Acorns in the grass

This isn’t really about anything explicitly post-ac, unless you count the fleeting reference to cover letters, but as it happened, I found myself thinking about it as I’d write it, so a day later, with the baby asleep and Professor Spouse and Older Daughter out on an errand, I’m writing it down. 

Oftentimes these days, my 15-month-old falls asleep in the car on the way home. Lately I’ve taken to bringing my computer with me when I think she’ll do this, so I can type crooked-handedly on the keyboard, trying to answer an email, post to Facebook, or in one case, finish a cover letter.

Yesterday, though, instead of poking on my phone or using my computer (which was far away inside the house, anyways), I slipped out of the car and sat down in the grass. Professor Spouse was inside, feeding our elder daughter lunch, and the baby seemed in a deep sleep. The day was warm, in the low-seveties Fahrenheit, with a light wind and generous sunshine.  We’d already had some early fall cool days, so I wanted to enjoy this moment of sunshine. I chose a spot in the sun where the grass didn’t look so wet, and sat down, half expecting to hear the cry of my daughter any minute. She didn’t cry, so I started to look at the acorns.

We are lucky enough to have our front yard, and the yards of our neighbors, graced by old maple and oak trees that have been cared for the college for a very long time, but no longer than a hundred-odd years. Every time I’m outside these days, I hear the “plonk” of an acorn as it falls off of a tree and hits a car.  Now, my car is not so nice that I worry about this at all, so I actually enjoy the funny sound. Who know that something as small as an acorn could make such a large “plonk”?  Or that squirrels, running up and down the trees gathering food for the winter, could make such loud chattering, squirrelly noises?

Every day, I hear the squirrels as they chatter, and the acorns as they fall, but I don’t usually take time to stop and look at the acorns. Sometimes my older daughter brings me acorns as presents, especially if they’re twin acorns still linked together, or more rarely and much more fun, a bouquet of three acorns still linked together. But I myself don’t spend that much time just looking at them.

With a few spare moments to sit in the grass, though, I started looking at acorns. I picked one up. It was green, and it had lost its little cap. Another one was brown.  Many were half-open, brown and mealy on the inside, as if the squirrels had already started their feast. I tried different caps on the acorns as I sat there, realizing how each acorn’s “hat” was uniquely suited to its own small head. I felt the warmth of the acorns, warm like the sunlight in which I sat. I’d never thought of acorns as being warm before. I felt their smooth skin and wondered what an acorn tasted like to a squirrel. It felt heavy in my hand, heavy enough to “plonk” as it fell on to the roof or hood of a car.

I remembered moments spent like this as a child, looking a single rock and feeling its warmth, or its coolness, or how sometimes, I’d lie down in the grass and shape it back into a little half-egg shaped hole, and marvel at the insects scurrying about. I’ve always loved nature, taken note of it, but I realized that I usually go for the big, pretty picture these days — a field of wildflowers in a forest preserve, a sunset over the tops of the buildings around me. It was strangely refreshing to pick this quiet moment when the baby slept, the computer was away, my phone wasn’t even buzzing or beeping, to just look closely at something and see it in a new light.

Eventually, though, my stomach rumbled and I picked up my phone, texted Professor Spouse, and we switched shifts. I went inside to have my lunch, the acorn lying where I’d found it in the grass, and he came outside to take over watching for our baby’s wakings.

Don’t follow in my footsteps: a reverse roadmap for women in academia and beyond

I started writing this post back in April, 2014, as this other post reveals. It’s still with me. It’s personal enough that I’ve avoided posting it for almost six months, but since its subject matter is still with me, I’m realizing the post might be better off “in the world” than sitting in my drafts folder. So, without any further ado, here’s my personalized ranty post about gender, the two-body problem, and academia:  

It took until I had my second child to realize why the word “feminist” is often paired with the word “angry.” I’ve always been a feminist, at least as long as I knew the word. It seemed self-evident to me that women’s empowerment and women’s equality were good things. At the same time, I believed what my mother always told me: you can be anything you want to be, do anything you want to do, that it didn’t matter if someone was a woman or a man. All careers, all paths, were open to me. I believed strongly in the meritocracy: if you’re good enough, you’ll get rewarded for it, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or  woman.

