I didn't go in to the job season with high hopes, but when the first job ads started appearing last September, I was encouraged. I've been adjuncting for the past three years; the only full time teaching gig I ever had was right out of college, a visiting assistant professor spot. I'm 31, single, and not tied to any geographical spot.
I went through the same process we all do, with letters and vitae and teaching statements. I had a good response and made quite a few second steps with writing samples, sample syllabi, and transcripts.
Then when the year-end national convention came around, I was astounded by a total of 4 interviews. Those all went well. I felt positive; I got good feedback through them. I scurried home during the winter break and waited, and then got three flyback visits.
I staggered them to allow me to keep my own classes going, and made visits from mid January to mid February. Each was a pleasure. Each 1-2 day event was well planned and thoughtful. The jobs felt so different to me, different cities, different states, a rural town, a big metropolis. One job featured an emphasis on teaching, the others were more like my grad school, a focus on scholarship.
The people I met were friendly, bright, and welcoming. At one interview, the chair of the department walked me around the beautiful and hilly campus and said, "I can see you here in the fall!"
Although it was against my better judgment, over the past couple of days I've looked at homes for rent and lease in these various spots, imagining where my stuff would go. What would my view be? How would I get my boxes and things there? In which direction would the job compass spin, and in which direction would I be headed? I imagined cleaning out this apartment, cleaning the carpets one last time, getting that security deposit, closing the cracked and peeling front door on my life as an under-employed academic.
I talked to some close friends about my search, weighing the pros and cons of each job, which one looked the best, which one would be the most work. I sat in a chair on my patio and thought, "If I could pick which 2 offers to get, these would be them."
Then over the past 2 days it all came to a crashing end. One email and two phone calls later and I was out of every search. One place hired someone within the department. Two others had hired people "freshly minted." I was told I had done well in my visit, but that the other person's profile was a better fit. One of the people told me he was sure I would not be on the market long.
But of course he was wrong. It'll be another year of adjuncting for me, of course, another year of putting aside money in order to pay for the job season. Another year of wondering if I should stay in the game, despite the fact that I'm in debt to my loans, my credit cards, and - embarrassingly - my parents.