Sunday, February 18, 2007

Sometimes I get the feeling...

Our au pair often muses that I have chosen a field in which there are no jobs to be had, that I have self-selected myself out of a career. Nonsense, I'd like to say. I have merely chosen to follow a path that is true to myself. Yes, it is a difficult one. Perhaps I like the challenge. But mostly, we make choices at each juncture, seek to remedy the false steps of the last, and look toward the next.

I sent a brief "checking in" note a couple days ago to Joe Krowicki at [Lake View U.] As you may recall, the position that had looked promising for me was transformed by their dean into something much less appealing (to both me and him):
Hi Joe,

I just thought I'd drop you a line to let you know what I'm up to. I have very much enjoyed our interactions over the past few years, and value your friendship. While I have not yet given up all hope for landing a faculty post, I've grown weary of the wait. About a month ago, I began working with a career coach, to give my career a jumpstart. I've been looking into some of the research going on in [practical application], in particular [some details]. I'll be attending an industry conference [Name & Location] next week, where I'll be meeting with [Corporate Giant] CTO & Strategist for [Applied Research field], among other people. Who knows if this new path will prove more fruitful than my academic job search. But I'm tired of waiting for something to happen in that vein.

I hope you are well, and surviving the task of hiring new colleagues at [Lake View U.]. Let me know how things are going on your end.

Best regards,
Here was Joe's reply:

Thanks for the update. The [Corporate Giant] connection sounds very exciting, and I hope you'll let me know what that conference was like. Here in the frozen heartland we are almost halfway done with the "regular-old-theory" search. The last person comes through in a couple weeks. I go off to Europe a week later, mostly to do some archival digging, but also to give two lectures and to participate in a job search (me as a candidate) in [country].

So, lots happening. Please stay in touch,
Sometimes I get the feeling that my au pair may just be right, at least when it comes to academia. Bear in mind, [Lake View U.] was perhaps the last best bastion of [true subdiscipline] in the U.S. Because it is an interdisciplinary field, there is in fact greater activity involving it in other fields than [Field 1]. But within [Field 1] there were essentially three programs in The States. The first school has one remaining faculty member who is well-established in [true subdiscipline]. A second school which was developing a PhD program in it, lost the senior faculty member who was behind it to another school, where his "distinguished" endowed post permits him to concentrate on his own research, but has not prompted him to establish a new graduate program. The last of these three was [Lake View U.] where the two remaining faculty in [true subdiscipline] may soon be dropping to one, with no indication of any desire to raise that number. [SIGH].

As Joe put it: "not yet dead... but on life support."

1 comment:

Lilian said...

Well, I do hope that she's not right. However, I know full well that in certain specific areas of academia, that is actually true. Let's hope it's not in ours...