Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Some Horrible and Original Content that Really Happened
I sort of lost my shit at the conclusion of my last job interview in the spring. Normally I'm fine with rejections, but I don't like being part of the stage show the SC felt the need to put on just to hire the long term adjunct/spouse of the full professor department chair. Thank your inept admin for cluing me in on my lineup of competitors, the day before I flew in to interview. A quick Google search, CV download, and the pieces came crashing together. Now I was in a situation where either a) I wouldn't get the job and just wasted two days of my time or b) I would get the job and immediately have one pissed off motherfucker of a department head.
I never did get to meet anyone in the department or the department head during my interview, which was probably for the best. The cherry on top was my meeting with the Dean. It was a special hour of crazy we shared. Dean telling me I probably wouldn't get an offer. Dean complaining about how little s/he was paid. Dean telling me inappropriate personal stories. Dean comparing the current batch of job seekers to cheap televisions in those big box stores ("So many to chose from! If we don't like one, there is another on the next shelf!"). Dean letting me know how s/he had just decided to restructure the department I was applying to, a decision made just in the last few hours. Each new utterance was worse than the last.
I almost unloaded everything. I probably should have, but I wanted my travel reimbursement. So I played dumb and kept my mouth shut. Three weeks pass and I got the reimbursement check (at least you were professional about something!). Two months pass and I get the thin letter, no phone call. But that's alright, as we all know cheap televisions don't have feelings.
It was the last of a bad job season (my 3rd and possibly last). I don't know why, but it hit me harder than the others. Maybe because I was so excited for my campus interview, and it turned into one of the most painful and ridiculous experiences of my life. Immediately after my interview (and before the letter) I returned to my domicile, sat down on my couch, and spent the better part of an hour staring at the bare walls and reviewing the decisions that had brought me to this low point. The crux of the matter was if I thought three more pubs as a postdoc would make the next job year any better than the last.
Suddenly I couldn't handle my shitty apartment anymore, hundreds of miles from my spouse, my family, and my friends. I hated where I was at that moment and I hated the poor choices that had brought me there. I started packing up my apartment that night and quit my postdoc the next day. I just couldn't bring myself to restart the cycle again in September. It felt fantastic to take back some small portion of control over my own life.
Months have passed now and things are immensely better. I had the whole summer to look for adjunct gigs and I landed a bunch. It's probably not like this in every field, but I've had department chairs actually begging me to teach classes. I almost laughed out loud at these moments:
"Of course! All I had to do was not be tenure track and suddenly you need me in the worst way. Hey, I'll get back to you in two to three months. Oh, you need to know right now? I'm sorry, upon the advice of my council, all I can tell you is that my search is still progressing."
So yeah, that really happened. How was your fucking summer?