Friday, August 11, 2006

As High Valley remains unapplied for


You always have a way to make me smile. Ah... so the grass is always greener on the other side, but the other side keeps shifting positions, eh? As for the dean's post, there's nothing for you to do. They'll contact you if I'm on the short list (assuming I go through with the application).

Sure, it's tough to let go of my ego, to hold onto silence as my friend, to single-mindedly pursue my work in the face of repeated failure to attain what it is I think I seek.

I'm trying to keep that 5-10 year goal in mind. Three years is a long time, at least long if I don't know the direction. To some extent it feels like the last 6 haven't gotten me any closer to my goal. Of course, in sober moments, I know that can't be true... I'm just stuck (for a time) in Xeno's paradox: I'm closer, yet it's still out of reach.

Back to your three-year fellowship. What would I do with my time? Partly, I would work on publications and presentations. I'm doing that, perhaps not as much as I would be, if I could simply let go of my worries.

In part however, the projects I wish to work on (like my [Longitudinal Study]) require a bit more stability than I have at the moment. The [Field 2 project I've been working on periodically since finishing the diss] and my [crossover project (the NEH grant)] are things I could be working on more.

I would like also to hone up my knowledge and experience in brain imaging, with the hope that I can bridge some gaps between the humanities and the sciences. I've read a good deal of the neuroscience literature relevant to x & y studies.

Collaborating with researchers in that domain (even unpaid) would give me more street cred with that crowd, and just as importantly, would help rebuild my confidence level, which I confess has been shot through from the experience of this past year or so. Let go, but keep my eyes open. Maybe that perfect job is just around the corner.

I'm with you Tasse. Thanks for sticking by me. I do wish I better understood the machinations that go into hiring decisions. Even if I let go of worrying now, I do eventually wish to land a post. The Leprechaun paints a picture of fearfully conservative committees rejecting nearly out of hand anything new or unusual. Mike Horowitz says that's how mediocre departments work, but not the outstanding ones. Yet, he adds: "Victory goes to the bull-shitters. Get the job first, then do your work." [SIGH]

Well, I'm here, and I'm staying on the path. I'm too damn stubborn to give up now.

Dear Articulate:

Make your inquiries the center of your professional life. As long as you feel you're learning, and as long as you keep thinking and writing, none of the employment stuff matters. At many of the places you could get hired, you'd "grow old quickly" teaching sections of intro to [Field 1] or elements of [Field 1] for dummies. I know how much you want to find something, but it will come when it will come. You don't want to be like the girl who marries the first guy who looks at her and spends the rest of her life regretting it.

In our fields eventually the work one does speaks for itself. Focus on doing exciting things, try to imagine important journals, etc. etc. and keep moving forwards. Damn man, when you do get your interview, you want to project the notion that you are perfectly happy doing what you are doing, and that while you'd consider their job, you don't need it. You'll be more relaxed, and even more impressive.


Tasse Plein
Professor and Chair, [Field 1]
Big Eastern Private University

No comments: