~~ Can't see images, or are you trying to read this in Gmail? Click Here ~~
Delivery date: %$today$%
Ten Ways to Grow a Backbone
"Oh, good," I said to myself, "Here are some of the books I ordered. I hope these are the ones about dealing with back pain." The first book on the pile in the box was How to Grow a Backbone, by Susan Marshall. I did a double take, and then I realized it was a book I had ordered based on Meggin McIntosh's suggestion during her presentation "Antioxidants for Toxic Academic Work Environments" (recording still available).
In How to Grow a Backbone, Susan Marshall tells us why we need a strong backbone to thrive in the work world and what steps we need to take in order to develop one. Although her book is tailored to the business world, it easily translates into the academic environment.
What follows is some of what I liked best from this book, organized and summarized in a way that I hope is helpful to graduate students, post docs and professors. I highly recommend that you read it for yourself. I started reading it to help my readers, but I ended up benefiting from it in surprising ways. (Believe me, you need a backbone to be able to keep your head up in the world of Internet business.)
What is Backbone?
Marshall defines backbone as "firm and resolute character" (p.10). In action, she says, it might look and feel like courage. The word "integrity" also describes someone with strong backbone. My belief is that everyone can grow a backbone, and that academia is a perfect place for you to learn how.
How Much of a Backbone Do You Have?
This might sound like a harsh question, but it's an important one. Here are some questions that I've come up with that you can ask yourself in order to find out if you are backbone-deficient.
What Are the Advantages of Growing More Backbone?
People who act with integrity feel more in control of their environment. Feeling this way is an important component of a sense of well-being. When what you do is in line with what you believe, your self-esteem is higher. Although you are taking more risks, you will paradoxically feel less fear and anxiety in the long run. When you feel in control of your environment, you will be less likely to experience a sense of hopelessness, helplessness and depression. This in turn will make it easier for you to take on challenges.
The Three Components of Backbone
According to Marshall there are three components of backbone: competence, the ability to take purposeful risks, and confidence. Each component interacts with the other.
How Do You Grow More Backbone? Ten Steps You Can Take
Click here to read the rest of this article >>>
© Gina Hiatt, PhD.
Ready to finish your dissertation? Coaching can help you complete it more quickly with less pain. Write Gina about individual or group coaching.
Overwhelmed with the responsibilities of being a junior professor, or worried about getting tenured? Write Gina about individual coaching or her writing/time management groups.
Stay tuned to this newsletter, which will give you hints, reminders and practical suggestions for staying on track and creating the career you deserve. And check out the writing/time management groups on our website!
Take an online assessment
Would you like to assess your progress on your dissertation or on the climb to tenure? Check out the assessments on the website.
What is the Academic Writing Club?
What is Tenure Coaching?
What is Dissertation Coaching?
Like our Newsletter?
Forward it to a colleague or friend in need. Maybe one of our hints, essays and reminders will help them out of a slump, give them a boost, jolt them into action or make their day. They can sign up at the website
AcademicLadder.com is read by people from all over the world, including Denmark, Romania, Great Britain, Australia, Japan, Spain, Germany, Italy, Spain, South Africa, India, Singapore, Luxembourg, Israel, China, New Zealand, Canada, and Indonesia.
The Academic Ladder
Would you rather read this online?
Another dissertation acknowledges the Writing Club!
Lisa Del Torto wrote the following in the acknowledgment section of her dissertation. She successfully defended her dissertation and received her Ph.D. in Linguistics at the University of Michigan in August, 2008.
"The Academic Ladder Writing Club was a saving grace during most of the year it took me to write this manuscript. The encouragement and accountability provided by coaches Gina Hiatt, Jayne London, and Martha Bari, and my writing club partners pushed me to write this dissertation one word at a time."
In giving her permission for me to publish this, Lisa wrote, "It is no secret to anyone who knows me that Academic Ladder was a HUGE positive influence in my dissertation process."
Quote of the Month
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's
TA-DA is an interactive CD resource guide that gives you a complete roadmap to plan, prepare and finish your dissertation in less time. It guides you through obstacles step-by-step, including valuable tips for new ABD's. Get it here.
Book of the Month
How to Grow a Backbone: 10 Strategies for Gaining
Power and Influence at Work,
Get it and read it. Enough said.
Are you on an academic listserv?
If you feel that this article was helpful to you, why
not let your listserv know? Just pass along the link to this newsletter:
I really appreciate your support – we grow and will be able to bring you more of these offerings by your passing on the news about Academic Ladder.
Friend me on Facebook!
The University List is Growing!
Is your university on this list yet?
Wondering who signs up for the Academic Writing Club? You may be surprised at the length and scope of the list of universities represented by our members. http://www.academicwritingclub.com
Blog Post of the Month
Workplace Bullying and Mobbing in Academe: The Hell of Heaven? A short piece on why this kind of behavior may be more common in academia. Also a good list of references, including me!
These telephone coaching groups are ongoing or forming.
• Humanities ABD
Interested in finding out more about our ongoing groups? Contact Jayne London at Jayne@AcademicLadder.com
Your Subscription Details
To change your email address OR remove yourself instantly and automatically from this newsletter subscription, use the links at the bottom of this page. This ezine was sent to %$name$% at %$email$% by request.
The Academic Ladder is published by
Gina J. Hiatt, Ph.D.,
2008 Gina J. Hiatt, Ph.D. All rights reserved
*From a quote on p. 110 of the Nov. 3, 2008 issue of the New Yorker, in a book review by Dan Chiasson, of Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence Between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, by Thomas Travisan with Saskia Hamilton (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)