Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Great Drizzle of 2009

You'll never believe it, but it's raining! Enough to get the streets wet and actually require the windshield wipers on, which means of course that the accident rate in California has just gone through the roof. And I know, because I was just (stupidly) driving out in the rain shortly after dark (even more stupidly) and people are just not slowing down or paying any extra attention, despite the fact that driving in the rain is dangerous and all their fellow Californians on the road are stupid. Ah well. I survived. I became furious at least fifty different times and started immediately lecturing nonexistent passengers on general driver stupidity. As I have said before, it's a good thing I can't blog the various driving snafus I witness because this blog would be devoted to nothing but traffic bitching.

In other news, I am very tired, I have been working hard at sending out my job applications and yet it feels like I am not getting nearly enough done, I found a worse-than-typo in an already-sent letter ----- a sentence which appeared in one part of the letter reappeared in almost identical form as a transition on the second page ---- and I am refusing to check just how many letters I have sent out this way, and I don't have anything to do in the evenings these days because my eyes hurt and I don't want to think and I have almost no activities here that don't require looking at something and thinking about it. But if I just crash at 9 pm I'll wake up and be irritable around 3 once again. And there's nothing on even at 3 am.

I'm pretty burnt out on the whole job thing. Whereas I was obsessive and terrified the first year I applied for jobs, and panicky the second, and the third time kinda felt good and went smoothly, like I had finally learned the ropes (unfortunately with no success), this time I'm just unable to care. And that's a bad thing when it comes to quality control of the apps, or even just sending them out. Fuck tailoring. Fuck including any apt details about your programs that indicate I have exhaustively researched your institution and discovered in my heart the myriad ways my teaching and research approaches mesh with your mission statement. Fuck listing potential course titles and describing how the classes on your books match my teaching experience. Fuck even the "your job posted on the MLA Job Information List," fuck "cordially," fuck even spelling out my university's name for fanciness's sake; I need that fucking half line to cram another mote of teaching philosophy in there.

I vaguely remember blogging about how I almost didn't finish, refused to finish, my dissertation with less than a chapter and a month to go ---- how I've always had this incredible problem with finishing things. I'll be incredibly invested and anxious and freaking out about, say, a final, writing and working away at it furiously, and then something will just click and I'll feel myself go, I can't do this anymore, I'm done, and I'll get up and turn it in unfinished, right there in the middle of the sentence. I do this with deadlines all the time if I'm not careful. I have to make sure that a conference paper or seminar paper is in acceptable form long before the deadline and I'm just polishing it, or else I won't have anything to present when that little thing in my head goes click and I just walk. Well, now I'm feeling it pretty strongly with the whole job search thing, with academia, with everything. Fuck that shit. And so I'm fighting it but it has come awfully early in the process, considering I haven't even sent out most of the apps yet. I hope that I don't just send my stuff out but actually force myself to bother with doing a good job on it.

Ah, who am I fucking kidding? It won't make one whit of difference.


fatedplace said...

If you're in the same part of CA as Bitch, Ph.D and I (read just north of LA), then there was much more than a drizzle. I was at the B & N in Ventura and it was a solid rain for several hours. This made for extremely enjoyable writing on their covered porch.

On the subject of CA drivers in the rain? Yes, they are idiots. They don't know to turn on their headlights; they forget to leave more space to avoid misting the cars around them; they slow down and speed up erratically; and they assume you're okay with them driving like scared ninnies. It's disgraceful.

Keep up the faith on your applications. What a nightmare now, right? But as everyone keeps telling me about my future in the academy--you'll make it. Your dedication to your blog and the application process shows you're not likely to throw in the towel anytime soon. Thank goodness, because I'm definitely likely to throw in the towel at the first sign of trouble. You remain a model of persistence for lots of us out there making our way through our programs and the (poor) markets in our own fields.

Maude said...

I know it's not much, but I'm cheering for you!!

Let me know if you need a pair of eyes for proofreading or whatever. :)

Phul Devi said...

A huge amount of success in this field is simple persistence. It's so fucking hard and demoralizing, particularly at your stage, that lots of people do just chuck it. But you've overcome this before, and you can again: push through it.

Because you really want to, deep down.
Or because it's as good a thing to spend time on as anything else.
Or because I told you to, and you need someone else to tell you to do it.
Or because, whatever happens, you want to know that you didn't screw yourself.

Whatever the reason, push on through.

Bardiac said...


I sent out at least ten letters with the word "Renaissance" misspelled.

I wish something could make this whole phd/job process reasonably humane.

Bavardess said...

I'm sorry you're having such a tough time. I've had that very same overwhelming desire to just pack it in and walk out, mid-sentence, during final exams. But staying in the room (metaphorically or literally) is part of the process and sometimes, it's a major achievement in itself.

the rebel lettriste said...

Rock it like a hurricane.
You can totally do this.

Flavia said...

I'm sorry Sis. But you can do this and you will do this.

Thinking of you.

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

I'm right there with you. This year is my third year on the market, and I am none too happy about it. It sucks being an overachiever your whole life only to get to the point where everything should be working out and you realize that you're at the edge of a cliff instead of riding on a nice tidy bridge to career happiness. I feel like a failure all the time. Maybe this time it will work out. Who knows?