Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Post Wherein I Bitch...a Lot

Part of the reason I haven't been blogging much...okay, at all, is that I don't want this space to become a Bitch Journal. I don't want to be a blogger who does nothing but complain, criticize, and point fingers. Unfortunately, as job searches move forward--without me--I can't help but feel awful. Like, I'm a failure-sort-of-awful. Like, I'm the only person I know from my graduate program who hasn't landed a full-time job (not necessarily tenure-track).
I know the market sucks and that, in many ways, the entire search process isn't much more than a lottery. I mean this only in the sense that a candidate can do all the Right Things--present at national conferences, take advantage of years of teaching experience, have a SuperStar advisor, and even publish in solid journals--and it still may come to nothing in this market. This is not to suggest that those who land the mythical tenure-track job don't deserve it. Rather, I mean to point out (just like many others have) that the market is flooded with people who have done all the Right Things. So, while the pedigree certainly matters and can filter out the chafe from the wheat in the eyes of some search committees, the rest seems to be a coin toss. At least that's the view from my seat.
To add to this, I got my teaching assignment for next fall, and I still only have two fucking courses, and they're both comp classes!! I can't do this forever. WE can't do this forever. This living off of one full-time salary and my piddly-ass adjunt salary for two classes...we can't do it. And I only have so much patience. I just feel like I've worked too hard and been too poor for too many years to continue being a fucking indentured servant with no job security indefinitely.
Needless to say, I don't do well with uncertaintly. I have really, truly been doing my best to remember that I'm not in control of things. That God brought our family here for a reason, and that He has a plan for me. He has always provided for me, and I know He will continue to do so: God's timing is always perfect. In my head, I know this. But this hasn't been enough to calm the anxiety, curb the sadness, or dampen the resentment I feel at a department that does nothing to make adjuncts feel included, supported, or appreciated.
To make everything worse, I have made no friends here. Zero. Because adjuncts aren't given offices to share--we only get the rent-a-space for our allotted office hours each week--I don't even have the luxury of being on the same floor or in a shared space with other members of my department. I have literally only met two members of my department (other than the chair). Besides home and campus, the only other place where I spend time is at church for our youth group nights. Please, tell me, what the hell am I supposed to do to make friends in a new city/state at 35 fucking years old? I'm not asking for a BFF or anything, I just want someone I can grab a drink or lunch with occasionally. Someone to kvetch with when I've had a shitty day, and someone who wants to kvetch back. Is it me, or does this line of work *really* not lend itself well to social relationships?
I did get a request for a writing sample today, which came just at the right time. But then I poked around on the faculty pages and found that the school already has a VAP in field for which they're hiring, *and* ze does creative writing as well. This person just received the PhD this year, so my thinking is that maybe that's why ze only has a VAP position right now, but that essentially there is an inside candidate. So, forgive me for thinking I've got less than a snowball's chance in hell of this going anywhere.
Yes, I'm all sunshine and roses here folks. If you're looking for Susie Sunshine, let me know when you find her. Kthnxbye!

3 comments:

Vanessa said...

It's definitely NOT you ... this line of work generally sucks for helping to develop social relationships. I found it much easier to make friends when I worked in a corporate setting, and also when I do consulting work now. At the university? Not so much. I rarely see my colleagues, and when I do see them we just not or wave. It's totally anti-social. I'm around people a lot, but they're all students.

Crossing fingers for you that the request for a writing sample is a genuine request ...

Lilian said...

I TOTALLY know how you feel!! (even the part about knowing that God is leading, but still feeling sad, anxious, etc -- I agrees that uncertainty is just an awful thing to have to live with).

It's OK to vent, believe me, I don't mind one bit. I have a few friends (and many acquaintances) where you live, but none of them are academics. :( (oh, only one a bit further South).

Anyway... when you talk about how adjuncts are treated there I just feel SO thankful for how we're treated here! I share an office with other colleagues and I see lots of other people in the department. I get funding (conferences, books), I am eligible for certain grants, institutes, and things offered by the instructional technology and faculty innovation offices, etc. But all this "inclusion" only masks the fact that I (and hundreds of others) are underpaid and exploited. :( I wish there was something we could do about this dire situation in academia!!

The Lecturer said...

I'm sending lots of love and hugs...and you know...for some of those patatas, woman, I will be your bitchin' ear-ho any. freaking. time. :)

And if I can't get the patatas, well, then just the memory of the patatas past and the hope for patatas future works, too. (<--read that carefully...it translates to, "I glad you're my friend.")

We miss you!