What I didn’t know as a child and young adult when my mother told me these encouraging words was just how much being a woman, not a man, might eventually hinder those rewards and make a big difference in whether my life turned out like I expected or not. This past week, I told her this, and she said that I’d grown up, because part of growing up is facing the ways our lives turn out differently than we ever expect them to be. Here, then, is my growing-up story about gender, graduate school, and the path to post-academia. It’s a story that I hope others will not have to experience. It’s what I wish someone had told me when I was 22 and considering graduate school the first time, or 24 and considering it the second time. Now, I don’t know if I’d have listened to the story or not. I might have brushed it off, with the casual “well, that won’t happen to me” that many of us tell ourselves in order to do something that might, in fact, be against our own best interests.

I don’t know if I’d have listened to what I have to say, but here it is regardless.

I wish someone had warned me how having a husband – even a self-proclaimed feminist husband supportive of his wife’s career – could get in the way of pursuing my own dreams. I wish I’d told my husband I wasn’t applying to one-year academic jobs and fellowships–so that we could live together where he had his tenure-track job–if only so that he could have told me I was being ridiculous, and of course I should apply to everything and anything that looked remotely applicable.

Never mind that I’d had a revelation one day back in 2008, when I spent a summer battling depression brought on by moving from my vibrant doctoral academic community at a university in the northeast to a tiny liberal arts college in a few-thousand person town. I felt out of place and disjointed, but the one thing I knew with clarity was that I didn’t want a commuter marriage, especially once kids were in the mix, and – being in my early thirties already – I knew I wanted the kids to come along soon.

Knowing all this, that I wanted a family, that I wanted to actually live with and spend time with that family, I stopped applying for short-term, long-distance positions that would take me away from the family that didn’t exist yet. I didn’t know it then, but those decisions were my first steps along the alt-ac, post-ac path.

I wish someone had told me how having children could totally derail and support my thinking about what matters most in life, all at the same time. I knew I wanted to breastfeed, and since I was “only” writing my dissertation, I thought I could combine writing the dissertation with taking care of an infant, at home, writing while she slept. This is what one of my advisors, a successful mother and academic, had told me might work well. Others suggested that I do as a former grad student in our department did, and get up in the wee hours of the morning to write. I knew myself well enough to realize this wasn’t going to happen. 

I didn’t put my child in daycare. She hardly slept, except when in a baby carrier.  As she grew, my husband took her on hikes (what our town lacked in people, it made up for in scenic beauty) and berry-picking expeditions so that I could work on my dissertation. I finished the dissertation, and we tag-team parented our toddler, even once she went to preschool 5 mornings a week. Professor Spouse’s job was flexible enough that he could stay home a few afternoons a week so that I could teach, both at the local college, as well as online, as well as taking on another distance-based part-time job. It was 2010, 2011 and the market had crashed, but I was living the dream.

I’d had a pretty successful run as a graduate student. I think I was pretty good at it — I always had been good at school (especially humanities-school). I’d presented nearly every year at our field’s major conference, much to the apparent admiration of my grad-school friends. I had a paper published in a major journal, plus a book chapter in the works and an essay in the works with a major journal in the field. It felt like I was “in academia,” most of the time. I was teaching, writing, researching, and a year or two after I finished the PhD, added a some online teaching closely related to my subject area, as well as a cool, but very part-time alt-ac job that I could do from anywhere, and helped pay the bills. Yes, for a while in 2010 and 2011, I thought I was living the dream.

Or so I thought. I knew that being an adjunct in the department where my husband was tenure-track was an uncomfortable state of inequality, but it didn’t affect his perception of me, and I’d heard enough through the years about the unpleasant faculty meetings to not feel too bad about not having to go, even though not going was indicative of my very contingent stature.  Besides, I told myself, “one day I’ll be tenure-trace too, somewhere, and we’ll be on a more even footing. This isn’t permanent.”

Occasionally things would happen, though, to disturb my sense of equilibrium. One thing I did was invite the other professors in the department to guest-teach in my introductory class (to give students a taste of what else went on in the department), and my husband was among those guest speakers. In a mid-semester course evaluation I gave the students, one of them suggested I “teach more like [my spouse].” Ouch. I know we have different styles: he’s male, more outgoing/performative, and I’m quiet and reserved and the students at this school historically had a history of difficulty with female authority, but …  ouch.

There were more “ouches.” When my spouse got the job that would take us away from the tiny town to our current big city, a friend of ours – a good male friend – said in my presence and Professor Spouse’s, “we are all so sorry that [spouse’s name] is leaving.” He didn’t mention me. Two years later, I am still so angry and upset at this memory that my fingers are shaking on the keyboard as I type. I am taking a deep breath so I can continue writing without crying.

