While being in a state of perpetual Limbo now for a few years has been rough for me, it has certainly been no picnic for my dear spouse, either. His career has been more or less put on hold for the past 4 years while we figure out what I’ll be doing and where. In talking to other people, I know I am incredibly fortunate to be married to someone who believes in me so much that he’s willing to hitch his wagon to my star in order for me to chase my dreams.
However, the time has come for me to acknowledge that perhaps my star is fading. This is my third full-on academic job search, and yet here I am at Spring Break with no tenure-track prospects for the fall. I realize that, as certain members of my family would say, Rome weren’t built in no day. This is often a long and frustrating process for many people, and for most it does eventually work out. For most, not all. As the line from “The Gambler” says:
You gotta know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
In this case, it is becoming increasingly apparent that I need to fold and walk away. In short, if I don’t have a tenure-track job by the end of the academic year, I’m throwing in the towel. This is a drastic step, and I am sad to come to this decision. It isn’t something I have taken lightly, and I realize that it means I’ve wasted my potential. Next year, the spouse will try to figure out what he wants to do and where, and I’ll follow where he goes. Maybe I can cobble together some classes as an adjunct, or teach at a community college, or maybe even get certified as a classroom teacher and teach K-12. Maybe I could work for the government or doing research for a corporation. I could work as an editor. I have a lot of skills that could be put to good use, even if it isn’t what I’d hoped.
However, I can’t keep doing this to myself (and my rapidly declining health) and to my Spouse. He’s a strong, loving, and sensitive person, but this whole ordeal is damn near about to break him. I can’t do that to him. He deserves far better.
Thank you, blogosphere friends, for all of your support during this process. I honestly would not have persisted so long and so hard without the knowledge that there were people out there who believed in me. I hope to remain in touch with you all no matter what happens over the next few months.