Monday, April 19, 2010

Sitting On the Edge of a Cliff, Hanging Out

So I didn't really do anything today, except go to my part-time job. And one of my colleagues there asked me about my article (yeeee!) and my book project. I told said colleague about the revising and then the re-revising and then the proofing of the article, and how, sadly, the book project went into a stall and then languished and I haven't done anything at all with it. Mostly, I said, I've been applying to and being rejected from the spring academic job market, with a large sprinkling of attempts to break into administration in there too.

And then I did a bunch of errands, got my dry cleaning, registered some bureaucratic stuff, etc, and went home, and felt like my day was done. Somehow, this has become my life.

Except it isn't, because now that I am down to my one part-time job I am losing money each month and it won't be long until I have nothing and can't even pay my rent.

So obviously I need to be applying out to jobs, right? Sigh. I don't know if I can do this anymore. I have a long list of jobs culled from last ads week, and I think I am not going to apply to any of them. They are lectureships for comp that are advertised as one-year or term positions, and they are all over the country ---- Florida, Wisconsin, NY, etc. The salary plus the temp nature of these jobs, plus the fact that there will be a huge applicant pile even for these, has all combined to put me off. I'm not saying I wouldn't relocate across the country for a t-t job, I'm not saying I wouldn't relocate for a comp job, and I'm not saying I wouldn't relocate for a visiting or limited term position, but put all of those together for about 30K and I just don't see it as worth it. Hell, if that theoretical comp job was a permanent lecturer position instead of a limited term one, I'd be all over it. But it's not.

And the next step then is to go back to the nonacademic job thingy, but I am so not excited about that. I was whining to my sister a few weeks ago and ended my speech with, "I don't know what I want to do when I grow up, waaaaaa! Figure it out for me!" She laughed and said that of course I knew what I wanted to do, but I couldn't find anyone that would pay me for it. She said I had a real calling but it wasn't being properly appreciated. And I guess that's true --- unlike a lot of people I have talked to who ended their PhD burnt out on research or sick of teaching, I still really love it all. To the extent that I have a hard time applying to or even understanding the point of many of these nonacademic jobs.

I have tasked my sister with figuring out what I should be doing now (was on the phone with her again today). She will get back to me. Right now I'm waiting ---- I have academic applications out, but they are recent enough that I don't expect a response quite yet. Or maybe, any minute now. Or, maybe this deafening silence will stretch on long enough to make it clear that they are all going to fill their positions without contacting me. Sigh. It's this total lack of certainty that's the real killer. Ideally I could hear back from them soon and get hired for something and move off to some new place.

Or, less ideally, I could move back in with my parents or sister (still haven't negotiated that cat thing, though!) or my cousin and start over and really throw myself into the nonacademic local job search. I don't feel like doing this yet, because of the previous idealistic paragraph. But then again, I have been in this holding pattern for---? I was going to say since January, but really, let's count the fall job market too. Argh.

My sister suggested I might have to move twice and that I should just get on with it. But then when I asked if she would help me move (baby sister whining alert!), she said yes but then took it back for until after my niece graduates. So I'd stay here until the end of spring semester then throw myself on the charity of whatever family member I can. I can handle that, I think.

That leaves now until mid-June here in GradSchoolLand. What should I be doing with myself? I could continue on as is --- acting as if my pt job was a regular full time job and just hang out the rest of the time, while trying to spend as little money as possible. Or I could apply for those damn temp lecturer positions. Or...? What? Revise my book? Apply to crappy nonacademic jobs even though I don't live in the area yet? Watch a lot of movies? Start a hobby? I don't know. I'm open to suggestions.


Shane in SLC said...

Is there some sort of freelance thing you could do? Advising rich high school kids on getting into college? Compiling indexes for books? Editing dissertations for foreign students in the sciences?

I think you're right about those jobs. There's no point in moving across the country for an institution not willing to make the most minimal investment in you and your future.

Bardiac said...

I wish there were more I could do than think good thoughts. The one thing about moving somewhere (like the upper midwest) is that rents tend to be really cheap. When I moved from that school up the road to the midwest, my rent went down by more than half and my car insurance was a third of what it had been. And if you were in the upper midwest, we could have a blogger meetup! Where I am, the one year comp positions often end up being highly renewable, and while the adjuncting position is far less than ideal, it's better than merely surviveable.

I hope things start looking up soon.

medieval woman said...

Well, I think you can start revising your book - see if you get hooked on it again. And would it cost anything (other than time and a bit of your sanity) to apply for those positions? Who knows??

It's nice that you could live with a family member, even though I know you don't want to. But I'm thinking about you and hope something happens soon!!!


Phul Devi said...

Nothing much to add, except one more voice of support. I'm hoping and wishing for a change in fortune for you!

Ms.PhD said...

I am so with you. Same here.

My advice to to revise your book, apply for the jobs wherever, even if you think you don't want to move, and cross that bridge after you interview and get the offer(s). I agree that moving around sucks, especially for not much money, but it's true that rent is cheaper some places than others. Lately I think I would be happy to move somewhere for a great job, even if it's short term, if the rent were cheap and the location peaceful.

Unfortunately I think the only jobs I can get right now are not great, which is why I feel the same as you do. Hang in there.

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

Yes, the rent is cheaper in places outside of CA, but the jobs pay less too. Of course, of you were offered a job that would be too little to live on, you could always reject it. I would say that you could live somewhat comfortably in the Midwest making 30k a year. It would be a no frills life, but I suspect, like me, you're used to that.

But to make 30k, you'd probably have to teach a LOT of classes, like a 5/5. The only adjuncting job I had in Indiana was a six week summer class in 2002, and it paid 1800 dollars. Maybe the pay has gotten better? Maybe they pay PhDs more. Who knows? Anyway, it would be worth looking into. Better than moving in with family.

Or you could do what I do (much to my feminist chagrin) and live off of a man who is so in love with you that he'll support you no matter what. But that takes some time (and marriage) to get to that point. While you're unattached, the VAP positions are probably a better bet.

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

That should say "if you were offered a job." Stupid keyboard.

Belle said...

Okay, waaaay out in the blue here... what about applying for a teaching Fulbright? According to the Fulbright people, you might even be able to take the cat!

Sisyphus said...

Belle, wouldn't I need to be sponsored by my home institution? I don't currently *have* one. And my friend applied for the grad research grant; I remember it being at least a year-long process to go through, which doesn't help with this summer's rent. Sigh.

Fie, I would move for a 30k comp job in the mid west, and even on the east cost. But I won't move for one that has "nonrenewable" or "nonrenewable past the second year" in the ad. ---- Ah, if only I were smart and emulated the stupid girl in our program who was trying to marry rich (before she got kicked out) instead of mocking her! At least I could have suckered someone to cover all my debt. See, I just don't have marketable skills for this day and age!

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

Sis - oh believe me, I didn't marry rich. I married "just getting by, but supporting you, nonetheless." And it wasn't supposed to be that way, but it worked out that way when we had kids. Oooo... I know! Have a kid! Then Uncle Sam will take care of you. hahaha. God, I hate our system...

But oh so funny - Pallin is my word verification. You could go into politics, don-cha know? ah, but you need money for that too. Bugger.