A few days away from my work and being surrounded by the Spouse and our friends and pets has been incredibly helpful. I’m still unhappy about the situation, but being here has allowed me to gain some perspective and focus on what really matters. It’s been pure bliss to go out and see friends, run in my neighborhood, and be at home with the husband and critters.

After some thought, I think I am OK with doing one more academic search, but it will look very different from past years’ searches. I won’t apply for jobs in places I actually don’t want to live, and I’ll also avoid applying for jobs at institutions that have not at least offered me a phone interview in the past. It seems futile to waste my time applying to work in top-tier programs that have no interest in hiring me. Of course, I’ll keep applying for federal jobs, to build my escape hatch from academia in case things don’t work out.

Additionally, I’m investing much less time and effort in my classes next year. After reviewing my syllabi, I realized I was giving them a ton of  in-class and take-home work. This meant I was doing way too much work in designing the assignments, describing the assignments in class, reminding them of the assignments, grading the assignments, justifying the grades I gave for the assignments, etc. All that, and most of my students weren’t really reading or engaging. From this point forward, I’m going to give them 4 quizzes, a midterm, and a final exam. Attendance and reading will be measured by minute papers at the beginning of every class. That’s it. It’s going to mean much less work, stress, and frustration. I realized that over the past year, I spent far too much time on my teaching and not nearly enough time on taking care of myself or engaging in scholarly pursuits. I can’t afford another year like that.

Today while driving to meet a friend for lunch, I heard this song on the radio, and it resonated with me. My life isn’t at all what I’d envisioned, but I have a spouse and friends who love me and support me. That counts for a lot.

 

Best Days

I get myself up everyday
To fight this “woe is me” demeanor
If things had gone another way
Now would my grass be any greener

And as I’m struggling on my own
I have to think I’m not alone

Give and take we catch our breaks
We all learn to survive
But don’t look now said don’t look now
Cuz here we are
Living the best days of our lives
These are the best days of our lives

I fly around the world to spend
My nights with strangers and their lovers
I notice happiness depends
On if we share it with each other

So when this craziness is through
I’ll spend my happiness with you

And as we’re walking through the fire
Isn’t it great to be alive

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