Back on the Horse …
Things were quiet here for a while because my academic job search had heated up, which meant there a lot I wanted to say, and not a lot I dared to say. As with many other searches I’ve done, this time I got so close … just not close enough. Apparently, I look really good on paper, over the phone, and then someone else looks better in person. It is frustrating, and I won’t lie this last one hurt. Even with this last one, however, by the time I’d received the official rejection I had pretty much come to the conclusion that the fit maybe wasn’t quite right. I might not send personal note cards to everyone thanking them for the visit, but I am sincere in my final email where I wish them all the best with their new hire.
This time there are also changes at work, which are helping me feel better about staying for now. The person I directly reported to took another job, and has moved on. While we had a decent working relationship, and I did learn a lot while reporting to her, I am happy to see her go because this is an important step in her career. Also, I took her office, which has a window!. 😉 Other changes may or may not come out of this, but I won’t know that until July. In addition to the new office, I now report directly to the center Director. It amazes me how much of a difference these two changes have made. I feel in some way more autonomous, and more ownership (maybe not the right word) in the programs I coordinate.
Yet, I also feel the tension between the work I want to do, and the work I can do. The systemic pressures of directing a program, without director status or tenure, where all the work you do is supposed to be directly programmatic, and there isn’t necessarily the room for scholarship. Scholarship is good, and is perhaps even supposed to happen, but the time for it is not directly accepted as “work” time. A part of me really wants to stay and tend the seeds I’ve sown here in this program, yet I know that ultimately there isn’t a way for me to develop in my career the way I would like to in my current situation. The limit of my development here is embedded in the institutional structure.
All of which is why getting back on the horse is an appropriate metaphor for more than just making this space active again, but also for running the gauntlet of the academic job market AGAIN next fall.