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waiting is the toughest part

So, one of the places to which I applied is currently burning to the ground… what does that mean? I’ve been joking with my wife that the fact that it had an opening the very semester she finally convinced me to go liberal arts is sign from above. This was again repeated when an ex-dean, who graduated from my alma mater, attended my in-loves’ church a few weeks ago. So, if the above are divine signs of a providential hand breaking into the here-and-now to arrange things for me and tell me that there is The Way or my way, the Center of Said Being’s Will or the blind ignorance of my own… how are we to read the burning… oh, and how our we to read that 1/1 condos go for 500K around those parts or that single-wides retail for more than our 3/1 brick-and-mortar… well, wood and asbestos shingle and plaster walls?

Another has asked for writing samples, which I’ve sent and am convinced, despite the glowing letters of recommendation, that they will not call me, not even for an interview, based on the fact that the essay written in Spanish, which has been accepted by a peer-reviewed Colombian journal, is as baroque in structure as the 1,300 page novel it ostensibly explicated, and rife with errors.

I’ve received official acknowledgment of receipt from three. The university that is currently burning to pieces has only given me unofficial acknowledgment… what’s up with that?

I am afraid that my resume and that two of my letters will scare off at least one, if not two of the places… and for one of those, I really don’t mind. That is, do small liberal arts colleges of a certain orientation really want to hear that the person applying for the position is an energetic scholar who will become well-known? Now, I realize that such a statement, so-and-so will become a leader in the field, is nothing but pro forma and mean nothing beyond, this person hopefully will publish an essay or two, and one of these might really matter, and not really that they will become leaders in the field. After all, they were written about me, and Theuth knows that my writing will not go far. But, even then, my hunch is that certain schools don’t want their professors to be known and talked about, except by their alumni.

My other hunch is that schools might not like the fact that I’ve only had a 2/2… and then ask me, well, with such a light load how come you haven’t published more? To which I will only be able to reply… well, every semester, due to institutional pressure, I’ve had to teach two new preps; the book project has nothing to do with the dissertation; and, I became a father… of course, that last one, though true, will not be said because nobody is supposed to have a family in this profession.

Waiting is the toughest part indeed…



I’m sitting here trying to think of big name researchers of whom I also know something about their family life. I’m pretty sure all of them either have no family, or a severely disrupted one.

emphasis on severely disrupted!

Anyhoo, the school didn’t actually burn down, you know.

take your petty and

That video is awesome.

Just wanted to send you some good waiting vibes, BG…Patience is certainly no virtue of mine.

And no need for the snide confirmation of said fact, G.

fwiw, I have always been able to use having a family to my advantage (to negotiate a better schedule, signing bonuses, can’t go to MLA b/c of nursing infant, etc) and I found that mentioning a family in interviews tended to bring a lightening of the mood. Maybe that is just my exploitation of benevolent sexism. And I had female graduate advisors who tended to make a point of making sure I knew other scholars’ family situations. Maybe medieval studies is more family friendly on some level?

actually, this is probably true at the colleges i will be interviewing with, i hope, as they are smaller liberal arts and, largely, family friendly.

the guy who is currently chair was overheard once saying… jeremy’s daughter must be crying, as a way of explaining the fact that i was two minutes late to a meeting. (i had biked in and traffic was terrible)

and, while i am all for extending as much grace as possible to mothers, not just because labor and pregnancy and post-partum can be as daunting as they are, it doesn’t work for me to say, "after my wife’s 3 month maternity leave, i became the primary caretaker until she started going to preschool." that is, i took her to her aunt’s and picked her up and kept her until mom came home, at which point i got dinner ready, which meant I typically had a 4-5 hour work day, rather than an 8. this doesn’t register with anyone except persons who are currently going through it; those who have already passed it, conveniently forget; those who have yet or never will, simply don’t get it.

again, not that women shouldn’t be extended certain exemptions… which, given what pregnancy, childbirth, and nursing are and given that societal expectations are still that the mother be the primary care-taker, i don’t think it sexist in the least to extend that grace. it recognizes the different roles we play. but, when a male plays a highly involved role, that is only chalked up as being super-dad. then again, excuses for kids go only so far regardless of sex.

that is why i am firmly convinced that to make it in this profession one needs a butler, a maid, a nanny, and a wet nurse… and preferably a proxy womb


Exploit that benevolent sexism for everything you can get. I haven’t had much success plying my family for any kind of advantage other than the kind of vague sympathy reserved for people whose own stupidity seems to doom them. When my diss. chair informed the rest of my committee at my prospectus defense that my wife was expecting (thanks for that), it was as if I had told them that I had no intention of succeeding and that I in fact loved failure so much that I had finally found a way to ensure it. Maybe this wouldn’t be the case at a smaller univ. or if I were actually faculty. I don’t know.


The stories you tell of your department are truly frightening. Best of luck getting out of that mess.