Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Beckettesque moment, plus chametz

Subtitled, "I can't do this anymore.  I did it some more."

Out of habit more than hope, I checked the Big Giant Pseudology Association's job board, and saw a newly advertised position at a fancy name-brand school.  Most of my job-hunting energy these days is oriented toward non-academic work of various kinds, so I just don't have the strength to deal with the one-year VAP bullshit anymore.  But this job is multi-year, and is in a nice place, so...

My point is that I dashed off an entire application for it in approximately ten minutes.  And then went back to other, more promising stuff.

In other news, I am deeply relieved that Passover is over, because I ran out of potato vodka on the last night, I'm TIRED of matzo,* and I could make myself breakfast tacos this morning.  I am also happy to be drinking lovely wine this evening, although that has nothing to do here or there with Passover.  Because, you know, wine.

* Did you know that Blogger considers 'matzo' the standard spelling?  I tried typing 'matzah,' and it complained of a spelling error.  Apparently, if Blogger were Jewish, it would be Orthodox.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Everyone knows you're going to live

I have posted this song on this blog once before, when I was getting over some very silly heartbreak.  That's what the song is about, of course.  But I suddenly realized a few days ago that the song is now speaking to me in a new register, in regard to my career drama.  It's unsettlingly on point, given that I have had moments over the last month when I actually felt like I was dying.  And yes, I know that is completely batshit insane.  I don't deny that at all.  But it was a real emotion.

A number of people have likened the academic job market to an emotionally abusive relationship with a partner who refuses to affirm you.  If I'm in the process of (at least temporarily) breaking up with academia, then it's comforting all over again to listen to Spektor sing this song.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Apprenticeship and its discontents

It is hard, so hard to grapple with the reality that I may well never have a long-term job in academia, and that I must perforce look for other work that (also) knocks me down in status to journeyman, if not apprentice.  I don't know if this bothers anyone else in this situation, but it disturbs me.

One of the attractions of professional academia to me was that it maintained, or seemed to maintain, the professional model of apprenticeship in training for master status.  Somehow this model of job training always made more sense to me than the idea of going to a professional program for a few years, sitting in classes, and then boom, you're suddenly a professional who's supposed to know how to perform a job in the real world.  Somehow I managed to overlook the fact that, historically, apprenticeship was often indistinguishable from indentured servitude, but that's neither here nor there now for me.

What is relevant, though, is that I feel either trapped at the journeyman stage as a professor, or forced back into the apprentice stage in any other industry.  Maybe I'll get over this once some likely job openings cross my desk or, lord love a duck, I am offered a job, but my immediate impression on looking for work beyond the ivory tower is that most kinds of employment that a pseudologist can seek require the employee to start with an internship — often literally so.  My gorge rises at the thought of someone demanding that I serve as an unpaid intern* in preparation for a job that may or may not be there at the end of the internship.  I fucking did that for eight goddamn years, motherfuckers.  I'm not a college student living in my parents' house who will work for pure experience.  I can't work for pure experience.  I am an adult and have bills to pay.

I am aware that a lot of my current misery traces to the degree of identity investment I have sunk into academia.  I cannot say for sure how much of my indignation is due to that, and how much to the hard calculations of my ongoing expenses.  I really don't want to be that person who says that he's too good, or too expensive, or too qualified to start at the bottom.  But the reality is that I have bills that I have to pay whether I want to or not, and I need a roof over my head and food to eat.  And along with that, I feel deeply ashamed at the thought that some employers expect me to be grateful for the opportunity to learn something in exchange for unpaid labor.  It's a variety of condescension that I haven't experienced before.  And it hurts.

*Not all jobs require this, and some of them pay their interns reasonably well, but I have already seen some jobs and companies/think tanks/whatever that demand an actual unpaid internship as training, with no guarantee of a job subsequent to that.