This week was a time where I never felt that my head was truly above water. A couple of days this week, I worked somewhere between 11 and 14 hours, and I was never home before 5 on any day. Wednesday night was a new low, as I was actually prepping for the next morning’s class. I try never to procrastinate that badly, but there was simply no room in my schedule to do it any earlier. My exercise ambitions got derailed in a big way, too. I ended up doing a one-hour Zumba class on Monday, and a 30-minute run on Friday.
Another stressor is the beginning of the job search. My first round of applications goes out at the end of the month, and so I’ve had to get my references lined up and start drafting cover letters. Pretty much all day today will be spent working on that endeavor. My current department head has agreed to be a reference, and insisted on visiting a class to be able to write a thorough letter and speak with some authority on my skills as a teacher. No sweat, right? I am somewhat excited because that day’s class is on a topic that I am pretty passionate about, and it lends itself to great discussion and group activities. I hope I’m able to convey my own interest in it and get them really interested in it, because I really need a strong recommendation. Also, this Tuesday’s class is a class in my exact subspecialty, and I’m damn near salivating with excitement. I must restrain myself.
Speaking of the job market, so far things look promising. I’ve found a few decent tenure-track jobs in acceptable locations. Even better, a few of them are jobs at liberal-arts colleges, and so I may be a pretty attractive candidate given my experience here. My first year on the market, I kind of turned up my nose at the idea of teaching at a liberal arts college because of some misguided idea (no doubt perpetuated by snobs at R1’s) that I’d never be a productive scholar. Now that I’ve been at one for a little over a month, I realize that this is just the kind of environment I want. Since so many Ph.D.’s come out of research-intensive schools, it’s hard for us to even imagine what’s out there, and I always assumed that I would follow in the footsteps of my advisor and so many of mentors. Looking ahead, I’m going to do what I can to stay in this kind of environment where research is something I “get” to do, not something I do at the cost of my sanity and welfare.