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« Praetorian Politics and Democratic Uprisings in the Middle East | Main | A Stoic Exemplum of Self-Examination »

06/22/2012

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Steve Shiffrin

Terrific post, Patrick

Patrick S. O'Donnell

Thanks Steve!

Michael Duff

Well as a blue collar graduate of Harvard and a now-tenured law professor and academic support director, I would want to start with a frank acknowledgment of class. That is, let's stop pretending that the average working class undergraduate student has sufficient shared knowledge with undergraduate students of privilege to be able to thrive without reasonable post admission support (emotional, spiritual, and financial).

Patrick S. O'Donnell

Thank you Michael. I hope we all can readily assent to such acknowledgment.

Having spent most of my adult life in working class jobs: truck driver (the first time, delivering office furniture, and later for a recycling center back in the days when recycling was a far more labor-intensive operation than it is today: we used to run down the streets picking up bags of newspapers and throwing them on the run into the back of trucks, only to later strap them onto pallets stacked eight feet high!), sign shop laborer, dishwasher, security guard, amusement park food service and ride operator, forest service worker, including time on a fire crew (where I met my future wife over 33 years ago!), resident apartment manager (for a little money off the rent), landscape laborer, medical lab services driver, construction laborer, and finish carpenter (among other jobs), before coming back to the academic world in my mid-40s, and only then as a part-time instructor at a community college (where I am today). I therefore identify much more with the non-academic world than the academic one, although I prefer the latter because it affords me more time to read and write and, thus far at least, has only been hard on my eyes!

Michael Duff

Patrick - This former hamburger flipper, midnight shift janitor, O S & D freight clerk, and US Air ramp agent/Teamster shop steward - thence to law school in my early 30s following a union decertification drive - is very pleased to meet you. (I assume you've read it but in the off chance you haven't I highly recommend Alfred Lubrano's "Limbo"). By the way, my labor law class is just a little different than the standard version, as you might imagine.

Patrick S. O'Donnell

Michael,

I'm pleased to meet you as well. And, no, I have not read Lubrano's Limbo, but surely will now: I'm grateful for the recommendation. Although he is sometimes a bit too apocalyptic for my tastes, this immediately called to mind the early writing of Mike Davis, who likewise had a nonstandard "career" trajectory.

Your work background makes you ideally suited to teach labor law, I envy your students! Best wishes, Patrick

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