Friday, November 03, 2006

Clandestine conference posting

I'm sitting at the conference, in the lobby outside the exhibitor's hall. Little ups... mostly down. It's rather depressing for me to be here. There was one paper this morning (ONE!) that was interesting. I had a lot to say in the discussion section, felt that I had much to contribute. Three or four people sought me out after the session to talk about things. It was exciting to hear their interest, to take their questions, to give citations and resources. I was in my element.

But it was short-lived. I met Tasse Plein for some lunch and a talk. He says he'd hate to see me limit myself geographically or school-wise, still thinks I should apply more broadly, increase my odds. Forget the number of jobs you've applied for! We're not entitled to anything. You deserve better, sure. But, we've all got to work for what we get, nothing is handed to us. One of your best qualities is your energy, your drive, your ebullience. You don't want to lose that.

As hidden tears begged to be released, I sat stone-faced, afraid that I already have. I wasn't terribly inspired. It's not his fault. But I'm depressed, depressed, depressed. It's hard to keep up appearances. I see the name tags with schools where I've applied. And I turn away. I don't want to see their faces.

I don't want anything handed to me. But damn it, I've worked hard. I just want some acknowledgment of that effort, some recognition that it's all been worthwhile.

So, I sit here, in the lobby. One session this afternoon seemed moderately interesting to me. Maybe I'll pop in to hear the second half.

Apply to more jobs again? Apply to only a targeted few? Tasse reminds me that he doesn't know anyone graduated from the University of Paradise that has broken into top schools. It's not like that's all I'm applying to. Am I out of my league? No... it's not a question of that. But... well the students who went to the big name schools have an advantage. That's reality.

Why have I cut back on the number of schools to apply to? One, I failed to renew my membership to the professional society that has the most extensive listing of appointments, so perhaps I'm missing some. And I thought the advice of targeting the best prospects seemed wise. Looks like Tasse is urging me to step back a bit into the broadcast method. [SIGH] There just are no rules, no way of knowing which is best.

Why else? I'd really like to find a job in a geographic region where my wife can also pursue a career. The two-body problem. Tasse Plein commuted (by plane) for about 10 years earlier in his career (including all of his time in Paradise. Would you recommend that?It's a choice that each couple has to make. With young kids it's not easy.

Well, writing this out helps me feel a bit more settled with it all. Blogging is therapy. Now to putting on a good face, and back to mingling.


Greg said...

This might sound dumb, but hang in there.

ArticulateDad said...

Thanks, Greg. I'm hanging in. Talked with a few publishers this afternoon. I'll be sending a prospectus for my dissertation-to-book proposal to three of them.

It's up and down for me, I admit. But sometimes I just have to vent it out, let it go, like a sneeze. Then I can feel better about things. Two more days left of the conference. Let's hope there's more up than down here on.

Lilian said...

Oh, AD, I feel for you!! I'm afraid that this is what I'll look like in a few years... but maybe not. If my husband gets a job, then I'll be happy doing whatever (adjuncting, teaching at a community college) I can do to keep connected to academia somehow. That's what I'm saying now, let's see how that will play out. My latest source of "anguish" (OK, I'm not really anguished, only mildly worried :) is that the job offers in my field are done and contracts settled much earlier than those in my huband's field. What are we going to do? (most probably I won't get any offers so I won't have to even worry about this)

Terminaldegree said...

I had a few years of this anguish, too. They were tough years. I'm sorry you have to go through this frustration.

trillwing said...

Hugs to you, AD. It may get worse before it gets better, and who knows what "better" will look like? Here's to getting there quickly.

timna said...

I'm going to a conference this week with mixed feelings. Last time (it's every 2 years) I was so high and ready to get a job and pubilsh. It's pretty different now. I'm not unhappy with my job (AT ALL), but I'm certainly not going to talk about a book or talk with mentor prof about publishers or applications.

wonder what it will be like. it does feel somewhat fraudulant, but that might be because my paper is not real research at this point.