Teaching Qualifications

It really pains me that I have to explain to colleagues why it’s a ridiculous idea to have college professors teach (for credit and in an obligatory way for all students!) things like “stress management” and “financial literacy for college students.” The idea of me lecturing anybody – professionally or for fun – on either of these things is crazy, to say the least.

There is also a subject like “living and studying in a diverse environment.” WTF does this even mean?

Also, how about liability? When professors of Spanish literature (or physics, or history, or anything else besides the actual disciplines that study these subjects) dispense advice on mental health or personal finance in the classroom, how will we defend this practice if somebody follows this advice and gets in trouble?

The only advice I can give on managing stress is find an analyst at $160 per hour, which is not very relevant to our students. And the only advice on personal finance is marry someone who understands money and has it and get your spouse to organize your finances. Which, once again, is quite ridiculous. It worked for me but you know?

Self-branding

On the subject of self-branding by smart individuals:

Emotional support animals require no training. They don’t even have to be dogs. Their purpose is to provide a therapeutic benefit through companionship. At Yale, there are emotional support dogs, emotional support cats and even an emotional support hedgehog.

Oh, I just can’t go through life without the emotional support from my hedgehog! I’m too fragile and wrought for that.

This is what sells, folks. The quirkiness, the knowledge of how to manufacture and flaunt personal peculiarities.

Company Culture and Employer Branding

The concepts of “company culture” and “employer branding are all the rage today. This is a curious feature of the fluid economy where workers are more fluid than employers and it’s the employer’s task to create some rootedness. There are careers being made in teaching employers how to self-brand in an appealing way to retain workers. There are TED talks, conferences, workshops, and companies that specialize in company culture. It’s absolutely fascinating.