I promised myself weeks ago (at Medieval Woman's suggestion) that I would email POP Me U for an update come February. Well, January lasts, where I am, a mere half-hour more. So bright and early I'm going to craft a polite "what's up" email. Perhaps I will soon be crestfallen with the news that I am not and never was on their shortlist. Or maybe I will find out that they are interviewing at another conference, the whole process drawn out longer. I don't know. But I must know. Knowing anything, including that they are using my cover letter as a dartboard on their faculty bulletin board, will be a relief. I'm just not a nice person like this, refusing to return phone calls because I don't want to have to hear the question: how's the job hunt?
But it does occur to me, the time finally drawing nigh, that the period of waiting/daydreaming does have its good side: I get to imagine my life in all sorts of ways, each future unknown, possible, and strange -- but which is also a bit threatening, like it will all turn out to be a nightmare like that one where I go on in a play that I've been acting in for a while, but suddenly it occurs to me that I shouldn't know the part, that I can't remember studying the lines, so I forget them. All the while, I am terribly aware that if I could just forget myself -- that is, I don't have to know what I'm doing -- I will just go on auto-pilot, acting in the play as I have nights upon nights before. As if I would get to some job, some future, and not really be able to figure out what I'm supposed to do there.
These last few days I've built up some righteous indignation for POP Me U, as if they are the only ones who haven't gotten back to candidates (the Wiki is full of them) -- also a premonition/fear that they have already hired someone else. We'll see what happens. I will say that checking their website everyday has proven totally unhelpful in maintaining any sort of peace of mind. Also, frantic Wiki-checking is not a good idea (but inevitable, like eating the entire of contents of one's fridge when your boyfriend dumps you for a stick insect). But the old saw that one hour of exercise is worth 50 MG of Zoloft? Inexplicably, right on the money.
I have been spending time in the presence of my dissertation, who has rebelled against being called The Blob and demands a nice name or he'll be mean to me and go all squirrelly again. We go on mini-dates, where, like a couple trying to patch things up, we see if we can remember how to be good to one another again. Part of this trial patch-up is moving off the computer onto paper, which seems less loaded. I now write notes and things, do reading, count searching for files on my computer as time we're spending together. (Note that I do not call my time with the dissertation work. She doesn't like that. (Note sex change. It's difficult for me to catch up with all the metamorphosing.)) Part of this I got from Boice's Advice for New Faculty Members, since I've decided I am one, even if no one yet recognizes. (Thanks, Dr. Four Eyes, for the suggestion!)
Last week, before I melted down, I went to a gathering of three of us on the market. One who had a whirlwind flyback-campus interview said simply that she felt it was the right job at the wrong time. She seemed at peace. Another, the kind who has gotten every award the department has to offer, says she's avoiding the department right now: she wants to duck the perennial question (how the job search going?) because she is afraid of letting down all her mentors. And then there was me. Just a stewing black cloud.
In rockin' news, Medieval Woman and Hilaire are both in negotiations! Awesome!