I’ll be the first to admit that I placed a premium on my own email signature, likely more so than anybody else who happened to see mine. And when I trace its importance, I recognize that it stemmed from a mixture of jealousy, panic, and the greater chicanery of productivity. I did a lot, yes, but I also made it seem like I did a lot, and now that my affiliations are about to change, I’m trying to critically reflect on how something as throwaway as an email signature participates in these quiet regimes of competitiveness.
I had a steep learning curve when I started my doctorate. Back then, it wasn’t just a case of imposter syndrome. It was a lack of theoretical training. So I did what any desperate student does in course-based panic: I Googled, Wikipedia-ed, and YouTubed my way through other people’s content until I had an “ish” understanding of these theorists and their ideas.
My biggest mistake? Not sharing my learning with others, especially since my experience is not unique.
Chefs and academics act as communicators. Both are content-producers, influencers, and experts of a particular field who transform things into digestible, meaningful forms. And, from my view, there are uncanny parallels between kitchens and universities: they cordon people off by specialization and organize themselves according to hierarchies of power.