Fish jumps over the dragon gate: an eastern image of a western scholar’s career trajectory
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© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This autobiographical narrative inquiry uses an ascribed, stock Chinese metaphor to make sense of my career trajectory. My thinking with the metaphor reaches back to my childhood, follows how various metaphorical images surfaced longitudinally in my research program, and characterizes the increasing incommensurability between my local work landscape and my growing international reputation. Foundational to my stories of experience are the narrative concepts of sacred stories, secret stories, cover stories, and counter stories. When I received a major international research award in 2015, my career reached a crossroads where I knew I either would have to quit the profession or find employment elsewhere. I could no longer remain healthy in an environment profoundly unhealthy for me. This research story captures my journey of confronting and transcending the dragon gate. It illuminates how I freed myself of one institution’s challenges, while making peace with, and becoming part of, a more hospitable university environment. This narrative research study makes public how a myriad of stories has shaped and re-shaped my academic career over time.
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