In retrospect, I now see that our move away from the small town would form my second steps on the alt-ac path. Yes, my husband has always supported my desire to be a professor. Maybe with time and a different school students wouldn’t ask that I teach more like my spouse (and I still don’t know if they knew that we were married; we have different last names) and would accept my own, different (and still emerging) teaching style. Maybe, maybe not.

But I was tired of trying to keep up. Tired of adjuncting and having half of the pie, of feeling like an imposter because the structures of the system in place made it impossible for me to contribute as fully as I’m able. I was tired of walking the talk and acting the part when he has the full-time job, with the publishing, service, and teaching responsibilities, along with the full-time salary to go with it. I have the same training, the same basic abilities, and were I still a traditional adjunct academic, would be doing some of the same work (teaching, publishing, if not service) for a tiny fraction of the pay my husband receives. I am tired of it, and for the love of God, once in my usually pretty laid-back life, good and angry about it too.

Maybe I feel too entitled, maybe there is something wrong with me, but some how I doubt it. Somehow I think it still gets back to sexism, and that I, as a woman, as a mother, have the right to want my own life too, my own career on its own merits. I know, now, full well that women can’t really “have it all,” but I wish I’d tried harder, applied to some of those one-year fellowships, etc., before I decided to leave academe. As Sheryl Sandberg says in Lean In, I leaned out before I leaned in, and doing differently (as Robert Frost would say) might have made all the difference. I’m angry at myself for not knowing this earlier (even though I think my husband knew it without thinking; I can still hear the incredulity in his voice when I told him I hadn’t applied as widely and numerously as he’d thought I had).

I wish I’d known all this a long time ago. I wish I could write a letter to my younger self and tell myself that marriage to a fellow academic just might be worth it (since I do love my husband, despite what you might be guessing after reading the foregoing), despite the cost of doing what I thought I loved. I wish  that when a female advisor told me that being married to a fellow academic in the same discipline is “really, really hard,” I would have had a clue what she meant by “really hard.”  I don’t know if I would have believed any of it, but maybe I would have been better prepared.

Writing as a “craft”

One often hears the phrase, “writing is a craft.” I’d never thought much about it until recently, when I’ve been thinking about other types of “crafting,” usually knitting or spinning yarn, but more recently, quilting. When I tell my family, “I’m going to do some crafting now,” I don’t mean I’m going to the computer to write. I’m usually off to find something made fiber that I can touch with my hands.

As I think about transferable skills, though, I’m aware that I’ve rarely thought of myself as “a writer,” despite generally enjoying writing. I always liked the “write a book and bind it” projects we did in elementary school, and one of them became a 200-page historical fiction novel (handwritten, and in cursive!) that I scribbled out between sixth and seventh grade. My favorite paper assignment in high school was the extra one I wrote about Camus and existentialism because I couldn’t choose between topics. I liked being on the editorial board of my high school creative writing magazine.

When I got to college, though, creative writing was much more high-stakes and critical and I stopped doing it. A poetry editorial board tore apart the heartfelt poem I’d written about my summer crush, and I think that was the end of my attempts at creative writing for pretty much forever. Perhaps it was no longer fun, or done for sheer enjoyment, because the stakes of “being a writer” seemed that much higher.

My parents, in a frequent refrain throughout my life, have always said, “you’re such a good writer!”, with this undertone of, “you could do this professionally, you know!” In fact, as a little kid, when I consistently received “O’s” in elementary school for “outstanding” skills in reading and writing, and a little later on, A’s and A-‘s, I may have thought, “maybe I should be a writer!” But I’ve never pursued it. I think I never could quite wrap my mind around the nebulousness of “being a writer,” compared to my parents’ more cut-and-dry professions.   I’ve envied friends and colleagues who write (professionally, I assume, or at least in some side-gig professional capacity) for newspapers or magazines or who blog in a more official capacity than this particular exercise. I expect I could do so myself, but I haven’t sought these opportunities out.

I’ve also never been the type of writer who bangs stuff out–blogs, op-eds, encyclopedia articles, conference papers, journal articles, etc., like some of the vastly productive scholars I know. Part of me wants to say that I’m just not disciplined enough, but I don’t think that’s the case. I’m starting to think it’s not about discipline, but about inclination.

