Thursday, July 27, 2006

Everyone believes...

Last week, I heard back from a friend, an assistant professor in [Field 1], who herself spent several years looking for a faculty post before landing one.
Hi, Articulate,
...Sounds like you have been very busy with activities that will place you in a good position for your dream job. It is such a precarious business we're in, but don't lose heart. I'm sure the perfect job is out there (or will be soon). As you probably know, there are so many factors that go into hiring, some over which you have no control and really can't prepare for. Just continue to do your best and send out applications religiously. ...
Wishing you all the best. Greetings to your family.
I wallow too much in self-pity. I've been a poor citizen here in the blogosphere, writing my posts (infrequently) but falling way behind in my reading of others, almost silent in my comments to their travails. I apologize, my friends. In some ways I feel quite selfish, self-indulgent. I tire myself out with all the bad news and disappointment. Of course, I have little control over receiving it.

But, why do I continue here at all? Why do I post these things, many so personal? In part, it is because I can't believe I am alone in this. To my mind, I suffer unnecessarily. My talents are wasted in surreptitiously applying for jobs. If my dream job is out there, it is not for me alone. Neither am I the only one worthy of such a dream job, nor would I waste the opportunity to accomplish good with it.

Ah, but what does that mean? There are so many ways to accomplish good in this life, so many ways to practice tikkun olam. Indeed, there is great suffering in the world today. Should I go into politics? (I tried that: for four years 12, 14, 18 hours a day; when I was 17 until I was 21.) Could I go back to what I was before? (You can never go back.)

No! I must go forward, in whatever way that means. I know it's time for a fresh start, a new way of doing things, a renewed energy. Does that mean I will leave this all behind? No. This work, these dreams are a part of me. I will still apply for faculty and post-doc jobs. But I can not let it rule me so much. Soon, soon enough we will get the offer from Rocket Central, and we can see what that will mean for us, whether they can help land me a position at the university, research, adjunct, admin. We shall see.

Mostly, I need to forge ahead, look with horse-blinders at the road in front of me. Everyone who got where they are, started where they were. Strive for excellence in all things that you do. I look to my sons, and see their wonder, their trust, their curiosity. I wish to give them a world where these things are rewarded. I must believe in that world.


Lilian said...

You're perfectly right - you are not alone, and when you express your feelings about your struggles in academia, you're voicing the concerns of many of us, or, at least my own. So, please keep on blogging, I truly enjoy reading your musings!

ArticulateDad said...

Thanks, Lilian, for the validation. And, you can count on me being here for a while. As you may have noticed... I've got nowhere else to be. ;)