Sunday, January 22, 2006

More about alternatives

I wrote a little while ago, that I've begun to consider "alternatives". I recently went to a talk by a PhD in my second field, who has been working as a consultant for several years, and was in part recruiting for her company. I wasn't entirely convinced, but wanted to get more information, so I wrote to her, sending along my CV, a link to my professional webpages, and some other brief information about my background.

Her reply:

First, I'd like to say, "Wow!" You have a most extraordinary background. I would be happy to answer any specific questions you might have about working at [my company], but I think the most important thing to consider for someone with a background as extensive as yours is whether or not you would really be willing to walk away from all of that.

Well, no. "Walk away from all of that"? Who's walking? I'm desperately (I used the word, you see) seeking employment, a meaningful job, where I can use my talents (we all have them, I'm not so special) to accomplish something.

I have little experience with seeking employment. I've been self-employed most of my adult life, hustling for clients and students. And I've been a performer, going from one gig to another audition. I've worked odd jobs, and temp work. It's not that I haven't worked. I've hardly not worked since I was 10 years old with my first paper route. I paid my way through undergrad, and worked part-time while working on my Master's.

It wasn't until 2000, when I started the PhD program that I finally stepped fully into the life of a scholar. Because of a series of fellowships that I applied for and received, I wound up not TAing at all, though I did teach one interdisciplinary course on my own.

I had two years community college teaching prior to that. I have given about 8 conference presentations, including organizing and chairing two panels at international conferences. I have published 5 articles, though admittedly in second-tier journals. I've given invited lectures on my research, and have standing offers for more talks from five institutions in parts of Europe (if I can ever get the funds to head over).

All I need is one job offer, at an institution where I feel I can make a contribution, where I will feel a part of the culture, where I can teach and research, where I respect and admire my colleagues, and they me. Is that too much to ask?

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