a .pdf file. Doctor Emma is a classic academic who can use the computer on a level akin to using a typewriter. That’s normal in academia. The department’s secretary, who is by far the most tech savvy, still produces class timetables in Word because Excel scares the shit out of her. While converting Emma’s file with one click, I listened to the news from my former department that Emma had to share. Apparently, two academics are being sacked. WTF? Academics are never ever sacked. It’s a weird world, once you get in, you stay at your post until your death (not even until you retire because academics don’t retire).

This causes the awkward condition that while new academics are still being trained, there are no jobs for them. No one tells them, of course, and some of the more naive ones find out only after they graduate with a PhD. Like me. I never quite got over the fact that though I’m excellent at what I do, my department preferred to keep their current and far less competent employees instead of hiring me. It’s a huge source of bitterness and anger for me, as it sort of ruined my life as I knew it. I ended up being an overqualified freelancer struggling and failing to earn her living. So, on hearing the news of not one but two of the least competent academics at my ex-department being let go, I was genuinely delighted. I consider it cosmic justice. God’s mill grinds slow, but sureone would say, but since I don’t believe in God, I call it cosmic justice. The universe is giving me a friendly nod. I nod back with a mean smile.

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Posted by Mara Eastern

I'm a sardonic blogger, snapper, scribbler and rhymer; a virtual space invader who indulges in cheerful negativism, morbid self-deprecation and bleak humour.

59 Comments

  1. So does the misfortune of your former colleagues create a possible opportunity for you? I hope so! Jobs these days seem to be either very insecure with people burning themselves out trying to prove their worth and making themselves seem less expendable than others or else people have jobs for life because nobody feels able to oust them and everyone else finds themselves in a “dead man’s shoes” scenario almost willing a colleague to shuffle off somehow so that they can get the job. Or maybe that is just my bitter, evil perspective?

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    1. Thank you for providing your “bitter, evil perspective”, I’m with you on this one. But then, I suspect I’m an evil and bitter person. I’m not sure that those poor academics’ misfortune creates an opportunity for me, I gathered they wouldn’t be replaced – there were too many staff to start with – but still, it makes me feel strangely good to see an incompetent person sacked. I’m not sure why. Probably again because I’m so evil 😮

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      1. Schadenfreude is just so satisfying though, isn’t it?

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        1. Yep. So satisfying that there’s even a word for it!

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  2. As Laura said, perhaps this opens a door or two for you. I doubt your really that mean, Mara. ❤

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    1. Haha, I’m afraid I’m more mean than you imagine! And I’m not even ashamed. shrug

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      1. I can tame you!! 😉

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        1. Ah, we’ll see yet! 😀

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          1. ☺️❤️

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  3. Isn’t it so short sighted and silly what happens in academia – not that they are alone in being so insular. It would be nice if there is an opening for you – that is, if you want it !

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    1. Being so shut off and insular isn’t good in any field, but things seem to be moving a bit, which might be just as well. I wonder what happens next…

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  4. May cosmic justice shine on …..

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    1. Amen… I blame/praise the universe.

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  5. I don’t think of it as being mean … more like self-preservation (nap) with a side order of opportunity knocking (not your fault others might have been harmed in the process 😉 )

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    1. Thank you for your kind judgement! I suspect I was just being lazy, considering that once I cancelled my class, I revived. But it was a nice nap still 🙂 On the plus side, the two people sacked should be just fine, for one of them academia was just one of several activities; for the other, his academic wife will surely support him. .. So it shouldn’t be too hard on them, considering.

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  6. Well I am pleased for you that you are as mean as all hell as that suggests emotion is flowing through your veins and that has to be a good thing….doesn’t it? Cancelling a student is a good thing if you don’t feel up to it and a nap is in order, after all your soul does need fulfilment as well as your stomach (food that is) Hope you have some money left to but said necessities.

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    1. Now, that’s an interesting perspective to look at it! I love reading everyone’s opinions. I think emotion is good, yes, except a more positive emotion would probably be even better. Like, rejoicing at other people’s fortune 😉 I did have a good rest, but then I don’t want to grow too lazy.

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  7. I feel that you are completely justified in everything that you did here, for a very logical reason, you have a cat 🙂

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    1. Hahaha, indeed! Because cat. I love your reasoning.

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      1. Makes sense to me 🙂

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        1. Are you sure you’re not a cat?

