Tuesday, January 31, 2012



I just got an app rejected that I only sent in last week. In terms of "jobs that I sorta fit but am not an exact fit," I thought I looked pretty good.

The kicker? The posting doesn't even close until the end of Feb. FML!

Maybe I did something wrong in the app and got bounced by hr before the committee could even see it. Or maybe fate has rained down a budget crisis on their head and had to cut the position entirely.

That's what you get for rejecting me, you assholes. Do not tempt my wrath!

So anyway, this isn't making today's to-do list of trying to muddle my way through those damn community college applications any easier. Grr.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Priorities, People!

And by "people" I am of course yelling at myself.

I have not been able to get on top of stuff yet this semester. There might be something to *not* having so many classes and immediate deadlines that is preventing me allowing me to make excuses and sit around on my ass not working. I'm not super behind --- if you just count my stuff. But if you look at what I *really* need to be working on --- figuring out the job search and/or finishing up with Floyd the article --- you would see that I am sadly out of whack in my priorities, finishing up the low-level (or even useless!) tasks at the expense of the important stuff.

Sigh. And having only small amounts of homework so far is also messing up my usual motivation. I have two homework batches to grade today, and then one more class to prep for tomorrow, and what I *should* do is knock those out right away so that I can work on job apps or my article. But instead, grading these response papers, one by one, has been like sloooooowly pulling off a band-aid, each one followed by plenty of internet procrastination. Grrr.

I need to do something to re-set my work habits or hire someone to be my whip-holder or something. I also need to start those oh-so-annoying community college job apps. Or plan a plan for nonacademic jobs. I still haven't made any sort of decision about that.

Hmph. How am I going to stave off a nap while grading homework papers?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

If you like it then you should put a ring on it

I need to do more job applications and get set for all the crap that is posted for the post-MLA job search. Sigh. I went out with people and had more beer than usual (ie none on weeknights) so I am tired and have been just sitting here looking at cute pictures of kittens instead.

Oh, and I had an MLA interview. I have now been rejected for said MLA interview and will not be doing a campus visit. Meh. This rejection, for a variety of reasons, was not nearly so devastating as the post-campus visit rejection from a couple years ago. Which is good, since all that unhappiness came out in ulcers and panic attacks and a bunch of physical symptoms that then inspired more terror and anxiety than the actual rejection did. I guess I have gotten inured to both rejections and my panic attack symptoms and can talk my way down from both. I should be thankful I have coping skills? Eh.

When the chair of the dept. heard that I had been out for an MLA interview she got very flustered, and hastened to point out that they are going to need to replace a lot of the postdocs this year (she wasn't able to fill all the spots last year --- to cover all these freshman comp classes they could easily add 7 more positions, she says) and that she had talked to the dean about extending all of us for a third year. Which is nice, although I'm officially not believing it until you hand me another year contract and ask me to sign it.

On the other hand, I'm not all that keen on staying. I mean, I like the locale and the people and (most) of the courses. But I would exist here very differently if this were a renewable lectureship and I was trying to put down some roots. Adding a year on to a postdoc only extends the temporary-ness, and I am feeling very tired out by the constant job applications. I feel like I have been done with the PhD for so long and I should be somewhere building some sort of career at this point, whether that is academic or not.

Right after the rejection I was sad and totally beating myself up --- not that I had done anything wrong in the interview, because I believe them when they say it was lovely but they have different ideas of fit --- but at the sheer waste of time and energy of all those years of writing up applications and doing job searches and angsting about jobs. All of those hours and pages could add up to a book. Or a huge volunteer or political campaign. Or a huge chunk of a job. It seems like this whole process is a massive waste of smart people's time and resources; think of all those people who do this year after year for months, and then think about the world's problems that could have been solved (or at least alleviated) or beautiful things produced instead. It's sad.

So I went on monster and idealist and the fed gov jobs site and a bunch of other places and thought about getting a nonacademic job. But. Everything I see that I am qualified for (so no stats or quant or finance experience), I don't want to do. It bores me. It looks like crap. I printed off about 5 or so jobs and when I contemplate the possibility of working at these jobs for a year or two, I shrug and go "meh." I am ready to settle down and stay put and have a decent salary, in other words, but am not ready to do just any old crap job to do it.

I was talking with one of the other postdocs and mentioned this --- she had passed along an organizing job, knowing that I like all that social-justice stuff --- and I mentioned the problems I was having that I just mentioned. She said she thought that would be the biggest transition, moving from living for your work to working to live, and I think that's right.

