Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Readying for the move

We found a place near Rocket City. It's just a tad bit smaller than our place here in Paradise, but will cost us 20% less. There was a humongous house we really liked, with a yard to die for (I mean four or five times the size of our rather sizable yard here). But it was significantly more expensive (though only a little more than our current rent). Just didn't seem to make sense. The street was busy and noisy, and the backyard, while expansive, was overlooked by an apartment complex next door. So, we opted for the nice house, in a wonderful neighborhood. We'll be able to walk to dim sum and sushi, big plusses in this household.

And, while it's a little smaller than our current abode, the layout is slightly better for my working at home. I may still look for a small office/studio space to rent, but I'm somewhat discouraged by the prices I've seen so far. Meantime, I wait to hear back from Big Academic Publisher.

I've begun applying for faculty posts. The first application of the season (to Turf) went out yesterday. Two of my recommenders, Tasse Plein and Jim Lodz independently sent me copies of their recommendation letters, with notes to the effect that I should know how my recommenders write about me. Honestly, the letters brought tears to my eyes. Damn! They think I'm good. Hell! I'd hire me. What is wrong with these committees? Oh well, it did my confidence some good. I was quite pleased to see a good deal of specific mentions regarding my research and teaching and initiatives.

I was a bit discouraged on Monday when I sat down to write my letter for Turf. I was doing some sleuthing about the research and teaching of current faculty, to see how I would fit in. I noticed there is a "visiting lecturer" hired in 2003, who teaches the areas covered in the job posting. Inside candidate. Jim Lodz' history is exactly that. He was lecturer here at the University of Paradise for three years before a tenure-track post was opened. Now, he wasn't a shoe-in, but in the end, he was a known quantity, capable, energetic, and well-liked.

Monday, I couldn't write or edit. Tuesday, I just jumped in and crafted a nice letter, mostly from stratch. I printed it off, worked a little on my CV, then packaged them up and sent them off. The posting requested merely a cover letter, CV, and three letters of recommendation. Harry Strope was the third letter writer. This time, I asked each of them to write specifically for the position, rather than sending file letters from career services. Gratifyingly, they each obliged within a day or two. I'm planning to be much more selective this year. As a result, I won't feel bad about asking for a letter or two each month of the job search. If they can't oblige, I'll send the file letters. So far, there's Turf, and two more coming up in December. I'm looking nearly everyday, but discarding many or most.

For now, I've got move preparations to attend to. I had coffee last week with Pat Crystal, the professor at a research university near Rocket City. He was pleasantly receptive and supportive. He gave me a good sense that I'd be able to work something out on their campus for "hanging my hat" so to speak. Once I get settled, I'll start attending the group's weekly meetings, to learn more about what they're doing, and present some of my ideas. I also need to get moving on recruiting volunteers for my [longitudinal project].

I've got my book proposals to work up and send off to the publisher I've been in touch with. There are a couple more conference abstracts I need to draft in the next month or so. Work is waiting for me. I think of Prof. Me's recent posting and I remember just how lucky I am to be able to pursue my work on my own terms. The grass isn't always greener... it just comes in different shades. But I still await the applause.

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