Tuesday, December 12, 2006

More than anything

More than anything, I'm just plain scared. I want... I want so much to just accept where I am, what I have, to be happy, content, satisfied. In many ways, I do, I am. Two lovely boys, a wonderful wife. A crazy but loving and deserving extended family.

As my dear friend Tracy says "Things are happening". Indeed they are. My friend at Lemon University is pulling to have me hired as an adjunct next year (possibly even this spring). I've received two requests for additional materials in one week, for tenure-track gigs. I'm still submitting applications for other jobs. I very well may land myself a job that I've so longed for, and quite possibly in a locale which would prove promising for the whole clan.

It's not that I'm not excited. It's not that I don't welcome the virtual hugs of all my blogger friends. I do. It's just, I can't escape the fear. More than two years, I've sat on this path, enduring the trials, the loneliness, the isolation, the self-doubt. More than a year and a half since completing the dissertation. I know, there is at least as much a chance that I will land flat, where I've been already, no job, no direction, no sense.

I do believe in what I do. I trust that the research I have begun, that I wish to continue for a lifetime, is worthwhile, is valuable, is meaningful. Despite it all, I retain a faith in myself as well, the strength of my own harvest of talents, my drive to inspire, my honesty. They are to me tantamount. My work, my spirit, my desire to give, to teach, to contribute, these things define me in ways that nothing else can. Yes, I am and wish to be husband, father, brother, son. But somehow, I'm not me without the rest. I can not fully fit those roles without my self.

And so, my fear is real. Those of you who were so lucky as to land a job straight out of graduate school, I doff my hat to you. You are, I am sure, quite worthy of your own success. I wonder how many of us, like me, there are, who seek, and seek, hold on to that dream, that goal. How many of us are there who still believe that we as well are worthy of that success, desire it, require it, demand it. No, that we cannot do. We can merely wait, and accept it, or accept our own... our own.. f... fate.


Terminaldegree said...

Been there. It was tough. I spent a long time as an adjunct before landing a t-track job. It was frustrating because I equated my career with my identity.

I don't know if this will help you or not...but I started to really be at peace about the job situation over a year ago. I decided to think of myself as an entrepreneur instead of purely as an academic. I created my own musical business, set my own hours, and quit apologizing for not having a t-track position. When I stopped feeling bad about my current situation, my work/income just about doubled.

I also gave myself a "five year plan" to either get a job or quit trying. Somehow that actually took the pressure OFF. (In other words, I could console myself that I wouldn't still be churning out application packets at age 55.)

And you know, when I got my first job interview, someone on the committee remarked, "you seem really happy." It took me by surprise, but yeah, she was right.

I don't know if anything above makes you feel better or worse. But you are, IMO, on the right track by maintaining a belief in the meaningful nature of your work. That's bound to reward you eventually. I'm just sorry you have to wait and wait right now.

ArticulateDad said...

Thanks, td, I know you have been there. I also know, as Tasse Plein has suggested to me before, and as you reiterated, being happy where I am makes me much more atractive for those who might help me get where I want to be. I realize as well, being content where I am is far better in the case that, well, I wind up where I am.

This evening I had a nice talk with Jim Lodz. While he still prefers to maintain some degree of professional distance, we are friends, and he sometimes lets slip some of his more intimate feelings. Tonight, he (albeit briefly) lamented that while he has obtained success in his professional life, "I don't know what it's like to have a wife and kids." I laughed, and confessed that I of course wonder what it's like to have professional success. He replied, "but if you've got the choice between the one or the other, I think being a husband and father is the better end." There really is much for me to be happy about. I guess I'll keep working on that.

Bright Star said...

The thing that's weirdest about all of this, to me, is how much it's not about merit. I mean, clearly you're an excellent writer. If it was about scholarship, you'd be golden, I would think. In my case, there is a capacity issue -- more jobs available than qualified candidates. Most fields are not like that. So I don't know that I am worthy of my success. Instead, I often wonder if I am just a warm body.

Here's to hoping that things will continue to happen for you.

Lilian said...

Oh, the fear, we feel it too. I'm glad the weight is mostly on my husband's shoulders, though. We don't even have a plan B, or C, or D yet -- if he doesn't have an offer.

I'm just wishing with all my heart that you do get a job, and that my husband does too.

Karen said...

I always tell myself that there's nothing to fear but fear itself... over and over.

Fear is a hard hurdle to overcome.

Then there's another thing I keep telling myself (courtesy of a counselor): Leap, and a net will appear. :)