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          1. It is my final destination on my road to enlightenment: D

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          2. Ha 😀 My utmost ambition is to be a cat too. I’ve started by sleeping 16 hours a day when it comes to it.

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          3. That is what my cat does best. Proffesional sleeper..

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          4. Also professional annoyer. I don’t know if it’s the spring or what but my cat has grown terribly annoying these days. I still love her, obviously.

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          5. Mine was in games mode last night, because of the lack of tail and a certain ’roundness’ to his physique, he looks and sounds like a demented grey boulder racing around the house..

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          6. Hahaha, that’s some kind of image to be imprinted on my mind! My cat has her tail still attached, but she’s pot-bellied, so her moves don’t look too elegant either.

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          7. Most tabby cats get pot bellies, it is kinda cute though 😀

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          8. Really? Most tabbies have bellies? Now that you said it, I think you are right, but it’s weird that a fur colour should have anything to do with a cat’s physiognomy.

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          9. Even stripey ginger cats have it. I call it tabby flab! 😂

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          10. Tabby flab! I’ll never look at my cat the same way now…

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          11. It has just occurred to me that someone, somewhere has probably already had their cat given a tummy tuck…

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          12. Haha, that made me smile 🙂 And you’re right.

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          13. Actually, no, the opposite. * off to give the cat a belly rub *

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          14. If i did that to mine i would be severely lacerated fir my troubles..

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          15. Haha 😀 My cat only bears tummy rubs when I allow her to bite my other hand…

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          16. Lucky it is not a pet shark then! 😂

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          17. Yeah, but sometimes it hurts like shark bites.

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          18. I think that is known as cause and effect in some circles 😀

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  8. I’ve often wondered if some people stay in academia precisely because they are avoiding the “real world” (or rather “the world outside of academia”). That being said, I’ve found myself looking at jobs in education recently to escape the rat race at some point.

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    1. Just like you say, academia is a world quite outside of the “real world”. I think that if you spend your life in academia and then lose your job, it must be a shocking transition. Academia is quite comfy for those inside, I’d think, but it’s hard to get there.

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  9. I have been missing out here because I wasn’t subscribed … [some other account, I guess], and I’ve been wondering where you were 🙂

    Schadenfreude is the one, true joy … that’s a saying we have in Swedish LOL

    Academia sure is a different world of its own … a world I don’t know at all, but I can imagine.

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    1. I’m here infrequently but I still am, apparently 🙂 Nice to see you popping in! You’re quite missed. I love your saying. Seriously. I like it when things are said as they are. Please don’t try to imagine academia or you’ll get nightmares. Or a headache at the very least. That’s the effects it has on me.

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      1. When I think about academia, a scene from the film Shadowlands always comes to mind. If you get the chance to watch it … go for it. It’s a lovely [but sad] story.

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        1. I’ll check that one out. I prefer sad stories to those with happy endings. I finished watching Broadchurch, which you recommended, if I’m not mistaken, and I loved it. I also finished The Missing, something similar, and quite good. Now I’m hunting for new series to watch while munching my lunch.

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          1. Yes, Broadchurch was good. We have nothing right now. Last Tango in Halifax was unforgettable.

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          2. I’ve now started watching Homeland, the current series, and I immediately liked it. It’s great to swap watching tips 🙂

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          3. I watched the season finale last Sunday, so now there will be a long wait 🙂

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          4. The Homeland finale was a mess. Poor Quinn.

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          5. Yeah! I haven’t read anything about the next season … whether there will be one, but one would think so!

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          6. I hope so, I think it’s getting better with each season! They can even pull off killing a major character.

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          7. Yeah, I would never have believed they’d come back after they’d killed off Brody … for starters.

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  10. I don’t believe in god either so I am with you on the cosmic justice. Being an overqualified freelancer struggling and failing to earn a living… That shit sounds strangely familiar…
    Maybe you can apply for a job as an academic now that two people were fired?

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    1. Wait, you’re freelancing now too? What do you do, maybe I could use your services? But more likely I couldn’t pay for them, so oops. Those people fired won’t be replaced, there were too many staff to start with, but whatever.

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  11. I love your bitterness, this is basically me M-F 9-5

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! I try to be more funny than bitter but sometimes it’s hard. I guess that’s the way I’m wired, like it or not. I also popped over to your blog and was enjoying it immensely! You have a new fan 🙂

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  12. […] the oil painting filter in Photoshop, plus some other minor adjustments. Thanks for the idea Mara. Original photo: […]

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