Monday, November 21, 2011

Big Giant Catch-up

Please insert your prophylactic superstition of choice here, because I don't want to jinx the fact that I feel like I kicked ass, for the most part, at my interviews at the Big Giant Pseudology Conference.  I had prelims for four different tenure-track positions, and two contract jobs.  I feel that I acquitted myself very well at all the t-t interviews, as well as at one of the contract jobs.  There were little things here and there, but really, with the five interviews that went well, my only doubts are essentially about the level of my rapport with the interviewers.  There were moments at three of them when I worried that my "I am so awesome and cool" hypnosis was weakening, but the two others went just beautifully, and I'm really hopeful that I will hear encouraging news from those two soon. 

The sixth interview...well, it was the classic bad interview scenario in which the interviewer couldn't shut up about hirself.  I was astonished to see this: usually, it's the interviewee under scrutiny who screws things up by getting nervous and droning on and on.  But here, the interviewer, who basically has nothing at all to lose no matter what happens, seemed bent on ruining the possibility of determining my potential usefulness by talking about hirself constantly.  Zi went so far as to cut me off when I was beginning to answer hir question about being in Research Country earlier this year to tell me at ungodly length about the fun zi had as a tourist in RC ten years ago.  Srsly?  Why have an interview at all?

Anyway, that crappy interview was for, by a long shot, the worst position that seems interested in me thus far.  I have absolutely zero desire to lose a year of my life to the sinkhole in which the institution resides, and even less desire to take on a high teaching load for a one-year position that cannot under any circumstances be extended.  Now that I think about it, I also would be perfectly happy never to encounter that interviewer again, either.

But enough about the low note.  I did well (I think, I hope) at five interviews, four of them t-t positions!  And I gave the worst conference talk of my career thus far, I admit.  But hey, I told you all last week that I would — no surprise there.  I took it on the chin for that from a friend and colleague of mine during the Q&A, but that's what happens when you try to be hip and timely.  (And, to be generous to myself for a moment, that's what happens when you have to submit a conference abstract when you're living in evacuation from world-changing events in your own field site, and you can't really bring yourself to think about business as usual.) 

Plus, I had the chance to sit down and meet with my potential book editor.  I feel really good about where this book project is going, after feeling out what the editor would like to see.  In a sharp distinction from my admittedly crappy talk, my (potential) editor clearly wants to see well-theorized and carefully crafted work, even if it takes a little while.  I can gladly do that.  Now I need to channel that good will into a fresh burst of writing.

Finally, I had the chance to see some dear old friends again, whom I never get to see otherwise.  This is rapidly becoming my favorite part of the Big Giant Pseudology Conference, which had heretofore felt like an albatross around my scholarly neck.  Now that most of my closest friends from grad school and I have graduated and moved on to positions in far-flung locales, we really can't see each other except at BGPC.  It's just wonderful to see them again, and catch up on the personal news, and see how they mostly look just like I remember, except for the stray gray hair or post-pregnancy pound.  The best moments at BGPC are almost inevitably the ones that happen with old friends over dinner or drinks.

And, once my head clears tomorrow from the tequila I'm drinking now, I need to start preparing my talk for the next conference I'm going to, the Major Area Studies Conference.  MASC isn't nearly as crucial to my career in most ways as is BGPC, but in my recollection, it's more fun — when you don't have as much riding on your personal interactions at a conference, it gives you more room to relax and enjoy yourself.  The hotel bar at MASC, last time I attended, was a crazy place in the evening.  Guess I'd better script that talk, so I can earn my drunken bonhomie at MASC.


  1. Totally fantastic about the interviews! And it seems as if there might have been a dodged bullet with the weird, un-useful interview. Too bad about the paper, but at least it didn't ruin the conference for you. (My office is on the psuedology floor of my building, so I heard a lot of snark today--it sounded like the art museum got better reviews than the conference.)

    You will be at MASC! As will I! We should connect. AND, I will be unencumbered with wife&kid, so I will get to experience the bar. My talk is a shambles, as I'm constructing it, literally, out of Facebook statuses that I've been screencapping. I think theory has gotten ahead of data here...

  2. I don't know nothin' about no art museum, but the culinary offerings in Conference City were lovely. My evening meals with colleagues easily beat out anything that I could have attended in a session, for both fun and substantive conversation.

    So you are going to MASC! I searched for your name months ago, but only today do I realize that I had searched on the wrong name. Indeed, we should connect. This would be my very first meat-world interaction with another blogger in the States — Shedding Khawatir and I, as you recall, ended up meeting in the field. I'm looking forward to seeing a PowerPoint presentation composed of nothing but frantically saved FB screencaps. :D

  3. Glad to hear that the interviews went well for the most part. No worries about the paper - unless people who interviewed you came to the paper and left the panel looking disconcerted. That would be a bit different, and I'm guessing you'd be upset about that if it were the case.

    Anywho... Also good news about the book project. We're rooting for you, Dr. K!

  4. Hot damn! Keep us posted as the offers for campus interviews come in (as they surely will).

  5. Interviews, book projects--dang, Dr. K. You are ROCKING this semester. Woohoo!