“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion,” Simon Sinek.
On the face of it, these words would and perhaps should resonate. But upon further reflection, we must interrogate a few of the ideas located in this statement. If you are like me, you were told to work hard and be the best at whatever you aspire to do – the money will find its way to you.
Mountain Top to Mountain Top
For some people, financial success has come to them easily. They may have struggled with personal relationships or with health challenges, but their careers appear to move from mountain top to mountain top. There are those among us who have never been an “independent scholar” or an “itinerate preacher.”
We admire those who appear not to have mortgaged their futures to get their doctorates. I know academics who managed to avoid student loans by living with family during their doctoral work. I also know academics who, upon completion of their last doctoral exercise, had their doctoral committee members on their respective phones, ensuring the newly minted “Dr.” someone would be interviewed and ultimately hired.
Mountain top to mountain top.
But, this hasn’t been the case for us all.
Throwing Shade in the Valley
Perhaps you have been surviving on the “margins” of academia or parish ministry. Maybe you have had to work a full-time job and then do your “activist work like an unpaid side hustle. If so, it feels like you are moving from valley to valley. When you are in the valley, there are always shadows being cast upon you from one direction or another. There’s a lot of shade throwing. In fact, you may be the one throwing shade in your own direction as it seems that you are always looking up at the success of others.
Belief in mountain top goals can be exhausting! What happens when the valley itself presents you with challenges, obstacles, and difficulties which drain all your strength? Is “passion” enough?
When is the Passion Enough?
How many Black women are passionate about ministry and work themselves into an early grave? How many Black women are passionate academics who persistently do not even get shortlisted for interviews because “the competition was so tough,” as if it is ever anything else?
When are we going to challenge the fact that we can work extremely hard for our passions and still sacrifice our health, our well-being and our lives because people who do not look like us are power brokers? If your passion has become a source of untenable stress, take heart! You are not alone.
Taking Your Power Back
Alice Walker said, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” There is power on the margins! Together, we will reclaim that power on the margins as we open the gates!
One of the ways we can do this is to become fully employed in different ways within the Academy. Our strategic goal setting will identify gaps that we can fill and specifics that we will embrace to ensure greater inclusion within our vocational calls.
Join us on March 14th, 6-7:30 pm, BST to discuss our options for mentorship. We are also looking at the three pillars of accountability we have: teaching, grant capture and publication. Our goal is to strengthen the Together, we will take our power back!
CL Nash, PhD, for The Misogynoir to Mishpat Research Network © 2023
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