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Posts Tagged ‘Job Search’

What a week. I was sick. Then Buddy got sick. Then I started teaching my new, self-designed, and extremely labor-intensive class on Monday (and SG had to take a break to watch Buddy because fever = no daycare for the poor little guy. Then I had to actually teach class on Wednesday (Monday I just went through the syllabus and called it a day). Yesterday I was so wiped out that after I dropped Buddy off I spent the whole day sleeping. I feel somewhat guilty about that but I honestly don’t think I could have done anything useful anyway.

Today I got back on the horse, cleared a path through the toys in the living room, threw some of the dishes in the dishwasher and did some work on my diss. Here, in no coherent order are some random thoughts and events from my life at the moment:

  • Buddy is going to spend time with his old babysitter tomorrow (yeah!) so that I can get caught up on lesson planning (boo!) and SG can do the taxes (double boo!).
  • Since he’s been sick Buddy has revised his usual wake-up time of 5 or 5:30 am to 4 or 4:30 am. We went through this for a while when we were night-weaning him, and we got through it,  but since he’s been sick he hasn’t been eating as much, so he wakes up and then he wants comfort and he flat-out refuses to go back to sleep. Basically he stands up in his crib and screams and jumps for an hour until it is “time to get up.” (We have a no getting up before 5 am rule – you have to draw the line in the sand somewhere).  I should mention that while we don’t co-sleep, his crib is approximately 5 inches away from my side of the bed – we live in a very small two-bedroom house, and the bedrooms are on separate floors (I use the downstairs one as an office). So it is pretty hard to ignore.
  • The 4 am screaming sessions, combined with his revived interest in nursing (although to be honest he has always loved it), mixed with my feeling like death on a sticke, has brought me to the end of my rope. It is time to wean. We will take it slow and gentle and it can take a couple of months, but it WILL happen before my 40th birthday in May. I. CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE. 
  • I’ve made little or no progress on the Self-Improvement Experiment – we have been in survival mode around here for a week. I’ll pick it up again over the weekend and have a couple of posts about moving forward.
  • On Wednesday a couple of emails went around our department list-serv congratulating two of my colleagues on landing tenure track jobs. While I’m happy for them, it is sort of like twisting the knife. Then yesterday, another friend of mine announced that she was invited to interview for a very prestigious department in the UK. Never mind that because of our family situation SG and I agreed to stay in North America, so I decided not to apply anyway, this person is not even close to being finished and she was INVITED to apply. I know that I can’t compare myself to others and that my turn will come (at least I hope it will) but I’ll admit it – my self-esteem has taken quite a blow this past week.
  • On the plus side I posted to FaceBook that while I was happy for friends that I was down about giving two GREAT interviews and getting NEITHER job and a lot of people responded both intelligently and sympathetically. Also one of my best friends, who teaches in the Bay area, sent me some super fancy Easter chocolates in the mail. I started to cry because it is nice to know that there are people out there who understand and who have my back.
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Book One: Leave the Office Earlier

The TaskWrite first thing in the morning (after dropping Buddy at daycare).

EvaluationTwo out of four days isn’t bad. On Wednesday I did end up writing for a good chunk of the day, so I’ll give myself credit for upholding the spirit if not the letter of the law. On Thursday I had that interview for the adjunct in the morning and was in a tired funk in the afternoon and took a nap so I fell down both in the spirit and in letter.On Monday and Friday I did work first thing in the morning and got a lot done on both days. And I turned in the introduction so I have a real and tangible result for all my work. Which feels good. But kind of scary.

Further Thoughts: Even though I wasn’t quite up to getting started first thing in the morning everyday, the important thing I gleaned from this mini-experiment is that it is the getting started that is the hardest part for me. Once I am writing, I can keep writing. Sometimes I even want to keep writing. But I dread writing and I allow myself too many get out of jail free cards. Sometimes the answer is to be harder on yourself, not easier.

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Book Two: Confessions of an Organized Housewife

The Task: Do some decluttering, based on her discard/sort system and some of the variations.

