Monday, September 17, 2007

JIL post, serious version

So, the good news first: this looks like another busy year in my field, even if a lot of the early postings look distinctly out of my reach. Whoo, exciting!

Bad news: I don't want to get too specific about this, for obvious reasons, but the wording of my department's ad makes me suspect they're looking to hire someone for the tenure-track job who isn't me. Better to know this sooner than later, I guess, but ... crap.

General weirdness: I'm starting to feel the isolation here. After two years on the market, I figured I was a tired and blooded veteran who knew All About the Job Search and was ready to go solo, but ... not so much, really. I almost wish I had accepted the postdoc my graduate department offered me instead of moving halfway across the country for a one-year visiting position, although I know that if I had taken it, I'd feel like I was just marking time and I'd probably be climbing the walls by now. Most of my friends had already left, and the postdoc wouldn't have given me any opportunity to teach in my field. It was time for me to move on, and I know I've made the right decision. But ... I miss grad school. I miss being surrounded by a large, friendly cohort of people who were in the same situation, and going out drinking on payday, and being able to talk about doubts and fears and things that aren't going right in the classroom without feeling like you're showing your soft underbelly. My new colleagues are very nice, and have done a lot to make me feel welcome, but still there's an age gap and a power gap, and I don't know any of them very well yet.

I guess this is normal, especially for VAPs, and it says good things about my graduate department, so I can't really complain. Still, I can't help feeling a little blue about it right now.


Anonymous said...

I know just how you feel, FP. I left my grad school ABD to take an instructor position a thousand miles away from my grad school home. I taught a 5-5, finished the diss, and got the hell outta there (I landed a tenure-track job elsewhere).

During that year, I gained about 20 pounds because I was lonely and had access to a little disposable income for the first time in my life. When I wasn't teaching, I sat in my apartment watching cable and eating, eating, eating.

I advise against this. I think what was so difficult was that I had a routine back at grad school, and I couldn't quite settle into a routine at the new place. Now that I'm in my tenure-track job, I've found a new routine and made some new friends.

Hang in there and know that you aren't alone. The transition from grad school to job is a tough one.


Fretful Porpentine said...

5-5 while finishing the diss?!? Ouch, that's got to hurt!

Thanks for the words of wisdom -- it's good to know this is normal.

Susan said...

Moving is always hard, and people in a department have their ways. And they are already set, so you have to elbow your way in. Tenured Radical's recent post on being a visiting prof. is excellent.

And also, have an honest conversation with someone (Dept chair?) about the job they have posted and how you might fit... They may say that they want someone who swings from a trapeze, and not you, but you never know if you don't ask.

heu mihi said...

Wow--well, I'm going through some similar feelings lately, if that's any reassurance. Just last night, in fact, when I got home from visiting The Boyfriend (a 10-hour door-to-door journey) and was reflecting on how little I wanted to get up and teach, I had a moment of sharply missing grad school. I do miss having so much freedom to work on my intellectual development; a heavy teaching load kind of makes me feel like I'm giving everything to my students and am pretty depleted at day's end. I think that it's safe to assume that this feeling gets tempered and diminishes with time and experience, though.

In the meantime, however, it's additionally disorienting to be in a remote rural location far from everyone you know. Like yours, my department is very friendly and welcoming, but settling in with a whole new set of people is something that takes time, too.

(By the way, I have a sneaking stat-counter-based suspicion that we're not terribly far apart...same state, anyway. Of course, I could be wrong!)

Fretful Porpentine said...

Susan -- Thanks, that's good advice. I need to meet with the chair pretty soon anyway.

Heu mihi -- Well, the fields around here look exactly like that picture you posted a while back, so I did wonder!

Sisyphus said...

Ah, good luck! I had been wondering how going out on a VAP (rudely kicked out of the grad student nest over the cliff of reality) and then immediately going on the job market again works. Kudos to you and your bravery. You will do it! You will make it through and we will all get through this somehow!

This whole job searching thing sucks anyway.

On the other hand, you've got a virtual cohort here on the blogs! I'll drink to grousing about everything and won't even wait until payday (mainly because I'm once again unemployed). Just let me know when and where!

Fretful Porpentine said...

Ah, thanks, Sisyphus! And drinking to anything at any time is always good! (Well, maybe not now because it's 8:15 in the morning and I have student conferences coming up, but ... drinking to most things at most times is good.)