The problem is, I really really love academic work. I just had a great day of teaching where all of my classes went well and I was totally energized and high off it. On my non-teaching day I alternately faffed about and relaxed and edited my article and felt really happy about even the frustrating parts of that process and did teaching prep that accidentally got distracted as I just went off on a bunch of cool tangents and learned cool things while preparing an introduction to research activity for comp. Unlike my office mate who is feeling dispirited here and "exhausted" by the experience of teaching, I love it and totally thrive on it --- even here where there is a heavy load and unprepared, often unappreciative students. (And my style in the classroom is so totally manic and silly and happy and the office mate teaches in such a flat, low-key, dead style that this person just exudes the aura of not wanting to be there ---- which in turn changes how the students interact and causes more behavior problems for this person). I'm not like the people who write on alt-ac or who leave the tenure track jobs because they hate the profession or the research side of it (I complain about it, but I love to complain, if you get my drift). I just can't land a job that will allow me to stay there and do my job.

I guess I have decided to continue with applying for the academic jobs all this semester ... even though I am increasingly frustrated with the time that is being sucked away from my life. Seriously, does anyone look back on their life and say, I'm so glad I wasted about 5 years with continual job searching? Ugh. And then for afterwards ...?  I am still torn. The options, I guess, are to agree to stay another year in the postdoc and do this all over again. Or pack up and move back to California and stay in my parents' basement (metaphorically) while looking for nonacademic jobs. Because I refuse to do some random job I don't like in a location I don't like.

So, in short, nothing's changed. Except that I know I need to make some decisions. Well, even that's not new. Why do I even work at all? I should just become a professional slacker and sponge off my parents for the rest of my life.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A quick update to announce that I have nothing to announce. Now with article writing update!

So, how are you doing? I have plenty of things to do and no urge to do them. It's been a slow weekend here in Postdoc City. I did a little bit of teaching prep (but there is more on my list) and some yoga. I spent a lot of time knitting and lazing about (but I messed up the knitting to the point where I think I need to start over yet again so I won't even be able to show progress on that) and did a little cooking. Oh, and Kill Bill vol. 1 and 2 were on the other night.

I really really should be working on my article. It is done, so I should clean it up and send it out. I'm afraid to look up in my planner when I first started working on this ... but it may be near the one-year mark; we might be approaching Floyd's birthday. Yeah, definitely time to kick him out of the nest. Unfortunately (or actually fortunately but I'm a big dork), I asked a friend to look it over and she said yes. In the email returning the marked-up version, she says it has lovely writing and good ideas (my strengths) but that the different topics are so awkwardly put together she _almost_ thinks it should be broken into two articles (my big weakness). But that she thinks if I could have a clear reason for why the different ideas are stuck together, and if I really clearly demonstrate that in my intro, it could be a complex, interesting, good article.

This also sounds likely; I agree with her assessment. And yet, who really wants their fears about their writing to be confirmed? I was kinda hoping she would say it was brilliant and I shouldn't change a thing and just send it off. So now I need to open the file and look at her line-by-line comments, and fix the articulations, and rewrite the intro, and snazz up the big claims of the conclusion. Yeah. I just gotta do that. Just gotta look at it. Just look at it. Just look.

Why can't I move?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

On the one hand, I might not be as prepared as I'd like. On the other, I have goat cheese.

I am back in Postdoc City --- damn I hate red-eye flights! and waiting super long times in the airport too keyed up to actually do anything productive while waiting for those flights! and not being able to sleep on said flights because they are up high in the air and are scary! and I was in the middle seat of the middle section!  --- and have now recovered enough that can do useful things. For example:

- scrubbed (really scrubbed!) down my kitchen completely
- cleaned the living room/eating area
- cleaned the downstairs bathroom
- gone on a massive grocery run and got the cat food/litter etc.
- continued to work on a syllabus
- ate goat cheese

Actually, I am still doing that last one. It is nice. I spent a crapload at the grocery store but one of the things I did at the end of the last semester was eat all my "emergency pantry" food, so that I could replace it. And even inside the foil pouches, year-old granola bars taste pretty stale. But now I have a nice full pantry and am ready in case this freezing rain and snow actually hits this week --- or indeed, pretty much ever. (Oh, I still have a bunch of veggies to prep. Remind me to get to those.)

