Monday, July 24, 2006

On the edge, on the cusp

My life is constituted by waiting, and the times in between.

I've been away, as I explained, spending a week being Dr. Dad full time. It wasn't as hard as I had expected. Quite pleasant mostly. But then, I knew my full-time duties would end after a week. Having a time frame (for anything!) helps. Now, I'm back, in a sorts, trying to pull my life together, and to catch up on all my bloggy friends. No surprises from Ianqui recounting the news that many bloggers blog about their life struggles, rather than as an outlet for their reportorial dreams. (Shock!) So, here's some more from me.

The Rocket Scientist and I spent a good part of the last several days, talking through all the possibilities in our lives. It's really good having a partner, a real partner in life. What we've both realized is our principal goal at the moment is to find a place where we can both pursue our professional lives, where we can settle, at least for 3-5 years.

Paradise seems in ways for both of us a dead-end. The atmosphere on campus is for me a bit poisoned. My lunch with Dean Michael Horowitz went well. Nice to have someone in his position find me worthy of taking lunch with, of talking to, of encouraging. He closed the lunch with the request that ten or fifteen years from now, I take him out to lunch to tell him all my successes. He made it clear that he has always found me someone who thinks "outside the intellectual box," with a great breadth of interests. It was nice to hear.

From his take, it sounds like I'm doing all the right things, pursuing the appropriate avenues. He did see me moving more toward [field 3] (which happens to lie under his purview, rather than within the humanities), or at least developing stronger ties and collaborations with researchers in that end of the spectrum. He suggested, though: success goes to the bullshitters, meaning... it's all a question of marketing. Get the job, then do your thing. Once you've got a post, no one assesses you on how well you fulfill the job description; they assess you on how well you accomplish what we academics do: research, publish, teach.

He intimated that chancellors and deans are not the ones to contact, that I really need department chairs to pull for me. I realize, here in Paradise there's really no one in those positions who will pull for me, not in my [field 1] or [field 2]. [Field 2] is a smallish program here, where they have difficulty getting enough enrollment in the standard fare, which they've already enough professors and grad students to teach.

The [field 1] department on the other hand entirely lacks vision (corroborated by Dean Horowitz). I told him the tale of my meeting with The Leprechaun, recounting his take on the hiring process. Horowitz said, that's perhaps how mediocre departments work, but not how outstanding ones do. My mother would say, I've yet to encounter an outstanding department. Be patient, the right place will find you. Patience, ah patience.

Of course, I applied for the brain imaging post. The latest in that saga is this:
Dear Jocelyn,
I am definitely still interested. I see the deadline has passed. I am heading out of town in the next hour, and won't be back until tomorrow. I would be pleased to send you my application by email once I return. I hope that works for you.
Best regards,

that's absolutely fine. I was told that the closing date was inconsistent between different advertisements, so I was planning on drawing up the short list on the 24th. Take your time; it was my fault you are late, anyway!
Best wishes, Jocelyn

Dear Jocelyn,
Please confirm that you received my materials. The email with attachments was overlarge, and I know some systems will reject emails over 1 MB.

Dear Articulate,
ideed, it looks like everything is there (three pdf attachments). Will get back to you on Monday.
Many thanks, Jocelyn

Now, for you readers following along at home, you may have noticed... it's Monday. Monday, monday, dah dah... so good to me, dah dah. Indeed, in the UK it's late in the evening. Someone from that university visited my PRW. I can only imagine it was Jocelyn or someone on the committee (assuming there is a committee). Hours ago... I wait. I so want something positive to turn out. Some recognition that my hard work is worth something to somebody.

And, we wait to hear back about my wife's anticipated job offer. Will we move? Will I have a job, a real job, come the fall? Will we be able once again to buy a house, a house we can expect to live in for the next three years or more? The wife and I have agreed to think about the 5-10 year time frame, and worry less on the today and tomorrow. That should help us get through this next period. I feel very strongly that we are on the cusp of something, some big change. It is exciting, and still scary. I fear the worst, while I hope for the best.

Stay tuned. The rollercoaster rides.

1 comment:

Lilian said...

Well, good to hear from you, even if it's just very suspenseful over there right now. I hope any change that comes your family's way is good for everyone!