After the chuckles, here's what he meant: Beef up the academic credentials.
- Publications (preferably in "A" journals).
- I spoke about the Journal of SOD.
- No self-pity, he said, you can't afford it.
- Not self-pity, I said, just wondering if it's the right venue.
- Look, the editors change every couple years. Here's the new editor: write to him and tell him what you've got in mind. I'm sure he'll give you feedback. But only send them your "A" work!
- Get your next project underway.
- Ideally, you will start your next job in the middle of some exciting research, not before it starts or after it's done.
- Get into the pecking order. Figure out what people need, and offer it to them.
- I need you to be a better student of institutions. Right now, you're at the bottom rung, whether you like it or not, whether it's fair or not. People want you to behave "keyed in to your status." You don't have to suppress you. Your an enthusiast, that's fine. You just have to figure out how to climb that ladder. The first step is getting into the pecking order, so someone outside sees you as inside. You don't want to be invisible, like a faculty spouse at a party. The only reason people talk to them (unless you have a personal interest) is because you want to get into the good graces of their spouse. So, talk to the department (and see if you can take on some task that no one wants).