Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Sometimes distraction is good

Lately, I've been consumed by my efforts to create a Personal Research Website (PRW). This morning, I received the following email:

Dear Dr _____________

The Appointments Committee was pleased to receive your application, and read it with interest. I am sorry to have to tell you, however, that the Committee has decided not to take this application further.

Thank you very much for your interest in our post. The Committee has asked me to wish you well in finding a suitable position in the future.

Best wishes,


At least they were quick. The closing deadline was less than a month ago. Of course, maybe that's a bad sign, that I was dropped at the first cut. At a certain point you get used to it I guess. I'm not sure I've reached that point yet. I don't really want to become an expert on how not to get an academic job. It's, uh... not really the expertise I'm seeking.

But, distraction can be good. I've been putting in hours and hours developing the content, organization, and appearance of my PRW. In a sense it's my way of telling (myself and) the world that I really do have a job. This is my career. I'm building it, one step at a time. I can't allow myself to be bogged down by the misery of rejection letters, of failing so far to land myself a faculty post somewhere.

I didn't allow myself to be guided in my doctoral studies by what had been done before. To be honest, I really can't understand a PhD that is. Perhaps this present difficulty I'm having in landing a job is the consequences of those choices. But my work couldn't really be all that bizarre, unfathomable, and worthless. They did grant me a PhD. That ought to say something.

I suppose a cynic out there might contest this conclusion. Perhaps indeed there are many unworthy PhDs granted every year. If that's the case, I simply don't believe mine is one of them.

I'm quite convinced that my own little niche is not quite as small as one might suppose. This PRW is intended to allow me a means for organizing my thoughts and research. Hypertext allows a multidimensional organization that seems perfectly suitable for interdisciplinary work. But this website is also intended to give a public face to the field, to convince others that it is real, and the ways in which it is useful.

Wish me luck in staying distracted by my work!

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