Tuesday, December 11, 2007

T-Minus Two Weeks to MLA and Counting

So I'm sitting here, eating cheese, because it makes me happy, and I'm currently in an upswing about waiting. For the instant. I swear, the job search makes me feel like I'm bipolar. And that is said only in the utmost empathy with people who suffer from bipolar disorder, not mocking or making light of it. This morning I got a call! ---- but it was confirming a dental appointment. In the space of 30 seconds I experienced the complete cycle from euphoria to despair, from planning the whole future to assuming nothing would ever work out in the future ---- basically the entire three-month or so experience on the job market last year, condensed into two rings and a hello.

But just before writing this (and after the commencing of cheese-eating) I checked in with Dissertation Buddy, who, while earnestly wanting to cheer me up, needs to grade all her students' research papers so that she can return them at the final tomorrow morning. I think she had just started. "Maybe it's just because I can distract myself with all these deadlines and you can't," she commented, "but I haven't really started to worry yet. I mean, look at what I'm doing; I assume that all the search committees are just as bad of procrastinators as me." That cheered me up. About half of my jobs on the wiki haven't posted much of anything, so I could see the rest running around like chickens with their heads cut off under grading, thinking to themselves, "I got in such shit trouble for not having the grades uploaded by the deadline last time --- we have next week to deal with all that committee stuff after grading. Now where the fuck did I put the students' participation grades?" At least I hope that's how search committee members talk to themselves, 'cause we'd get along splendidly, I tell you. I could pass them cheese and commiserate with them and mention that the vandals who attacked their office with a Bureaucracy Bomb (piles of forms and papers everywhere!) had hit up my office too. So, right now I'm feeling ok. Except for the part about talking to imaginary search committee members.

Today, in more boring non-news, I put clothes on and went into campus. This helped my productivity immensely. Not that I usually go on to campus naked, mind you; it's just getting out of the house, dressed nicely as if I have a plan or a schedule, really helped trick me into thinking there was something I had to do when I got there. And there was! I have this book I need to summarize and then explain why it's wrong. Well, not wrong in a bad way, but in a productive, totally interesting way that makes me have all sorts of new, fascinating discoveries about my topic. I want to sum it up in a couple pages or so and then extend out the argument, with some critiques, into my own argument. (I started this a couple weeks ago, or more? Anyway, I keep having to start over when derailed by a day of internet-watching and self-centered wallowing in despair.) So today I actually put in a full day of work and made it through the book! (again. This is at least the third time I've read it. First time creating a summary in my own words though.)

Unfortunately, the summary, with some incoherent, stream-of-consciousness objections on my part interspersed, is about 13 pages. Including a three-page long quote I lifted from the book. So, I made some progress, but I've got a lot more work to do in boiling down ---- and this slow, recursive, possibly redundant way of writing and organizing things is the way I write everything, which may explain my slow pace on the diss. And then there's the problem of how do you count this for my counter over there on the right? It doesn't make sense to plop it all in there and then count down, does it? And yet I never know when it's "finished" enough to actually put on the counter either. Ah well. Have some cheese; it's delicious.


spotted dog farm said...

hang in there... at least you're inspiring us lurkers with your candor and travails! i love the stuff about getting dressed and going to campus, because that's one hurdle i can't seem to clear right now.

Charles Montgomery said...


I'm sort of attention challenged and although I read this blog regularly I can't tell if you're going for a Masters or a PhD?

I can tell your cat is cute, although he/she is obviously only hiding behind the tattered crenellations of poststructuralism to avoid Heidegger.

One darn smart cat..

I ask the question not only because I'm a retard, but because I have some other questions about all the tenseness (here and elsewhere) about the job-hunting season..

kermitthefrog said...

I think my own word meter has finally exhausted its usefulness. Not because I'm done, certainly, but there's a lot of rewriting and rearranging to do. So I'll take some cheese, thanks.

zombieswan said...

As a person in the unenviable position of applying for a position at the very university where I currently work as a lowly adjunct (which is very. weird.) I can confirm the fact that most of the committees are indeed racing around the halls, with hair in messy buns and/or hunkering over computers with back to back final exams and grading. They have not thought much of plowing through the 200 applications for the one job. (That's what I heard from Fabulous Department Secretary about a week ago. It may be more by now). They are probably eating cheese, although more likely candybars, cause there's a big old basket of them in the faculty breakroom. They are most likely also saying "where the bloody hell are my grades for attendance" (One of the members is British. Hence the bloody.)

Next week, when grades are in, is when I imagine my school's three member committee will turn to the folders. And weed out the ones that aren't even possible. And I am crossing fingers that I am one of those. Have to be one of those or else my head will implode.

But don't stress too much yet. The week before MLA is time for stressing. No wonder everyone wears black!

And I thought it was funny that, at the precise moment I clicked through here, I was eating Manicotti. Loaded with cheese.

zombieswan said...

Wait.. let me rephrase. I want to be one of the ones NOT weeded out, one of the ones in the "let's interview her please" pile. My modifier was all dangly there. Sorry. It's all the cheese.

Fifi Bluestocking said...

Mmmm...cheese! Hang in there.

Sisyphus said...

Ye gods idgie ---- are you going to campus naked!?!? what sort of campus are _you_ at, anyhow?

rwellor: I have an MA (two actually; one for each arm, I guess) and am finishing up my PhD. Right now I'm trying for tenure-track jobs at four-year colleges and universities, which is a bit ... different ... from most other types of job hunts.

Kermit, what happened to your plans to have finished the chapter in five days? ;)

good luck with that Dr Zombieswan! And yes, I was wondering about your earlier comment's phrasing.

and thanks, fifi! Cheese to you too.

Belle said...

Oh yeah. The committees are up to their eyebrows in paper work, dithering about losing those darned grade sheets, the committee meetings, and the blasted email and oh yeah, the ice storm that messed it all up by knocking out power, shutting the univ down during finals week. The air is blue with curses and calls to the grading gnomes, who are all horrendously late.

And as soon as grades are done, maybe we can get the last of the stuff caught up and address that mound of applications.

Dame Eleanor Hull said...

Belle, are we at the same school? I guess a lot of people got an ice storm this week. If the grading gnomes show up, give them hell for skipping their appointment with me.

zombieswan said...

However, yesterday, said committee DID meet to discuss things. In the faculty lounge, no less. Where the candybars are. And I had to NOT go in there, although I hope, very much, that they talked about me.

Sigh. This job thing sucks.

I remember blithely saying back in my undergad days that it wasn't about the money, it was about reading and learning and all those things undergrads say.

Now that I've read all those books and learned all that stuff (I'm deliberately sounding kind of freshman-ish here, in case you wonder) I just want a job. So I can pay the bills and yet love what I'm doing.

Good luck Sisyphus. I hope you hear something soon!