Posted by: thebylog | February 3, 2005

Why A and Not B?

I was sitting in a class the other day and I thought about two professors. Both are PhD’s in roughly the same field. Both teach some of the same types of classes. Neither are believers, that I know of.

But the apparent difference between them is striking.

Professor A comes to class with the beginnings of a smile on his face, and as he lectures, his enthusiasm and passion is palpable. He loves his field, obviously, and he seems very fulfilled and content with the career choice he has made. He talks with feeling about professional conferences (whether good or bad) that he has or will be a part of. He digressed today on a divergent topic “just because” he wanted to (and because someone asked a question about it). He looks at the clock at the end of class and says happily, “I think I can talk about this yet.”

Professor B comes to class with a business-like look on his face, and his lectures, I get the feeling, are more a chore than a joy. Sometimes he looks at the clock and I’ve even heard him ask the class something like, “Does it really seem like only an hour and 5 minutes have passed?” In relating to him, he doesn’t seem caught up in the wonder of his profession, as Professor A does.

So I wonder, what is the difference in these two men? Why does one like what he does and the other not? Is it something intrinsic in them? An attitude about their work? Why has one seemingly found fulfillment (and here I take a huge leap, because this is based only on superficial observation) and the other seems like he has not, at least professionally?


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