Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Doha Diaries: No. 9, Tough Decisions

We have to make some tough decisions soon, and I feel like I have very little advice on what to do. Currently, I have two job opportunities back in the States. The first as a postdoctoral lecturer at main campus (my home department), and the second is a lecturer position at a regional branch of a non-traditional school in the deep South. The latter actually holds more job security than one might imagine, as it operates on the philosophy of do a good job, and you get to keep your job. The school caters to non-traditional students (average age mid-30s), so they offer 5 9-week terms, and most of the classes are offered in the evening. Teaching load is 2 classes per term. Don't know the salary yet, as the formal contract is still in the mail.

We can only make the main campus gig work if Hubby gets a job in the area, and that doesn't look like it's going to happen. He has an interview at a school 3 hours away from main campus, which would work if I could get online courses. Teaching online might be good experience if I wanted to pursue primarily comp jobs, but it won't do anything for me in terms of experience teaching British literature (or even general literature).

There's an opening at the non-traditional school in Hubby's department, and the school is in a town that would probably be quite nice to live in. However, we would be jumping into something really unfamiliar in terms of teaching. In addition, we'd likely be going back on the market next year to get more "traditional" (hopefully t-t) academic positions, and I don't know how that type of school would look on our CVs.

At this point, we're leaning toward staying here for one more year, accomplishing our financial goals, and hoping for better job luck next year. We'll both have PhD in hand, second projects in the works, and articles under review. It doesn't guarantee anything, but it's the best we can do right now.

The problem is that there are days and moments when I still get overwhelmed with sadness about being here, and I long for life back home. This morning, Eliza was looking at a photo album, and it almost brought me to tears just seeing pictures of our old life. I remembered every moment, trip, or event that was captured, and I ached to be back home. It pains me to see the familiar, everyday things about life back in the U.S. Spring flowers blooming, friends gathered for drinks at the local hangout, family reunions, trips to fun places that just do not exist here. It makes me sad for myself and also for my kids, because I feel like I'm depriving them of some of those things as well as time with their grandparents. These are the moments when I feel like I just can't be here another minute, much less another year.

Rock. Hard place.


Lilian said...

Oh dear, that's all very tough. I hope you can make the best decision for you two and your family.

Intlxpatr said...

Getting rid of that huge burden of debt by staying in Doha is a sacrifice now, but will pay huge dividends later by widening you freedom to make choices on other factors than needing money. Debt is crushing, and it kills dreams.

Is your husband doing OK? Are your children OK? Have you found any grist for future projects among your experiences teaching in a very alien environment?

Unknown said...

I taught as an expat for a while (with family living with me in a faraway place). I understand the crushing sadness and the hardships you face. But my guess is that the year to come will be significantly easier than your first. Also, a small word of caution--happy as we were to return to the US after a few years away, our culture shock on reentry was just as difficult to negotiate--and a hundred times more unexpected--than our original culture shock. My guess is that when you do return, you'll be SHOCKED at the hardships faced by an academic family in the US. Everything will be a lot better if you've solved your financial issues... But I get how much courage and effort this will take... Good luck!

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