chapter
13 Pages

Introduction

As I (Susan) pass through my living room where the television is on for the day’s weather forecast, I hear for the umpteenth time the commercial for Olympia Career Training Institute: A bank teller asks her customer, who is making a deposit, “And did you win the lottery?” Customer replies, “No, but I got a really great job” (after graduating from OCTI). I get my coffee and return minutes later. It’s on again, but this time the happy OCTI student peeps, “Four years of college is not for everyone-especially not me. I needed a REAL career, and I needed it fast!” The emphasis on the word real seems to imply something negative about the careers that result from traditional nonprofit, fouryear college educations. “Maybe that’s what’s wrong with me”, I mutter, “I need a REAL career.” Later, at the university where I work, I attend meetings about new kinds of “outreach” that are clearly entrepreneurial, hear complaints about a part-time faculty member in a new regional center program, and listen to arguments about theory versus practice. There are discussions about the “dumbing down” of teacher education classes and American Association of University Professors (AAUP) contract negotiation issues. There are discussions with colleagues jealous over promotions, publications, and privileges. I work behind a computer in my tiny (but larger than most others on the floor) office in a run-down 1960s building that has been scheduled for renovation for the past ten years but has once again been placed on a back burner.