I’ve decided that I’m not just going to give in to the torrent of negativity the Universe is sending my way. I’m fighting back and doing something about it.
One, I contacted the dean at Farflung U. just to check in and reiterate my interest in the position. I tried to be as non-annoying as possible, but it’s hard not feel like some desperate schmuck when I send an email like that. No word yet, but no big deal.
Two, taking Elaine’s ever-solid advice, I’ve started applying for federal jobs. There are a few jobs working for the DoD and the FAA that want a person with a background in culinary psychology and a few other things that I can do and in fact have done. On face value, they don’t appear to be my dream jobs, but I know I would be good at them and the pay is almost twice what I’m making here (and I already make fairly good money). Perhaps I’m not meant to be in academia, and I’m fortunate that there are other things I can do. The Spouse is on board, because there’s always work for people in the legal profession in (as Dr. Koshary put it) “the world’s most lucrative swamp.”
Three, I’m just kind of checking out mentally here. If I knew for sure that I was never working in academe again, I would e-mail my students, tell them that they all have A’s, and say that they need not worry about turning in any of their assignments. My department hasn’t yet let me know what I’m teaching in the fall and when. I suspect it’ll be another really shitty schedule that would make it damn near impossible for me to interview for outside jobs (as I had this year). Also, they want me to teach a course that I’ve never taught before and in an area I really have no expertise in whatsoever. As I described it to my friends here who teach French, “It’s like if someone said, ‘Hey, you speak French, I’m sure you can teach Spanish 101, right?’ ” Not happy about that. If one of these other things pans out, I’ll just drop and run away. They can’t expect loyalty and self-sacrifice from me when they aren’t willing to give me the basics.
There’s some other institution-related stuff going on, but I’ll save it for another post of its own.
Four, I’ve decided that I need to be a bit more physically active. I’m going to start running again after a months-long hiatus, and maybe go back to yoga. Looking back, I was always healthiest and happiest when I was running 3 or so days a week. I’m lucky in that the summers here are much more bearable than the summers in Sleepy Southern Town. It just might be possible to go running after 7 am here! The inevitable weight loss wouldn’t hurt, either.
Five, I’m going to try to get out another two articles this summer so that if I do stay in academe, I can show that I’m still productive despite my nightmare teaching schedule. I also will ramp up for some research this fall that extends the research I did for my dissertation.
It was so easy to just wallow in self-pity, but that is not a sustainable long-term solution. It’s difficult, but worth it in the end. As Dr. Seuss said
And when you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
is not easily done.