Evaluation: I haven’t made much more progress on this front this week. I think that decluttering is an ongoing project that will probably not be done for a long time for us (I am going to say that it will get done some day). As a follow-up I’m going to set a specific goal for this week, which is to sort through the linen closet and the bathroom drawers.

Further Thoughts: I am trying to keep the overall message in mind, even if I don’t have a ton of time to actually implement everything. And that message is that being organized means more time to do the things you want to do and love doing.  Also, it is an ongoing, incremental process. I always want to wave a magic wand and have a completely organized (and clean) house. Not going to happen, and certainly not overnight.

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Book Three: Collect Raindrops

The Task: Keep a eating journal, be more aware of what I eat, talk to SG about a CSA.

Evaluation: Like the decluttering, changing eating habits takes time. I did keep a food journal and had some more successful days and some less successful days. I also did two shopping trips without Buddy, which was much better, I took more time to think  about what we needed (and was able to use my list without little hands grabbing at it) and still got out in less time then when I take him with me. And SG is excited about the CSA so I just have to remember to follow-up.

Further Thoughts: I will try to keep up the food journal for another two weeks and then review it to identify any sticking points.

Now on to week two!

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On the one hand I had a great day today – I’m off this week and SG went into the office so I had the house to myself after dropping buddy off at daycare. I made a pot of coffee, took a bath and then got to work on the introduction. I should be able to get it to my advisor by Friday which will be a HUGE weight off my shoulders. On the other hand I am feeling down today. I’m going in for an interview with a local liberal arts college for an adjunct position. I’ll be happy to get it but it just drives home that I didn’t get either of the two tenure-track positions I interviewed for. Part of me doesn’t even want to go tomorrow. But I will.

But let’s talk self-improvement experiment!

Book One: Leave Work Early

I have started with the Discipline chapter and resolved to work early in the morning on the diss introduction during this week. On Sunday I went back to bed after the early “shift” but I did work for two hours during Buddy’s nap. Monday I DID write for the entire morning after dropping the little guy at daycare. Tuesday (yesterday) was a lost cause. Today I didn’t start work until 11 am but I did work pretty consistently throughout the day. So overall I declare this portion of the experiment a success!

Book Two: Confessions of an Organized Homemaker

So my task for this week was to apply one (or several) of her discard/sort techniques to our massive clutter problem. So far I have only applied “The Quick Fix” which means that my office is slowly filling up with bags of stuff from the kitchen and the living room bookshelf from hell (I will post before and in-progress – and eventually after photos when I have  chance to download them).  I haven’t had much time yet to really to work on the clutter problem but hopefully I’ll have a little more time in the next couple of days. So thus far, I declare this part of the experiment a draw: good intentions, but little time for follow-through.

Book Three: Collect Raindrops

The words of inspiration – “Eat More Kale” which I interpreted to mean that I should pay more attention to what I eat and talk to SG about doing a Community Shared Agriculture (CSA). Well I have been keeping a food journal and I have been trying to make better choices. Yesterday was a wash – I am always lulled into making bad decisions at my parents, but today I made myself breakfast and lunch, including a salad – most unusual for me! And SG is not only into the CSA but is talking about starting a container garden. So so far, it is going fairly well. Another draw.

More to come at the end of the week.

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Yesterday 7MilestoNowhere had a very thoughtful post about the structurally insecure nature of the academic job market and about the risk of putting our lives on “hold” until we land that perfect tenure-track job (which may never happen). Her post hit home for me because I recently went on the job market (as you may have guessed from my previous posts) and while I landed two on-campus interviews, I wasn’t offered either job. It is quite possible that I didn’t receive an offer for reasons entirely unrelated to the fact that the dissertation still isn’t finished (3.5 years after the research was completed…and counting) and I don’t yet have a major publication.

But I also know that my application would have been much stronger (and I might have gotten more interviews) if I were finished and on track to be published in a refereed journal.  I also can’t help but beat myself up because my department, and my advisor, do have excellent placement records and a number of my friends have received job offers while still ABD.

