Monday, April 17, 2006

Atlas shrugging

I feel the earth shaking a bit. I wonder. The house may sell, at a price that doesn't exactly make me smile... but sold, and done with is better than the alternative. This should be a relief, in some ways it is... but I'm not quite happy with the results.

I'm miserable, miserable feeling useless. Sitting on the sidelines. I'm tired, very tired of struggling for a job that like selling the house, I'm no longer certain will make me happy to receive.

I got an emailed rejection letter this afternoon. They hired an associate professor from another school. What am I competing against? And toward what end?

This afternoon we went to a party a couple blocks from the Boston Marathon route. We watched bits of it. The first group were wheelchair racers. I heard the cheering and shouting. From a distance I didn't think I'd take part... but watching people struggle, hold in mind a goal, work towards it, I cheered, I applauded, I felt like crying.

Yes, they deserved approbation, so I gave it, freely. Goals. Striving. Where is meaning, purpose? What's the point of this struggle anyway? The PhD... it's done. What's it mean? My mother has a friend who's been an adjunct for what 30 years? Adjunct at top schools too. She says I need to market myself as a [Field 1/subfielder], that I should try to fit in, present myself like the rest of the crowd.

First off, I can't... I won't. I don't blend. It's not in my nature. Does that make me uncollegial? I can't tell. Would it make me untenurable? I don't know. I'm just tired now... very tired.

There's a part of me, one that is growing today, that says, chuck it all.... Maybe I'll talk to some venture capitalists and see if I can get some ideas off the ground. Make me Director of Research & Development, give me a salary, and research funds, and I'll turn it into cash. I don't know how... but I've got ideas. I'm good with ideas. Follow through. That's harder... but not impossible. I did finish the dissertation, my dissertation. And I did it in quick time. Five years. That wasn't too bad.

Well, that's how I'm feeling today. As my grandmother used to say: tell me about it in a week... if you remember. Keep checking. We'll see if I remember.


BrightStar said...

At times when I feel like this, this is when I wish I still had my hamster. Petting a soft fuzzy guy like him calmed me.

Articulate Dad, I'm glad to hear that there is movement on the house sale situation. I am constantly hoping for positive things for you on the professional front.

Pulling for you,

Prof. Me said...

Are we ALL having crummy days today? Sheesh -- me, you, ABDMom, PhDme isn't feeling well... something must be going around. We've got the blogosphere blues, I suppose.

This feeling will pass, you know it. And something wonderful is on the horizon. You must keep believing that, because it's true.

Lilian said...

Wow, that was interesting. No, actually, very familiar because it sounded a lot like the questions I asked myself last week - only you do have the Ph.D. already and I don't. See... we do have concrete reasons to become discouraged, don't we?

I can totally identify with your unwillingness to blend in, to "present [yourself] like the rest of the crowd."

I'll be checking back, hopefully things will change in about a week. (For me they didn't, really, I'm sorry to say that).