Wednesday, September 22, 2010

An Introduction

This is who I've become:

I am finishing my PhD (for real, almost done finishing, not "I still have to write 200 pages" finishing), working as a Writing Program Administrator at a very conservative private school where I can be fired for not wearing socks to work, just got hired on as an editor at a journal, and once or twice a month I lock myself in my car during lunch and scream.

Just kidding--sort of. I only did that once, and that was before I decided to hit the job market this year.

The first day I ever taught, a student scratched his nuts the entire time. This term my students asked security (at the very conservative school) if they could ride a kayak down the stairs for a video project--security said yes. My absolutely favorite student ever who was a wonderful writer passed away. I bawled like a baby at her funeral, probably making a complete fool of myself, but there it is. Oh, and I run a Writing Center, which means that often as not the students I work with are absolutely right--their instructors are wrong.

Also, since my spouse refuses to move away from this area (we live two miles from his parents) and I long to live far away, and because the closer I get to being finished with the PhD the bigger a control freak he becomes, my marriage went tits up and we're just sort of dancing around the grave trying to not be the first one to utter the "D" word.

In my effort to not be bitter, I make sarcastic jokes.

I think I've actually hit my level of "stuff I can deal with at once" lately. I've always been a pretty serious multitasker--adjuncting 2-4 classes, taking 3, being a GTA, teaching 1 somewhere else--but trying to maintain a serious level of research at the same time as being an admin, finishing my degree, and still being a person outside it all is taking its toll. At the end of the day I actually really like my position and my job, but I live for being involved in the research community and getting stuff done. These two things aren't going to work long-term together and I know it. Thus, I am attempting to move on. Right now I'm working on two articles, one book, still have a quarter of my dissertation to finish, and a webtext in a pear tree.

Classes start next week. I never take out my frustration with the above on my students... if only they were so kind!


  1. What a story! It is thus for many folks, I think. I know a few in similar situations as yours, and it's depressing. All that ability and YOUTH, and you're hamstrung by the career, the system, a spouse, family, etc.

    Hang in there. You seem to have a sense of humor, darling, an you're going to need it!

  2. Keep pitching! You're doing a lot of the right things.

  3. Staying in a marriage with some jackass who won't "let" you move because he wants to be close to Mumsy and Dadsy won't do you or him any good - don't beat around the bush on this one. Say the "D" word the best way possible, by serving him with papers, and get the hell out of that soul killing experience.

    Then you can deal with the rest of the stuff.

  4. I would like to support Wylodmayer with some general words of encouragement.

    It's so much easier to stay in a marriage than take that stigma-laden leap out of a soul-crushing union. But you know: divorce is popular for a reason. It's stigmatized, but DIVORCE is GOOD.

    Imagine no more squabbles. No more awkward in-laws. No more sharing your income! Just hole up, just you. Go on a trip. See some old friends. Be free.

    You can remain friends. You can even hook up later in life. But as they say you only have one life to live and sometimes sacrificing everything that makes you happy just to say "we did it! We stayed together for 40 years!!" is NOT worth the trade-off.

    And: they say people who are divorced end up experiencing a second youth as they reassess who they are, who they want to be, take risks, and get payouts. I say this having watched a lot of friends be super miserable, get divorced and suddenly see life as this golden shining thing. Not that personal experience is hard core evidence, but it is what it is.

    But that aside, sorry you're suffering. The ol' car-scream is good, but maybe you should consider going out into a state park and screaming there? Scares the deer but is hella therapeutic.

  5. We've been here before, just not so close and personal; RYS had more than one "proffies marrying proffies/proffies marrying civilians" story. The truth is I think the teaching profession is so warped in its demands on non-tenured instructors that it's impossible to keep a marriage going from grad school to Ph.D. So the solution is probably the Irish courtship (8 to 14 years) or follow the cruddy student model of relationships. Finally, My Litte Proffie, Curtis Control-Freak has to go; he sounds like he wants his life to be like a rerun of "Everyone Likes Raymond" without the middlebrow banter and the canned audience.

  6. Streinikov: damn straight! the banter is all highbrow around here!

    I definitely don't lack blame in the tanking relationship. We're both hardly home, I stopped trying to teach him about my field years ago when he informed me that English always sounded like "static" to him. We were both younger and dumber then. He's willing to listen a little now and I just don't have the patience to try to catch him up on years of research. In the meantime, much of the energy and passion that I suspect is meant to go into relationships has gone straight to my job (oops). While I might note that this is probably because when I put energy into that good things happen, whereas I often feel that home life is now a giant energy suck, I also know that wasn't always true.

    It was really only when two things happened that I began to realize that perhaps my energies were maligned (though I've done next to nothing to fix it). The first happened when I lost my first writing center to another job candidate (I was lucky to get an interview at all as a second year grad student, but still--that position had been a grad student position previously) and then this past month when a good student borderline friend passed. Both had me reduced to tears, listless, and utterly depressed. These were, I thought at the time, more extreme reactions than I expected. More like losing a relationship...

    ...well fuck.

    In any case, I'm not so miserable about my job. I'm overloaded, yes, but there are truly wonderfully funny things that happen fairly often. I promise to post them here. :)


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