Friday, October 14, 2005

job market angst

Before I launch in, I want to register dissatisfaction with Blogger. Why name each post? I like the idea better of a daily log. Now I always feel I have to be "on point."

Anyway--the angst.
I don't want to have it. I went on the job market last year with some success but I hated the rigormorale--the mock interviews and the angst of my friends, amplifying my own, and the desire for external approval, and the fear that I might actually get a job and have to do something about it.
This year, although I thought because I'd suffered it last year, I'd feel old hat about this, is worse. Nearly all my friends are going on the market. Competition and friendship bite. And nothing else is new this year--I have no book. I have a few more publications, thankfully in Nonfiction, but so do my friends.
The truth is, my ambitious streak, at least in terms of professionships, is kind of thin. I always wanted the job that supported my writing. Somehow, I think I misunderstood the likeliness of this happening. With the market such as it is, I'd be lucky to teach 3 classes a semester. Which is one more than I'm teaching now, plus service, plus administrative work.
Full time. The thing I'd spent my life avoiding.
The truth is: I want to write. But. I want to write in a community/atmosphere that supports/appreciates writing. Hence the teaching idea. In retrospect, maybe I didn't commit myself properly to the professorship project. Publications and Editorship are not enough. I think I needed a bit more work on--well, what? Scholarship? Academic papers? Talking with my professors about Donne? Fellowships? Teaching more diverse classes?
I fear it's my nature to care more about liking my days rather than shaping them to advance my prospects. But, if I suffer for that lack, am I actually liking them?
Ah, the suffering is short, the days of wine and song are long.....
OK. I'm off to drink some wine and forget about how I screwed up my career.
If I did.
Maybe my real career is something else.
Or maybe this is where everyone's at.
But.

6 comments:

Trista said...

Hey, I don't know if you've been to the blog Peter's Cross Station yet (there's a link on my site) but she has some interesting posts on academia and job searches that you might find interesting. I think It's called "Whither have my political ambitions gone?" or something like that.

Just because you have a title doesn't mean it has to apply...

Dr. Write said...

Oh, the job market! I told Tuttle he was lucky he doesn't drink because last year almost turned me into an alcoholic. The problem is there is (probably) a problem with almost every job (too many classes, wrong location, teaching theory? just kidding!). But I agree, in some sense the fact that I like everyone who is on the market makes it worse. But better them than someone from, I don't know, Missouri. But then what if they get the job I really wanted? Do I have to hate them?
I think I have sacrificed my ambition to my laziness. I like to work, but I also like to watch "Sex and the City" and drink wine. Can I get paid for that?

Nik said...

Thanks, both of you. I did check out Peter's Cross (ironic, the cross. Peter...) and I took some great comfort in imagining not doing this. On the other hand, Erik was called out at 2 a.m. Perhaps I should get a job so he can sleep through the night once in awhile.
But Lynn, you have done it.
And to great success--
Both of you seem in an ideal space--everything seems perfect to me from here--not moving, being home with child a lot, have lots of friends...
Perhaps all the not-knowing is what kills me.
I do feel generally better today. I just can't quite stop being ambivalent.
Plus, I too want to drink wine and watch Sex and the City.
I think I will. Perhaps the school that interviews me will want me to teach a class on said show. And how to drink wine and still manage a Phd.

middlebrow said...

We want you to stay. We'll provide the supportive atmosphere. Of course, we also want you to be happy and successful--and rich, oh yes rich and famous!

Sleepy E said...

I envy you academics and your four-month summer vacations, endless winter breaks, literary cliquishness, and infinite campus privileges. I know you guys do perform work now and again but from my POV it seems like a regular Bonanza of Free Time! Definitely stay in this world. This is very good arrangement indeed.

Nik said...

Oh my. Greener grass everywhere. I for one wish I was in Georgia, hanging out with the folks from Deliverance. Just a minute ago I was asking myself "will I still have lots of free time, even as a professor?" And then I was asking myself, "I want something interesting to heppen today. Even someting bad." I fear that free time and interesting things may be mutually exclusive. Free time, at least in my world, is usually eaten up by reading blogs and watching Flip This House.