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I've been anxious and depressed (depranxious, I like to say) for as long as I can remember. I've learned to externalize the anxiety pretty well––when it gets bad, I just tell myself I drank too much coffee (which is often true, making it easier to believe). That has worked less well––much less well––since I've been on the job market and trying to publish. But it helps. The depression is harder. Medication helped for a while. Lately, much less so.

Mostly, I try to focus on just doing philosophy, and generally learning new things. Which means trying to ignore the sociology of the discipline. (The fact that I check this blog daily should tell you something about how that's going.) But it's hard.

One thing that increasingly drives me crazy, though, that's connected to imposter syndrome, is philosophers making quick and sweeping judgments about other philosophers' ability––often on the basis of astonishingly little evidence. Some of my colleagues will see a visiting speaker give one talk and then, apparently, judge their quality as a philosopher entirely on the basis of that single exchange. And it's almost always extreme: basically, either the person is a genius, or they aren't worth listening to. And if these are the options, it seems pretty clear that I'm not worth listening to. So why do I keep talking? Well, because I have to make a living somehow.

And what makes it all really difficult is that so much hangs on these impressions people have of you and your work. The impression I make on this person this one day might determine whether or not I ever land a TT job. Which, for me, means I withdraw. Which probably I don't get the job.

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