Back in the dark ages of my last museum job, publication and writing about our work was the bastion of the PIs and I didn’t quite rank up there. I still got the illustrious job of presenting our work at conference and representing us at other meetings and being one of the few people who is still, to this day, able to recall the findings of the grant research with perfect clarity but still – there was something about having your name on a paper and being able to say “cite me” that was exciting and out of reach.
Fast forward – new job! new me! Same old lack of publications. It’s not that I don’t have the ability to write or that there’s a lack of people out there who have approached me but at the same time I’m often stuck in this wasteland of ‘things I’m invited to write’ versus ‘things I actually want to write’ and the third circle of this Venn Diagram from hell ‘things I’m allowed to write’. Blogs don’t count. What I really wanted was my name on a paper and I know that’s shallow but everyone is doing it now and I felt left out. Also there’s only so far you go in your career with zero publications before people start to wonder “what’s her problem.”
That should also be pointed out as an issue with academia writ large – that we judge people based on their ability to publish and that their quality as a professor/professional is measured in qualitative data like number of papers in x level journal. That doesn’t actually make you GOOD that just means you got lucky. Anyways… I was looking for the right fit and I finally found it.
I was given the chance to write for the Informal Learning Review and was published with my article on the front page. It was kind of a big deal to me and my mom actually has my hard copy at her house in her Cabinet of Oddities (aka with the real nice china that we only pull out for company and special occasions) because it was a huge thing. I think she might be rubbing it in our neighbours’ faces … they probably deserve it.
If you’re jonesing to read it, check it out on over on my work site.
The content matters, obviously, but to me it was about reaching that milestone and saying “I DID IT.” I have a few other things co-authored in the works too and of course there’s the looming dissertation that’s standing over my shoulder and glaring at me typing away on inconsequential verbiage instead of putting in hardcore study time. But that’s for another blog post.