“Their Future is Behind Them”

By Thomas Kochman - 11.29.2010

Today’s NY Times article “Why French Scholars Love U.S. Colleges,” brought to mind a conversation that I had many years ago with a French Professor.

We were riding together in a limo going to LaGuardia airport and talked about the research that we were doing –I was also an academic at the time. He said that they have a saying in France, that once a person reaches the status of full Professor their “future is behind them.”

What he meant was that what counts in France and many other class-based societies are a person’s position, title and rank. Those are what confer status and privilege, not achievement, per se.

And once you have those and have  socially “arrived”, further striving stops. Read more »