Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Plotting Plan B

Ok, there is no way that I'm getting that job. Seriously, I could retrain as an ed major, but there are actual ed majors out there, so why did you even contact me? You probably should have re-written the ad for an ed specialist instead of a lit one.

Not to say I wouldn't do it, but that in this economy there are people who have professionally studied exactly that area who don't have jobs, I am sure, and there's no reason why they would make me a job offer with no experience in that area instead of someone who's right up that alley.

Anyway, this means that Operation Move Into Parents' Basement is on. I've been packing bit by bit while waiting to hear back from places/do my last interview. Now I guess it's time to actually start making calls and giving notice and reserving a POD and whatnot. Sigh.

In other news, I got an email from a friend that our panel was not accepted to the conference this fall. That's ok, as I was worried about how I was going to get off work (whatever work that may turn out to be) to go. Now I am thinking: do I apply for one of the open seminar-thingies? Do I bother to go? Or what? Hmm.

Once again, though a little later than last year, it is time to figure out what I am doing for the next year. Am I re-tooling? Should I try to make my job materials somehow more "marketable" by doing something with publications or the book?

This of course brings up the question: which job market?

Of course a retail job or whatever won't need anything on my cv. I had absolutely zero interest in my admin applications this spring (and I sent out a lot), so I think I am not a particularly viable candidate. (This is not really the time to break into administration, between the layoffs and large pool of unemployed experienced candidates.) I can do the nonacademic office-admin search, but again, this is a different sort of retooling.

I had a lot of interest in the post-MLA market this year, which I can't really pin on anything in particular that I did this year and not last year. Unless it means it took me a year or two to figure out how to create the right sort of app materials. Likewise I have had no luck converting phone interviews or flyouts into job offers, and I can't figure out anything in particular that deep-sixed my candidacy. (Side note: "fit" sucks.) I had interviews with a couple private high schools, a couple community colleges, and some teeny private liberal-arts colleges. I seem to look good as a generalist.

Thing is, I used my community college resume (no not cv) for all those positions, so trying to publish something would not help there. I didn't even list my dissertation or any publications on the resume. And that seemed to help. And I have never really garnered much interest from the research-oriented places, so would working on my publications more this summer help anything? I just don't know.

And will there even be any four-year market this fall? I believe this fall will be even worse in terms of job openings, not better. And I don't believe that the market will ever improve; we've had a very sick patient for 20-30 years now and this recession may be the shock that kills it off completely.

So then, what am I going to do during Operation Basement? Hmm. The idea of working on research is pleasant and pleasurable to me, but I don't know if that would help my job chances. Teaching actually in a community college would help for those cc/generalist positions, but summer schools have basically been closed due to the budget crisis. (My niece tells me that all the Bay Area community colleges have no language classes this summer. She can't get a class. Of course, she could have not failed the comp class she was taking during the school year and then she wouldn't have this problem. But failing/dropping classes does not inspire any anxiety within her as it does for me.) I could put in for fall adjunct work and then try to get a retail/coffee/office type job for summer. Hmm. That prospect does not exactly fill me with joy. Nor does regular office work.

I could do anything, I guess. Read the collected works of David Foster Wallace, write a novel, learn a language, travel the world, revise my book manuscript ---- I don't particularly feel like doing any of those. I don't particularly feel like doing anything at all. But I know I will be bored out of my gourd within a week of moving back home, and I will also feel guilty and crappy about not bringing in any money unless I have a Plan and am industriously working away at steps within said plan.

So what am I doing? Does anybody know?

Right now I'm going to put off making any decisions by packing a box. But at some point everything is going to be packed and I'm going to have to come back to the problem.


Shane in SLC said...

If you think your best prospects are at teaching-oriented institutions, can you publish some sort of pedagogy scholarship? It might help convince committees that you're not a pure researcher at heart who is "settling" for their job, but rather you're someone interested in teaching for its own sake.

Check the MLA CFP site; are there any Approaches to Teaching... books being proposed on authors you've written about before? There are journals devoted to scholarship on the teaching of literature as well...

Just a thought. Sorry you're back in this boat again.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I agree with Shane about the pedagogy research. It generally helped candidates I saw.

Also, if you don't have on-line teaching experience, you should work on getting some. It's another area of flexibility that many folks have now. At my CC, on-line courses fill-up immediately, so they're often a safe set of courses to add.

Also, you should make sure that the CC's near your parents have your CV -- they may need to add sections at the last minute and it helps to be on top of the pile.

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

Okay, before I even get started, my word verification is "folly." Sigh.

Having looked into a lot of moving companies recently, I have found that you can actually move cheaper not doing the pod thing. A lot of companies will move all your stuff for you and drive it wherever, all for less than the cost of the Pod. So do some research and see if you can get something cheaper. For us, it was a difference of about 500 bucks discount, but 500 bucks is 500 bucks. Plus, a lot of places will price match if you're saying you're going with someone else. Or they will offer something to you for "free." Look to it!

I applied for a job the other day that asked for some personal likes and dislikes. While writing up my letter, I realized that I'd been tailoring myself to fit job notices, but that I hadn't really been myself in any of the letters. So I said screw it and wrote honestly about myself. I figure I don't really want a job that doesn't want me for who I am. If it's all about "fit," then I'd better start showing my true self. Maybe I'll "fit" better that way. Who effing knows?

As for what to do while at your parents' house... I vote for travel the world. But if you had that kind of money, you probably wouldn't be moving home. :-/

Arbitrista said...

I'm so sorry you're having to go through this. I understand how frustrating this all is, how demoralizing. I was younger then, but years ago I had to pack up and go live with the parents again. It took me a while, but it does get better.