The historic Julius Caesar was star-crossed; he died one week short of the vernal equinox and one civil war short of full-blown, de jure empire. Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, as the Spin Doctors recognized, was even unluckier: "they killed his ass in the second act."
And now that I have spent a decade and a half in the legal academy, I understand why Cassius, Brutus, and their fellow conspirators felt the urge. With his preference for fat, lazy colleagues, Caesar would have made a lousy dean or appointments committee chair. Like those who loved the Roman Republic, anyone who cares about the real purpose of law school — teaching students statutes and laws and showing them the way in which they must walk and the work that they must do — would also feel the rage. Fall, Caesar!
An academic appointment, in most circumstances, is a promise of lifetime employment. Get it wrong, and you will have an odious colleague for life. Though no evaluative process is perfect, MoneyLaw exhorts its readers to embrace better indicators of productivity and moral character. Past performance is no guarantee of future performance, but it is a better guarantee than anything else, and orders of magnitude better than pedigree.
All that is familiar ground to readers of this forum. I tread upon it again in order to spotlight what I believe is novel turf. As between two would-be colleagues, one who has sweated for pay and another who has always paid for the privilege of sweating, I will choose the veteran of the hourly paycheck. Ceteris paribus, I want colleagues who have had to lift, grind, wait, wash, stock, and/or salute for a living. A history of workplace-related repetitive stress injury is not necessary, but I will treat it as a bonus:
Let me have folks about me who are lean;Or to put it even more coarsely:
Hardworking folk and such as sweat all night:
Yond colleague has a fat and sated look;
He sits too much: such men are despicable.
The fault, dear Julius, lies not in our stars
But in ourselves, that we are lardbottoms
My preference for colleagues who have experienced hard labor, in its most grueling sense, is just that: a preference. Taken to a higher level, however, the instinct underlying this preference informs a more finely tuned and sharply stated principle:In a world where most people go to bed hungry and wake up uncertain that their children will survive them, in a country no longer able to lift its wage workers into the ranks of the bourgeoisie, such jobs as we hold in higher education are privileged beyond description. We are not worthy of such good fortune, but only say the word, and we shall be blessed. Conversely, none is as malignant, and none deserves as thoroughly the collective damnation that the rest of us and any sympathetic deity can muster, as a tenured professor who treats the academy as an entitlement, a personal expense account, a temple to his unearned, undeserved arrogance.
I now make this solemn vow. For all the days that I am privileged to work in legal academia, in whatever position I might hold at any time, I shall devote every fiber of my being to resisting, defeating, and ultimately destroying those who forget that the academy exists not to serve them, but those who pay the tuition and the taxes that sustain our temples of learning. So help me God.