One thing I wonder is whether I haven’t become this type of writer because then it would become a chore. Just as I couldn’t see knitting hats or scarves or yarn on any type of quantity or speed to make a business venture out of it, perhaps it is that way with writing. Yet, people sometimes have idly asked why, if I enjoy knitting, etc., so much, I don’t make a business of it. I think that trying to monetize what I enjoy on my own time for the pleasure of creating something would take away the fun, turn it into a chore, and make it something I no longer enjoyed. I wonder if this relationship to fiber crafts is mirrored in my relationship to writing, and explains my reluctance to frame it in professional terms.

As I write this, though, I am wondering if the analogy is not so strong: I have written for business purposes, if you count a dissertation, journal articles, review articles, conference presentations, etc, and it hasn’t become a chore. It is still a craft. At some basic level, just as there are words in my head, I find myself trying to get them out there on paper or on the screen, to help myself, to inform others, to spread the word, to aid in remembering, or just in some strange existential way, to make them real.

I find myself wondering, why did I keep a journal at the age of 6 when my family took the train across the country? Why did I do the same, interspersed with postcards, when we took our first international family trip a year or so later? For virtually as long as I can remember, putting thoughts into words has come naturally to me (not so much concepts into numbers, but I’m not really worry about that).

I wonder how the necessity or choice to write plays out in practice for people who do say, “I’m a writer.” Those academic friends who blog and write articles and conference papers and books, always producing. Do they feel a drive to write? Or is it a craft that’s become a chore, necessary to get tenure? Perhaps it’s a pendulum, and sometimes one gets lucky, and the writing that needs to get done to get tenure (or in other arenas, to get paid) will occasionally match up with passion, but more often — like knitting rows and rows of very basic garter stitch — it’s the grinding work that simply needs to be done.

Glass half full

The first thing my mother … yes, she reads this blog … noticed about my previous post was that I started on a happy note. I laughed. I told her I did that because I was aware of how the post would sound if I didn’t include a happy note.

What is perhaps more telling, though, is that once again, after feeling pretty down-in-the-dumps about how things were going in terms of my professional life, I decided to do something positive — to connect with a career coach. I already knew the name of someone who came highly recommended, reached out to her, and found she was taking new clients. Within days, I had signed on to work with her. Her description of what she might be able to do for me – sort through the messy thoughts, get me unstuck from what had become a very stuck feeling – seemed to match exactly what I needed and where I was at that moment.

I find myself thinking of a song by the singer-songwriter Christine Kane, a song I first listened to when I was, ironically, working on my dissertation. I hadn’t thought of the song in ages, but late this summer, shortly before the semester started, my family visited the town we used to live in, which was an area deeply influenced by singer-songwriters and folk traditions, including this one.  On a rare quiet moment in our road trip, with both kids dozing in the back seat and even my husband getting a chance to get some precious shut-eye in the front, I had the even more precious opportunity to listen to whatever I wanted, and I chose Christine Kane.

I shuffled through my phone to the first album of hers I’d listened to, Right Outta Nowhere, and listened to the title song. One verse in particular is somewhat telling:

A summer night
The soft smell of seashore
All the deadheads dancing
Out on the beach
He’s got a ten-year tan
And his own little junk store
He says, some people got a lot to prove
And that’s the way I used to be
Now I’m just an old hippie
With a half a dozen PhDs
Some choices hold you down
Some chances set you free

 

Right outta nowhere
You open your heart
And let go of everything
You’re going somewhere
And all you need to know
Is that you’re free to go

Now, I don’t have a ten-year tan (never well, never could), or junk store (same sentiment), and I don’t dance with deadheads on a beach, but I probably have a lot to prove, and some people might see a small bit of hippie in me, somewhere. Nor do I have a half-a-dozen PhDs (god forbid!), but I have one, and that’s enough.

I remember listening to this song in my car, back when I actually took the time to put a CD in its CD player, and trying to decide whether to sing along with it, and at what level of car-privacy-induced belting-it-out. Could I, enmeshed in a dissertation, really sing lustily about giving it up and being free?  If people with even one Ph.D. have a lot to prove and a lot of that is holding them down, could I be free? What would that even mean? Wasn’t I free enough, writing a dissertation on a topic that really did interest me?

Not willing to wake my sleeping family, I chose not to belt out the song, but hummed along with a mounting sense of irony. After all, I am still not sure what it would mean to be free. But after even just a couple of conversations with this new career coach, she’s encouraging me to think “glass half full,” and to think outside the boxes I might have built around my life, and around what I think I can do.  Could I really let myself be free of  at least some of the baggage and the boxes?  I don’t know, and where it might lead seems exciting, strange, and as can only be expected, a little bit scary.

