Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Save Me

It feels a bit like we here at the OG are on somewhat of a similar trajectory, no? Lex writes about returning to grad school and I find myself (potentially, probably) returning to the classroom in one and a half weeks.

I got a surprise offer today to teach a class in the Women’s Studies department at my present institution. Gender, Identity & Pop Culture: my first, my most frequently taught, my most loved course. A pretty fucking nice surprise, that. I said yes, of course.

Even more surprising, the WMST gig wasn’t the first teaching offer I got this week. This was offer one of four. None of them was a sure thing (and, due to contractual obligations to my full-time non-teaching day job, I can only accept one of them anyway), but it’s the first “maybe” I’ve encountered after a long, long dry spell.

I guess what I am getting at, if I allow myself to feel optimistic, is that this has the makings of a much more significant turn of events—not just a temporary return to the classroom, but possibly a return to teaching. If the budget situation is actually turning around and there is finally new hiring again on campus and there is a reasonable expectation of regular work, I could tell this job that I loathe to go fuck itself and happily rejoin the ranks of impoverished contingent academic labor.

And, of course, this being me, I have cruised right past acknowledging that this is all wild speculation and skipped straight to thinking about what this purely hypothetical turn of events might mean.

Could this be the exit that I am so desperately seeking? My last career move (not that I really had any good options at the time) was a huge mistake and I just. want. out. Escape fantasy? Probably. Although maybe, on a positive note, it might also translate into fewer hours spent fantasizing about stabbing myself or my co-workers.

Isn’t it also likely that I am setting myself up (again) by trying to make this somehow more than just a long shot job prospect? Haven’t I learned the perils of tying my identity to my occupation? Every day I try to remind myself, “Fuck it, it’s just a job.” You know, unless it’s that job, in which case it’s totally a measure of my self-worth. (And on the days when that job kind of sucks? Or when the reality of returning to living paycheck to paycheck comes back to bite me in the ass because, after all, that job really doesn’t pay for shit? Or when something inevitably happens to remind me that a not insignificant number of my faculty “colleagues” pretty much believe that if you’re not tenure-track you’re not shit? How will that whole defining myself based on my job thing be working out for me then?) I could end up hating that job, too (and hating myself more) just because I went into it with unhealthy and unrealistic expectations.

I’ve obviously got a lot of shit that needs sorting out. But it’s so much easier to ignore it all and think about how my make-believe job prospects are going to change my life, right?

1 comment:

lex dexter said...


I wish I was auditing your class.

As somebody who has spent half my life uselessly preparing for actual and (mostly) imagined future events, I identify with your situation. I am not sure when I "learned" to be terrified of changing events or when I "learned" to try preempting a scary future with bad thoughts... (I'm pretty sure I couldn't have been older than 5.)

But I'll tell you what? I really wish that I could shake free from the impulse to understand good news as primarily a reason to start worrying about whatever bad news the good news might be bringing along with it. In some ways it's as bad a habit as arson.