On the one hand, I know that in part, large part, this situation is a result of choices that I’ve made that I in no way regret, and that is why 7’s post was such a breath of fresh air.  I started graduate school shortly after turning 30 and finished the diss research when I was 36. I chose to try and have a baby because I didn’t want to wait – couldn’t afford to wait – until I had landed the job. So Buddy came on the scene and it has been wonderful. Then when he was nine months old, a close family member became ill, I took a leave of absence both to spend time with him and to take up some of the slack at home so SuperGuy could spend more time with him. It was the right decision. Finally, after our regular babysitter left for grad school, we tried a nanny-share with some friends – it was a complete disaster and wasted almost two months of my life and made both me and Buddy miserable. Although I would do things differently in retrospect, I can’t fault myself for trying to make it work at the time. I do regret  not listening to my intuition earlier, but that is a lesson learned.

But. BUT. I can’t fool myself that somehow circumstances beyond my control have kept me from getting this dissertation written. I have a block, a writer’s block of epic proportions. And so I have regrets. And here they are:

1. I regret not being a better advocate for myself in terms of getting therapy and treatment for postpartum anxiety. In retrospect, a prescription for anti-anxiety medication was not enough. I needed someone to talk to and I needed more help earlier. 

2. Related to number 1, I regret getting caught up in worry that we were going to go broke, that we were too poor, and that the other members of our new parent group (all from the same affluent area of the city that we live in…at the margins…in a rental) would look down on us. I wasted so much time and money on trying to get our tiny house up to snuff, and it was such a stupid waste of time. Seriously who gives a france? (not to mention the fact that we were smart not to buy in the bubble market – not that we could’ve afforded it but still…)

3. But the madness doesn’t stop there. I regret wasting countless hours and lots of money I didn’t have on a stupid idea of opening eBay store – which actually wasn’t that stupid but I just turned around and bought stuff we didn’t need with the money I made plus more, so yeah, stupid.  I put our credit and my marriage at risk and wasted countless hours until SuperGuy put his foot down and forced me to cut up the credit cards and to go into therapy. (This story has a happy ending – we’ve JUST paid off our debt – but it was such an unnecessary complication and brought so much stress and anxiety – I still can hardly bear to think of it).

4. Which brings me to my main regret. I’ve wasted so much time. Time paid for with a babysitter or with daycare. Time where I did housework, or worked on teaching, or did nothing at all productive when I could’ve been writing. Why can’t I focus? And more importantly, what am I going to do about it?

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Turns out that the waiting isn’t the hardest part. On the one hand it just totally sucks that I didn’t get either job, especially since I did well in the interviews (I think – they said). On the other hand I am secretly relieved that I won’t have to pack up Buddy and SuperGuy and move across country while trying to finish my diss and do a million other things. But I need to regroup.

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  • When your 2yr-old’s favorite game is crawling around on  the floor picking up “fluff” off the carpet, it might be time to vacuum.  
  • SuperGuy and I shared a bottle of wine last night and watched Pineapple Express. He also gave me a backrub and told me I was pretty. Both were much needed. We’ve both been going full-speed-ahead with Buddy and work for awhile now we’ve sort of lost touch with each other. He also made it clear that he is proud of me whether or not I get this job at Big University. I still really want it but he made me feel better about the possibility of not getting it as well.
  • I watched the final few episodes of West Wing this weekend – and I have to say that the REAL election of Obama and the REAL inauguration of  President Obama was much more satisfying. How nice not to have to take solace in fictional characters any longer.
  • I’ve started listening to classical music on the radio when I have to drive. It is not something I know a lot about, but I like that it makes the drive seem like you are in the midst of a Merchant Ivory film – it really does make all the ordinary (and annoying) things around you seem better – elevated and more interesting somehow.
  • SuperGuy got paid half for his big contracting job so we are going to the bank today and by the end of this week we will be DEBT FREE! It is a huge accomplishment for us and a fresh start.

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Big University (BU) may call this week if they are going to offer me the job, in fact they probably will. I don’t know if it will be at the beginning of the week or the end of the week, but if I don’t hear from them by Friday, I will probably lose heart and hope. I would really like this job…and the waiting is the hardest part.

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