Monday, April 23, 2007

A break in the silence

I'm sorry my friends for my recent silence. It's been a long five days. I've been busy. My ideas for heading off on my own are beginning to congeal. Ideas pour forth like rain, some to wash off in the gutters, and some to nourish the seeds and seedlings of my garden.

A couple weeks ago, during my coaching with Paul, I developed a metaphor of my career as a garden, and me as the gardener. I realized my role as perpetual job seeker in academia had made a leaf out of me. And leaves, as we all know, are individually non-essential parts of a plant. I was withering, browning, and cracking.

I prefer the role of gardener.

And wouldn't you know it, it's just now that especially the academic side of my career begins to heat up.

I mentioned during my recent family trip (when I also got to meet the wonderful WhatNow? and her beloved D in person!), that I had been contacted by the organizer of a workshop in Canada, to request my attendance and participation. I spoke with her one evening last week, and she indicated that they would likely be able to fund my trip, and that she would bring this up at their next meeting. The next morning, I got word that funding had been approved to sponsor my trip to one of the conferences in the UK, to serve as part of a keynote panel. Unfortunately, the dates for these two events conflict. I wrote to the organizer in Canada to mention the conflict. Currently, she's trying to find a way to bring me out there just before my trip to the UK, and requested a brief abstract of my interest in their event.

The first of the two conferences in the UK (for which I had prime poster real estate) was only able to offer me a token amount, enough to cover the registration fees. I respectfully declined, and regretfully withdrew my submission, for lack of funds to attend. I got email today from one of the organizers of that first conference, whom I've known and corresponded with since perhaps 1998. He has at times been listed as a reference for me on my CV. Indeed, this morning he sent his regrets that they were unable to find sufficient funds for me to attend the conference, and to request a current copy of my CV, since he's been contacted by Midwestern City University to provide a reference for me, and wants to include the latest.

This coming Wednesday night, I head down to Lemon University for a teaching demo. I was a bit apprehensive about it, since the materials that the instructor requested I cover were a bit out of my comfort zone. I gave him a call to discuss it. He was open to me covering related material that I felt more knowledgeable about, and intimated that he trusts Sara Chaisano's opinion, but that the dean requires a teaching demo before an offer can be made. It sounds to me like the gig is mine to lose. As long as I don't blow it, I should be fine. Sara also indicated that they expect to be hiring one or two more faculty in the next year or so, and that having taught there as an adjunct would give me a big leg up. (That is in fact how she got her current job there).

Then (while writing this post), I just got an email back from Matt Suliman. It has been nearly a month since I wrote him. His email was apologetic for the delay, but encouraging, supportive, and friendly.

I am just overwhelmed. Good things are happening. I feel it. The soil is fertile and moist. Which seedlings will grow? Only time, with patience and perseverance, will tell.