Right outta nowhere
You open your heart
And believe in everything
You’re going somewhere
And all you need to know
Is that you’re free
Right outta nowhere
You open your heart
And have faith in everything
You’re going somewhere
And all you need to know
Is that you’re free to go

New semester, new challenges for the alt-ac job seeker

I’m back to work at my evening library job after having the summer off. It’s a bit depressing, actually.

Wait. Scratch that. I am happy to have a job, two of them actually, two part-time jobs that help to pay the bills. In the spirit of those “five days of gratefulness” or whatnot that my more happy-go-lucky friends post on Facebook, I need to reiterate that I am happy — need to be happy — to have two jobs.

But, one of my jobs had earned the reputation for being akin to the “Defense Against the Dark Arts” job at Hogwarts: no one seems to stay more than a year. Perhaps the hours are to blame, being only in the evening after almost all the regular staff has gone home for the day. The student workers who I supervise might joke about their evening supervisors not sticking around for more than a year, but they are presumably not yet in a position to realize that only working in the evening when one is more cut-out for daytime work, with other people, on projects requiring involvement with others, can be its own “stick” factor as much as the “carrot” of employment at all.

I find that returning to this job that lacks those interactive elements of a daytime job has me feeling rather depressed. I’m the one who not only stuck around, but can’t even get a regular daytime job!

It’s not that I haven’t been trying. This summer I had a very interesting interview, as well as an extended conversation with a different company that was interested in hiring me for skills I’ve developed in my work-from-home part-time job, but it turned out that they lacked the resources to bring me on board.

In the wake of those disappointments, I have started sending out applications to various organizations that might be interesting to work for. I feel a bit mad-cap, a bit off-center, in that rather than follow classic job-seeking advice about networking and targeting specific companies or organizations, I’m falling into the mode of sending out applications to anything that might be interesting to one segment of my apparently fragmented self. Will I emphasize this skill or interest today, or that one? I am a person of many hats, apparently, willing to take them on and off on paper for anyone who might be interested.

When I’m not sending out applications, I find myself wrestling with which ones to actually sit down and write. Every one feels like a choice, a decision about which path in the wood to take, as if it would make all the difference. Classic job-seeking advice seems to indicate that I have now pigeonholed myself in one particular field, but I am well aware that I won’t be able to advance in this field without another degree, and I am not sure that it’s the field I’d like to stay in, after all.

I have even taken the radical step for a confirmed alt-ac job seeker of applying to a full-time, regular old tenure track position in my area of research at a university near-ish to where I live. How’s that for unexpected happenings!

Many days I feel frustrated, angry, or just depressed, like I am stuck. I wouldn’t have thought this process of seeking alternative employment would be so difficult. I think I thought that, a year and a half after moving here, a year after having a baby, I would be happily employed in a challenging, interested alternative academic career that was making excellent use of my talents and capabilities. I had no idea I’d still be working part-time from home, part-time at night for an hourly wage, or that it would still grate so much at family events to hear Professor Spouse talk about his three books, with the admiring eyes of our family wondering at all he had accomplished.

Once upon a time, I thought I might have a book out. I know I still could, somehow. I thought I’d have a job during the day, that paid a salary, that was related to some mission or field that I cared about, that required working with people on interesting projects. I feel heavily like I have failed myself, my own expectations of what I could do. Somewhere deep down, I want to believe that I still could do these things, but right now I am discouraged, unhappy, and upset, and I don’t know what to do about it. I’m losing faith that simply finding a better/more challenging job will be enough. I never thought that it would take a year and a half for the frustration, the depression, the anger, all those aspects of post-ac job searching that I’ve read about on so many other blogs, to set in, but here they are. They are scary, and I don’t like myself very much while they are present. They are part of the truth of this alt-ac process that I both don’t want to expose to the world, and yet feel that I should, so that maybe some of others of you will know you are not alone.

I will keep trudging along, trying to remind myself that this process gives me time to spend with my kids that I otherwise might not be getting, but at times it’s hard to keep it all in perspective.

