Thursday, March 22, 2012

An up note?

Go figure: after giving what I thought was an uneven telephone interview not long ago, I've been invited to a campus visit by another university.  This would be the first time that I've received such an invitation during this current job cycle.  I gotta say, I sure hope I don't fuck this up.

Oh academia, you make my head spin.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Music as emotional gloss

Yeah, it's another one of those unbloggable times.

On the plus side, I just discovered this guy, Bhi Bhiman, tonight.  Why isn't this dude a big star already?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Identity issues over spring break

I've been doing my best to enjoy my spring break this week, chiefly eating too much, drinking a little too much, and sleeping until I wake up, rather than with an alarm clock.  (The last aspect is surely the sweetest!)  Even with beautiful weather and the occasional night out with friends, it's hard to feel too comfortable.  As a number of my colleagues have reminded me lately, this is just a shitty time of year for an academic on the job market.  Tons of rejections come rolling in, almost no good news comes in, and the season tends to bring an extra-heavy dose of anxiety and self-doubt.  For someone like me, who has wanted to be a professional academic for almost twenty years now, it's hard to confront the possibility that no job at all is in the offing for this year...or maybe ever.

Earlier this week, Haphazard Musings posted her conclusion that it may be time for her to leave the academic job market and look for some other career, if she doesn't land anything this cycle.  I didn't even comment on her blog about it, due to the existential horror the idea inspired in me.  I've been thinking about it a good bit, though, and I can certainly understand her analysis of the situation.  It's always hard to figure out where I stand on such matters, since I'm torn between my instinct to support a friend's decision ("follow your heart!") and my instinct to offer encouragement on a tough path ("stick with it, things will turn around!"). 

It's also hard to figure out where I stand in my own situation, since I'm essentially in the same boat as Hap.  Well, not precisely: she and I graduated at the same time, but we have done slightly different post-doc gigs, and there are also some big disciplinary differences between pseudology and culinary psychology.  Speaking only for myself, I feel like I cannot yet walk away from academia in good conscience, even if I don't get a job for next year at one university or another.  If all goes well (fingers crossed!) with the book manuscript, I'll be able to approach next year's job cycle with a contract to my name, and also won't have to run after my old supervisor quite so hard to get hir to cough up a letter of reference.  The lack of both those things hurt me in this year's cycle, I'm pretty sure.  If I can line up both contract and supervisor letter for the fall, then I'll feel girded for battle.

Of course, that raises the question of what I will do if I'm still academically unemployed in a year from now.  I have a hard time admitting to myself that I might have to find a different kind of job altogether, since so much of my identity is wrapped up in being a scholar and teacher.  It's deeply demoralizing to me to contemplate not being a professor somewhere.  But of course, I would need to find something: I have no safety net.  My savings are trivial, I have no significant other who could support me through a rough patch of job hunting, and with the sky falling on my family back in Hometown, there's no one else who could take me in.  I'm on my own.

So, since I can't pay my rent or my grocery bill with self-satisfaction, I'm branching out in my job search.  I'm still trying to land an academic gig, but I'm extending my hunt into the non-academic realm.  The downside of this is that there isn't even a proper Starbucks in Ghosttown, so my erstwhile job of last resort from back in my diss-writing days isn't a practical option.  The upside is that, now that I have my doctorate and am relatively mobile, I might have a chance at landing a job in the world's most lucrative swamp.  I don't exactly relish the idea, but it's a damn sight better than sitting around in miserable poverty and bemoaning the fact that I didn't get hired by a university.  Good thing I still own a suit.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Needs more drunk accordionist

I went out last night and had a few drinks to celebrate sending out my manuscript, like Sisyphus suggested.  I had plenty (plenty!) to eat, and I drank pints of water too, so I'm not wrecked today.  I'm not feeling quite my physical best, but I've certainly had worse hangovers.

Usually, a hangover comes with a certain amount of regret and self-loathing — a fact which, as it appears, has some biochemical basis to it far beyond my idiosyncratic perceptions.  Today, though, I'm still so relieved to have that manuscript off my to-do list for the moment that I'm smiling through the mild fuzziness in my head.  I even wore a purple shirt today, because it's awesome and I feel like communicating awesomeness.

Don't you think everyone should?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Manuscript is in the mail

I mailed my book manuscript today to the editor who's been expressing interest.  I think it could stand to be another 5000 words longer, but it's close enough – check out that word count meter, people! – that I decided it was better to mail it on deadline than to hem and haw for another few weeks while fine-tuning the shorter chapters.  Surely it would not be a good precedent to set for myself by dawdling on deadlines when the editor (...and outside readers?) understand that things will need to be tweaked anyway.

I hope they like it.  :O

P.S. to Dr. Crazy: You and I totally need to hit some concerts together.  I'm in for half the gas money.  :D