So over break I had this most marvelous fancy meal, and was introduced to pan-seared brussles sprouts with bacon. Wow, that was good! So now I have bacon and brussels sprouts in my fridge ready for me to experiment with. The goat cheese was more of a whim --- although I had a lovely watercress and endive salad with goat cheese crumbles and pomegranate seeds which probably inspired the longing glances toward the specialty cheese section at the back of the store. And that reminds me of my favorite Trader Joe's salad and now I am sad and miss Trader Joes. Sigh.

One drawback of not being here for a month but having the cats here is that the place really really needs cleaning afterwards. I found several dried piles of cat barf that I had to deal with, to say nothing of the general hair and mustiness everywhere. I still have to get to the whole upstairs and I want to do a deep cleaning before school starts again in case I don't really have time to do more than touch-ups during all the teaching madness. And of course I have a lot of work on my syllabi still --- haven't even touched the comp. The Fruit Studies class which was supposedly good and just had to get switched from a T/TH to M/W/F is taking a lot more time than I expected. Which means, of course, that I have probably completely underestimated how long it will take me to work up that damn comp research syllabus.

And to make me even more annoyed, I stopped by campus to deposit some checks and ask some questions about my paycheck, and the student center was closed!!! Presumably with the credit union closed inside it too. Grr. I will have to wait, because I need to talk to a live person.

So I still need to:

- proof/print/copy Fruit Studies syllabus
- update half the Fruit assignments and rewrite the damn Study Questions (thank you, three days a week instead of two! argh.)
- scan and upload the rest of the fruity reading goodness
- drop off stuff at library/pick up other stuff/check ILLs/go to the bank
- figure out the second half of my comp syllabus (??? Eh. I'm at a loss.)
- finish comp syllabus and all homework/ assignment instructions
- update (as in check page #s and edit) Stripy syllabus (and proof and copy etc)
- update comp and stripey websites
- make first day stuff for comp and stripey
- clean the upstairs bathroom (and catbox) my bedroom, and study
- wash massive laundry pile
- pester Dr Does Everything about Floyd
- collapse in exhaustion

Dang. I tired myself out writing that.

I had funny and interesting things to tell you earlier and wanted to say some more about my winter break, but I held off until I couldn't do any more syllabus work and now I'm too tired to think of what I was thinking. It just may continue like this for a while, sorry.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I feel sick today. I've been feeling "off" for a couple days now and having trouble sleeping besides. I have been at my parents' house _way_ too long without any time/freedom to go elsewhere and not be around them.

Monday I hung out at my brother's house, which was quite nice --- I watched him play one of his new PS3 games while I curled up on the couch with my nieces and nephews, and I faffed about with my syllabus. It was really nice, being able to do work and spend some time with the kids and lump around on the couch and make fart jokes when my brother's character blew his war horn on the screen, all at once. At least I thought it was a wonderful day, but at dinner my niece said she felt feverish and sick and nauseated. So now I am worried that I have been made sick. It's hard to tell what's sickness and what's anxiety, though.

Also, I'm a little shocked by how much work I still have left for my classes, considering I have done several days of faffing about on them already. The Fruit Studies class got a new edition of a textbook, and I was smart enough to photocopy just the table of contents for both rather than bring the books, but that means I have a lot of checking to make sure that the stuff is in the order I want it. And I have two of the assignments I want to re-write based on my last semester's experience, but the notes for them are back at Postdoc City.

Yesterday and today I have been working on the comp syllabus and it is still a mess --- it took a long time to go backwards from what the portfolio and end result should be to all the different steps of the process to then slotting in readings I thought would work. And I don't like putting something on a day unless I know what I am going to be doing on that day and how it fits into the overall whole, so that means I am planning out a lot of the day-to-day stuff before getting it into the syllabus. Somebody else wrote about wanting to do it this way, I think it might have been Anastasia. Anyway, there's nothing I hate more than to come into class than thinking "why the hell did I assign this reading? And what connection does it have to what we did yesterday?" And I need to write homework questions and work up my library assignment ideas into a more polished form.

So, in sum, I am feeling too anxious/sick to my stomach to work and still have many many things to do. And I appear to have used up all the internet procrastination. Dangit. I wish my brother hadn't had to go back to work; I could have sat on the couch and watched him hack up orcs or whatever while my niece and nephew tried to put their feet on each other's heads. That sounds relaxing.