Thursday, May 17, 2007

Career Musings

I'm back at work today, and am trying to adjust to the idea that I will, from now on, no longer have summers off.

God, I'm a whiny mcwhinikins.  There is, like, a whole nation of people who work through the summers.  What's my problem?  And, to top it off, I really only will be working 3 days a week for the next few months.  So I'm not really back at work, the way a whole lot of other people are.

But why compare myself to everyone else?  I really have liked having summers off, have needed the time to refuel.  I'm going to miss it, goddammit.  Furthermore, I'm not paid to work during the summer:  I'm on a nine-month contract.  And also, this country is crazy insane when it comes to working so much all the time.  What are we trying to prove?  That we are the most productive nation on earth?  Or are we just lost as a people, unable to be with ourselves outside the framework of the career?

What am I trying to prove, is more like it.  The whole tenure-track thing may become a reality after all, and I wonder what I'm getting myself into.  I mean, I want it, feel like I've been working for it for all this time.  I'm ready to do the research, do the writing.  I'm ready to be judged by a panel of my quirkiest peers.  But there is a whole life I'll be leaving behind and, quite honestly, I will miss it a little.  Because if this summer is any indication, being on the tenure-track is a year-round gig.  There ain't no summers off, no more.

Being paid more won't hurt.  Being recognized for the work I do won't, either.  Being away from my kids will, but it already does, and it's a trade-off I'm usually willing to negotiate. 

I guess I just want to remember to keep checking in with myself, to make sure this is, indeed, what I want, and that my family is stronger and saner with me working than not.  Right now, I know the answers to these questions.  But as time goes on, the answers and maybe even the questions will shift.  

Okay.  Back to the work.


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