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09 July 2007 @ 03:45 pm
I have a great job.  I teach brilliant entertaining students.  I teach topics I'm fascinated by.  I'm given a reasonable amount of flexibility to teach related (or, even, not very related) things.

Currently, the job is part time, adjunct.  I am not tenure track.  In some ways, I've appreciated this - it's left me with enough time to pursue other interests, such as firefighting and EMS.  And I've had time to read trashy novels and admire the millions of trees in this paradise of a location.  But really, I want tenure track.  So I gritted my teeth, and girded my loins (what does that mean? no, don't answer that) and told a faculty member who's going into phased retirement that I wanted his job, and could he please give me some advice. 

So we just had a talk about it, and he did give me advice.  Some was a bit intimidating ("What if there are 400 applicants for the position?" - he said there were 200 or 300 - I forget - for his when he applied).  Other bits were good.  It's not his decision, of course.  And I still would have to wait for two or three years. 

There are one or two other slim (perhaps very slim) possibilities for tenure track; I'll have to check them out, too.  But first I'm going to wait until I've restored my batteries.  Job questing is a horrid experience.  How does anyone do it?  Or is that just my fragile ego, talking?
sethb on July 9th, 2007 09:58 pm (UTC)
We do it because we have to.

Supposedly, some people like doing it. That's just weird.
velochicdunordvelochicdunord on July 9th, 2007 10:00 pm (UTC)
It sucks. It especially sucks when there are a ton of applicants who are young and hungry and want the job, you're older, senior and showing a wee bit of jadedness around the corners. Can you say a "don't call us, we'll call you" situation?

Have Plan B & C thought out and ready. It gives you scope to a) say "no" when necessary (which I have, twice. I would have been miserable in the positions) and to be patient and able to wait for the gig you want.

OTOH, given that I had to invoke Plan C while Plan B slowly unfolds, I was able to waltz in as the right candidate at the right time with a stellar skill set for the job. They love me and there's a good chance of interesting opportunities if I stick around.

Granted it was for half of what I was making before, but I'm far less bitter about doing something different and new than I would be if I was an old seasoned hand suddenly doing what I'd been doing before for half the money.
Cryscrystlyte on July 9th, 2007 10:47 pm (UTC)
It can be an incredibly horrid experience, but I'm thinking that at least you have an edge. You're employed there already and they like you, at least as far as I can tell by what you've said over the years.

The biggest hurdle I've always had has been in getting hired - after that, everyone has always been pleased as punch with my performance. I do think you've got a step on most, if not all, the other applicants for whenever you go after the job. Good luck, and follow your heart.
a wind-carried wing: snakesssaenohe on July 9th, 2007 11:05 pm (UTC)
*gasp!* You're looking into becoming the new Bob Engel? (well, I assume you're speaking about Bob...) This is so exciting. I wish you the best of luck! And believe me, I know how you feel with the job search - no one wants to give you straight answers and it's tough to be left hanging when your financial security is in the balance. Plus it's no small thing when you get your hopes up, only to have them squashed. But I HIGHLY doubt yours will be squashed....I agree with the above comment in that you definitely are a cut above the rest and since you already have quite a bit of experience at Marlboro, I think the committee(s) will give you a second look.
betonicabetonica on July 10th, 2007 01:18 pm (UTC)
gosh, you must be psychic.

I'm not worried about the committee (whenever we get there - two years?) giving me a second look - it's pretty likely that I'd be on the short list. If there's anyone spectacular from somewhere else, though.... but that's a long ways away, so I've decided to mostly pretend it won't even happen for now.
lorreslorres on July 10th, 2007 01:41 pm (UTC)
so I've decided to mostly pretend it won't even happen for now.

Hmmmm. What about the option of quietly going about making wonderful things happen at the college? Would that just break your heart if you didn't get a position?
betonicabetonica on July 10th, 2007 03:36 pm (UTC)
Good point, and something I discussed with the prof yesterday. Currently there isn't anyone in the department writing grants, and I've been meaning to write a specific one for two years, now. Also, there were once many field trips to cool places like the desert southwest, Belize, etc. I'm not so much a good person for those because I find myself intimidated by places I've never been (especially foreign countries - and gawdforbid they speak a foreign language!) but perhaps teaming up with someone would work for that. There are some bright young lights in the department (faculty, I mean; students too, though) who might be good people to work out other really cool stuff. Movie nights (free pizza!) worked in a small way two years ago, but not so much last year - I'll have to figure out what changed.

I was talking to the religion prof (who by some strange act of providence is housed in the Science building) about a course on the intersection (or lack thereof) of science and religion, and he was pretty interested. There's mondo bucks for courses like that, too, although the point of the mondo bucks is to scientifically validate religion - not quite my point. I'm more interested in the similarities and differences between the two fields. Could be fascinating.

There's other stuff, too. I have lots of ideas and will have more if we ever have time to sit down and think them out - but the teaching is very much full to way over full time (for the rest of them, who aren't adjunct), so sitting around gabbing about Cool Stuff doesn't happen as often as it should.

And would it then break my heart if I didn't get the position? Well, no, I don't think so. I could wait for the next one, if it weren't another ten years down the line. I could ditch the whole thing and go work for the local ambulance service. I could get a low-paying but physically demanding job in the local big grocery warehouse, and become physically fit again (been too long). I could take another break and live very frugally, probably eaking it out on rent checks and miscellaneous bits and pieces. I figure I have a lot of options.

But I do think I'd be disappointed, yes. Perhaps not so much for the loss of the potential future work, as because it would hurt to be rejected. (Or perhaps both.)

There's that ego again.

Selkiselki on July 10th, 2007 06:14 pm (UTC)
a course on the intersection (or lack thereof) of science and religion, and he was pretty interested. There's mondo bucks for courses like that, too, although the point of the mondo bucks is to scientifically validate religion - not quite my point.

Do you think you could get the grant money with a carefully-written (but not misleading) proposal, with you doing the science and the religion prof talking about which bits are compatible with religion? I'd say all bits are, depending on one's religion, but I'm not the religion prof.
betonicabetonica on July 10th, 2007 07:21 pm (UTC)
I have no idea about how likely getting the grant money would be, although if there's the huge pot I've heard of, it shouldn't be terribly difficult. I don't intend to be at all misleading in the grant proposal, and while it might set our application back a little, if they're worth their salt it won't leave us dead in the water.

For one thing, I'm perfectly happy (delighted) to take a totally scientific approach to the whole question (ah... wording the question - that'll be interesting) which means not assuming that I already have the answer. I'm perfectly open to student argument for the scientific proof of god's existence - in fact, I think the conversation that would be opened up with such an attempt could be very promising. Then, too, we'll have to discuss what scientific evidence is, and what isn't evidence - another fruitful topic. I can see endless permutations. Incompatible and compatible bits between the two fields, as you mention, is another intersecting conversation.

We could spend a few millenia on the conversation - never mind the proof. (Is that what religion is about? It's a nice fun chunk of science.)

I suppose if I said outright that I didn't expect us to ever answer the question, that might be a setback for the grant. Or maybe not. Certainly I don't expect any scientific validation for religion... but you never know. That's what's fun about science.
Selkiselki on July 11th, 2007 10:11 pm (UTC)
That sounds like a great class.