Spirits from my academic past

I promise, an overdue post about gender is coming soon — I keep editing and tinkering. But in the meantime… 

This past week, I visited the school where my advisor now teaches. My husband was on a program, and several grad school friends were there, so the whole family went along. It was great to see these people who meant so much to me for so many years, but also a little awkward, and in my own thoughts at least, a little bittersweet. It was, in a way, as if my own spirits of my academic past had visited, a-la-Dickens and Scrooge, to remind me of what was. I talked about pursuing altac positions with my friends, and while they understood from a general perspective, I think they were also a little sad. It became clear that they thought well of me as not just a person, but as a scholar and an academic, and thought I’d been doing great work. My advisor, who I told I was pursuing alternative academic employment, was understanding of not wanting the exploitation of adjunction, but also assumed I’d still be pursuing/”working on” intellectual questions that interest me. He, too, valued the work I had done, and I don’t think he realized what a separation from the life I’d once pursued I am now trying to make.

The return journey home got me thinking about why this was all so bittersweet, of course, and several things occurred to me. Not only do I:

  1. like to work with people on specific projects and 
  2. like to organize information into a coherent story or narrative, but also
  3. I want to feel that what I’m doing on a day-to-day basis is helpful and relevant, and therefore meaningful. 

And researching those very specific questions of intellectual interest felt helpful, relevant, and meaningful when surrounded by people who felt the same way and could pat me on the back, and I on theirs, and we could tell each other how great we all were. It even, at the time, felt like work (although I did have moment when I’d think about how odd it was to say “I’m working on these people living in this time, doing these things,” rather than actual work like writing, or teaching, or making things, or managing, or whatever else counts as work outside of academia). But now that it’s been several years (!) since I defended the dissertation and conversed regularly on those questions, they came to feel less helpful, relevant, and eventually, not as meaningful.

This is what makes me feel the most bittersweet of all, since it was the pursuit of a very particular set of research questions and interests that drove me to graduate school in the first place. For those to have lost some of their driving force does indeed make me feel like I’ve perhaps lost something precious.

Yes, teaching at times felt relevant and helpful (especially with my online seminarian students, not so much with my undergrads taking introductory classes), but more often than not, the balance was on the less helpful, rather than the more. To be told just this week by these colleagues and friends that the work I had done was valuable and meaningful to them makes me feel very sad I’m no longer contributing to those conversations that once meant so much.

If I think pragmatically, though, I know I need more than a hypothetical audience of a few scholars who are interested in similar questions. One of my mentors once said to a circle of graduate students, after a panel honoring her recent book, “after so many years, it feels so good to have all that I’ve worked on be validated like this.” I remember feeling boggled that she’d persisted with so little positive reinforcement (as her words implied). I don’t know that I can do that. I think I need my day-to-day work to actually feel helpful to the people I’m with, not a hypothetical audience years down the line. I know it’ll get easier, but I didn’t know how much this visit was going to stir up some of the messier side of life in the trenches of leaving academia.

On trying not to write a ranty post about gender

I want to write an emotional, angry post or two about job searches and gender, or the post-ac/alt-ac life and gender. I’d love to do it with flair and style, have it go viral, and help other young women (or men, but I’d be writing this very much as a woman) not make the same mistakes or choices I made. I have more than a few words rattling around in my head about “how (not) to have a successful dual-career academic life.”

I have drafts of posts like this sitting in MS Word, sitting in WordPress, waiting. I’d love to give the posts the force of a real name, not a pseudonym, to see them on the Chronicle of Higher Education or Inside Higher Ed (though I fear what the the Comments section would do to me). I admire Rebecca Schuman’s no-holds-bars, not-pseudonymous, in-your-face writing style, but I don’t think I want that level of real-name risk, not at all, not now, at least!  I want to see gender (or is it parenting? Or is it mothering? Or is it dual-career spouse-ing) added to the conversation about post-ac and alt-ac in a big big way.

I’ve thought about doing some of this book-review style, where I survey some of the relevant literature about job-changing, the adjunct “crisis,” and work/life “balance” and look at it from my own particularly jaundiced lens.  And maybe I will do this, but I’m thinking that this is an anonymous blog for a reason, and if I can’t get a draft, a first attempt, out there, then nothing else productive might ever come of it. I don’t know when I might actually put up this post, but if I’m blogging about life in the trenches of academia and post-academia, I might as well let some of it out of the gates. If you’re interested in the roles that gender, mothering and parenting, and being part of a dual-career couple intersect with the job search, then keep your eyes peeled; I’m sure there is more to come. I’m just not so sure I want to hit “post,” even if I expect I’ll do so eventually.