Thursday, February 08, 2007

Semi-Paralysis

Semi-Paralysis


It's not that I'm not blogging on purpose. Really. I'd like to be blogging more. I have a bunch of good pedagogical things to write about. I have a week to see if anybody is interested in putting together a panel for AHA next year -- that's by February 15. I have dozens of job applications to read by next week. I have stuff to review for Big Committee. I am still trying to keep up with the new survey prep and the brand-new upper division prep in a field not entirely my own. I have a book review to write (currently on a deadline extension). Oh ... and did I mention I have a conference paper to write? A conference paper I've barely started? OK, it's not due till May. But I really need it drafted by the middle of March, because I want to enjoy a visit from a very close friend (plus, I'd like to have it in a stage where he can read it without me feeling like a total idiot!). Somewhere in between, I need to put together a sensible plan and make arrangements to go to do some research this summer. I need to go to England, I think, as Germany is much harder to arrange. So it's BL and maybe Cambridge. And then I have to find funding. And next year, I have to apply for funding ahead of time.

So that's what I'm doing now. Not blogging much seems a good idea till I get a handle on my life.

In the meantime, full-time T-T jobs are hard. Being at a so-called teaching college that wants new faculty to publish is hard. Trying to keep up is hard. And it's different. It's really different. When you're on short-term contracts, you've got the stress of looking for the next job. Even in the best situations, and I was extremely fortunate to have had full-time visiting positions, I think you're never as invested. I was so lucky in that I got the chance to get used to service, and I was supported in my attempts to find a better job and keep up a minimal research agenda. I made great friends, people who will be my friends forever, I hope. But I always knew I'd have to leave.

I really love most of the things about my new job. I've got some great colleagues here, too. And I have never been so scared in my life. I'm feeling like an imposter again. My dean has put me on a Big Scary Committee, and my colleagues seem to think I know what I'm doing. But it doesn't help much. I've never worried so much about doing my job well enough. And, at the same time, the honeymoon is over. I'm starting to get a feel for some of the political currents (really not that bad compared to what I've seen, but they're there) and, like many new faculty, am finding that some of the promises made at hiring were based on what had gone before. In fact, SLAC has not really done the groundwork to support the kinds of things they told us we were hired to do. This makes me even more desperate to do well and get some work in press before I go up for tenure and promotion -- just in case. So, in addition to the stress of the new job, I'm putting more on myself, just in case I need to go on the market. The upshot is, of course, that I seem to be just this side of paralysis.

Ew. I just realised something about myself I'm a little worried about. I seem to be approaching both my professional and my personal life the same way. Not sure I like what that says.

8 comments:

Ahistoricality said...

I seem to be approaching both my professional and my personal life the same way.

That's not really a bad thing: trying to live one part of your life one way and another part another way leads to cognitive and emotional dissonance....

Another Damned Medievalist said...

Well, that's true. Unfortunately, I was thinking in terms of making contingency plans for both personal and professional life, rather than fucusing on the actual, real-life things I should be focusing on.

jb said...

No, you're not an imposter! I imagine everyone feels that way (or so I tell myself, when I become convinced that I have no business teaching a class). And just think, it's only, what, 3.5 months until summer?

What Now? said...

I'm glad you're loving most things about your new life (and that you have an upcoming visit from a special friend!), but of course you're feeling overwhelmed -- that's par for the course in the first year. So, put that way, you're clearly doing everything exactly right!

Just remember -- you can only do one thing at a time, and breathing always helps.

Another Damned Medievalist said...

WN -- is that when you stop for a moment, engage the lungs, and try to stop the brain from whirring around?

jb -- thanks! Misery loves company ;-)

Kelly in Kansas said...

Hang in there! You wouldn't be doing your job if you didn't feel a bit overwhelmed - too much is too new and we're used to thinking we're prepared for everything - and we really don't know until we get there. TGIF!

Steve Muhlberger said...

A lot of this feeling is an artifact of the prolonged apprenticeship that's part of academia. Prioritize and relax, and don't forget to eat well and get some exercise

Another Damned Medievalist said...

Steve, you rock! I really need to do get on the exercise thing. It's always the first thing to go, and the one thing that makes me feel better about everything (well, the one thing I can do by myself ...).

Hey -- I just saw your name on the Kazoo program. I hopr I see you there!