I've been up since about 4:00 this morning. One of the cats woke me up at 3:38 (I always look at the clock and remember exactly when I'm awakened, don't know why). I tried to go back to sleep, but tossed for about a half hour.
Decided I had too much on my mind to sleep. I can never sleep when I'm thinking about something I'm working on. I lay in bed with my eyes closed, composing in my head. Not conducive to restfulness. (That's why I never take work to bed to read anymore!) So, I got up, and worked on this cover letter from about 4:30 until 6:00.
I was in a good mood this morning (until I asked my wife to critique the letter, but that's another story). Then son number one tumbled off a chair, splitting his lower lip, and I later discovered his upper gums. I'm taking him back to the dentist in about a half hour to get it stitched up.
So, I'm sitting here just now (the boys are at the park with the au pair for an hour) feeling guilty that I'm not working on translating these articles. But... my energy is low, my mind is wandering. So the guilt sets in.
But I decided that, you know what, I did get things accomplished today. How productive should I expect to be when I got up at 4:00? The job search is draining, emotionally, physically. At least it is for me, and I suspect for others in my field. For most of them ...
I made the mistake of stopping by a young assistant professor's office yesterday in my old department. She was hired in two years ago (ABD at the time). She's nice. The students love her. She asked me about how things are going. What I'm gonna say? The job search sucks. It was awkward, uncomfortable for me, watching her squirm, trying to posture empathy.
She's good. Don't get me wrong. Different specialization from me, but same field. She came from a Ivy League school. I'm guessing she had two or three interviews, and took the best offer. She has no idea what I'm talking about. I'm thinking she's probably never felt rejection in her life.
Does that make me less of a scholar that I struggle to get a job, and she didn't? I don't think so, not most of the time. So what if life is unfair? It does me no good to wallow in it. The better part of me wishes good fortune on most people. It's not fun to be turned away.
... had to run and take the boy to the dentist, more about that later...
Frankly, the first time I ran into trouble was applying to PhD programs. Before then, I had breezed into just about everything. I applied to four schools, and got accepted only to two of them. It was a shock to me. I took it as a challenge though. And I accomplished quite a bit. I finished in five years, in a field with a normative time of seven, and not uncommon to spend 9 years before graduating. But I've been in slow motion ever since.
I guess that's a large part of why I started this blog. My wife sympathizes, but she doesn't really understand what I'm going through. She's in a field (in industry, not academia) where last spring when we decided we couldn't keep coasting off our savings, she made two calls, got two interviews, and two job offers!
As I've discovered, many academics, in fields more in demand than mine, don't experience the same difficulties. As I wrote above, clearly there are many even in my own field who somehow make it through. It's a tough line to hold, believing in oneself, yet accepting that others for whatever reason have an easier path. The trick is to keep believing in oneself.