Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Going back to Cali

And I'm back...

It's been nice, not doing anything in particular. I'm resting up, reading a little, and picking away at next semester's syllabi --- but not in any serious or commited way. I've also been watching some movies ---- though since they are from my brother's/nephew's movie collection, they are utter crap. I managed to avoid Transformers and The Transporter 3, but watched Iron Man. 'sallright. I also finally watched Toy Story 3, which made me tear up a little bit but nowhere the way Up did. I never thought much of the Toy Story series compared to their other films. Will continue catching up from the past year or so, but, as I said, not any quality movies. and my sister has gotten my mom hooked on Lost (which I never bothered to get into), so both of their Netflix listings are stocked up on that.

I still haven't decided what I'm doing about MLA yet. Ok, no I think that by default I've decided to avoid MLA and drive back to Utter Suburbia with my parents right after Christmas, but I'm not sure how long I'm going to stay before going back to Postdoc City. Stick to the original date and get back a couple days before class starts, or go back a bit earlier. Eh. Dunno.

I also don't know what my "next plan" is going to be --- and of course, a zillion different people are asking me that right now, since I have at least four different family households out here, each getting different bits of info and bits of understanding of what "I have no MLA interviews" means, so that is stressing me out. I've had to explain the situation a zillion different times already, and have had to answer "I don't know yet" to the "next plan" questions.

What do I do if I haven't gotten any MLA interviews this season? I feel like my comp-teaching-heavy postdoc position would make me look less attractive to research institutions (esp. if they are like my PhD place and the prestige of the previous workplaces/degree places matters a lot). I also think that all that fresh comp experience would make me look like a better fit for the teaching-focused, 4-4 type institutions. But I applied to both kinds, with no results. Now I'm trying to figure out what to be doing in spring to improve my chances ... but what? I have some publications now; do I do more, or would more pubs be off-putting to the teaching places? Or is there something I should be doing instead that would be impressive to those teaching places, with more of a benefit than more publishing? Or do I assume that this means I will never get a professor job and use the remaining year and a half of the postdoc to just push into some new sort of field? Having said that, I don't really like that idea. Or think it will work --- remember my unemployed-and-giving-up-on-academia period?

Yeah, that's me --- planning obsessively ahead rather than looking at the next immediate step. Part of this break is about making a plan for what I want to accomplish over spring semester, but I also have to remind myself to stay in the moment and really enjoy my relaxing and really work on spending quality time with my family. I'm never good at that. Particularly when my family is so often annoying and hard to put up with. But I don't want to waste my family time with my planning/worrying time (which is a pleasure of its own, in my own weird way).

At some point I also want to do all those end of the year reflection posts everyone does, too, but first and most important is to hang out with family members until they are sick of me and shove me on a plane. :)


Dr. Virago said...

There are lots of places in between all-teaching and all-research all the time. Ours is such a place. We want well-rounded candidates who look like they have a research program and who'll do well in the classroom with our students population, so we like post-docs, VAPs, and adjunct lecturers who are also not giving up on the research, and we're happy to hire someone from a heavier teaching load (ours is a sane 3/2) or a place that isn't top tier. (*We're* not top tier, so we'd be hypocritical to be so snobby.) Both research and teaching are taken seriously in tenure and promotion here.

So I guess what I'm saying is that you shouldn't assume all places that aren't PhD-granting departments are non-research-oriented. More publications definitely wouldn't be off-putting to our kind of university (large, regional, public, MA-granting in our department, with a few select PhD-granting programs in other departments). And if you like your research and want to continue pursuing it, then you should do so for that reason alone!

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

Well, you could always do a pedagogy paper for a conference. That would impress teaching institutions. But I agree with the previous commenter that there are plenty of in-between schools that would be happy with your experience. Perhaps the spring offerings will have more opportunities for both of us. I have no interviews either. There are still a couple of places that have nothing posted on the wiki. We'll see what happens.

J. Otto Pohl said...

Have you considered looking overseas for University positions? I got my PhD in history in 2004 and then applied for hundreds of jobs before landing one in Asia. Next month I start work at a much larger and prestigious university in Africa. It seems to me that in a global economy going overseas is really the only option to work in education.