My name is Daniele De Santis, and I work in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies (Úfar), at Charles University. I mostly work on late 19th and early 20th century German philosophy, with special a focus on the phenomenological tradition (theory of knowledge and metaphysics, broadly construed). But I sometimes also allow myself (reckless) incursions into Greek philosophy (mostly, Plato and Aristotle).
My story (what am I doing in the Czech Republic?).
I joined Charles University at the end of 2017, and I have been teaching and doing research since then. I applied almost by chance to a job advertisement, mostly driven by the desire and the curiosity to live and work in Prague (where indeed I have been living for the past 5 years). Since my first arrival, I did my best to become a full member of my department, doing research, publishing, and teaching to the best of my skills and abilities. Among my small yet still meritorious achievements, I have managed to decipher some of the secrets of the Czech language to learn how to speak, read, understand, and be understood.
Are the salary conditions at the university decent and sufficient?
They are far from being decent, let alone sufficient – by both national and international standards. As a foreigner, I have no family network in the Czech Republic which means, among other things, that I do not own a house and by definition cannot inherit one. And it is basically impossible with our salary to try to buy a house or an apartment. If upon my arrival the situation was difficult but still manageable, over the last two/three years it has become literarily intolerable.
Is my career at risk?
It is our very profession to be at risk – not just my career or someone else’s. Because given the intolerable material conditions under which we work, one must expect that in the long run no one will want to do this job anymore. Who will still want to work 40 hours a week (actually more, since research and publication schedules know no breaks or weekends) for a paltry pay? Actually, this is what is already happening in the Czech Republic.
Have I ever considered changing my place of work?
Yes, but not in the sense of leaving my place of work. Rather, in the sense of changing its material conditions.