Monday, December 19, 2005

It begins... ho hum

What's this all about? You'd think that after putting in the effort to get a PhD, there'd be something at the end of the tunnel, besides a handshake and a diploma. But mostly what I get is waiting...

Okay, that's a bit whiny. But that's what motivates me to muse out here in public. To get it all out. I think perhaps there are others dealing with this same frustration. Maybe by feeling part of a community we can all lighten our loads a bit.

No one said the PhD was a ticket to the fast lane, or the easy life. But it's exhausting everyday to check the hit count on my professional website, to see that yes, indeed, one or two or three more people have checked out what I do. But the phone still hasn't rung. Not this year in any case.

It's a long haul, and sometimes I wonder if it's all worth it. I finished the diss in March. It took more than three months to gather all the signatures from my committee, just in time to file in June, and graduate. Then, I waited for the job postings to start to appear. A couple early ones over the summer. A gig in New Zealand was the first. Of course, their Fall term begins in February. That remains the only rejection letter I've received so far this season.

Not a peep from anywhere else. It makes you wonder, will I go through yet another job season (this time with the PhD in hand) with nothing? I'm lucky though. My wife can support us. We've got two boys, ages three and one. We're comfortable, but we're not living the high life. But each day that goes by is a struggle with the blues or depression.

Not that I haven't had any interviews. I got three calls last year (while I was still writing the dissertation). One even landed me a campus visit. But no job. Real close. As luck would have it, the job went to a friend of mine. That's always a risk.

For me, with terribly interdisciplinary research, it feels like I'm in the middle of a vast ocean, and I'm not sure which direction to swim. I'm surrounded by possible boats or shores, but which one is the most promising? Until I get a phone call, and an interview, I just won't know. I've applied for jobs in two subdisciplines of my home field, as well for a few jobs in two related disciplines.

But for now... I just sits and waits.

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