Dear Readers, there have been THINGS going on.
(I have three small children. There are always THINGS, frankly.)
I weaned Sweetpea two months ago; I have been either pregnant or nursing for seven of the last eight years. My health was most charitably described as not fantastic. I am now giving my health a year to recover from All That Stuff. (Also, a nice course of steroids and three kinds of antihistamines... yeah.)
I rage-quit the local LLL group after one round too many of "Food before one is just for fun!" Oddly, the WHO believes it is for not having fucking malnutrition. Apparently science is only for when convenient.
My lovely flower bed is almost too full of plants to plant anything else.
(I have started another, deer-resistant, one. There are worse problems to have.)
My part-time job has had Issues. I can't really talk about those issues. Let's just say, someone quit but is still hanging around, someone needs to be hired temporarily, the local accreditor threw their usual fit over 18 Credit Hours Of Thing (my actual PhD in science from fucking Snooty U may be insufficient qualification to keep first-year students from setting themselves on fire, and teach them titration, my hand to God). A somewhat unfortunate conversation left me with the impression that my work is not valued. This set off a round of my Screw You Reflex, which was already present due to Person Who Quit (I have applied for 6 jobs in the last 3 months).
Also, I've been engaged in fine round of reflection on "Is this what I really want to be doing with my life?"
I am an adjunct. I'm well-paid to do this, but there is no room for any kind of advancement, more pay, or even more work. How long do I want to do this? I don't know. Somewhere between one more year and five more years, but probably not more than that. Also, they still haven't told me if I'll even be teaching... in August. You know, in two months.
So! What am I going to do with my life? I have been working on it.
Here are the things I value: time to pursue hobbies like gardening; money; social interaction with reasonable humans; work that I feel has purpose; work that is interesting; work that has social value to me;
Right now, I have very little time not devoted to child-wrangling, and so only the social-interaction gets filled. That is necessary, but not sufficient. What would be sufficient? At least two. Time and social value would do, but that won't happen until the children are all in school. Otherwise, one needs to be money.
ADJUNCTING: Pluses: convenient, local, money per hour is good. Minuses: cap means my max earnings there ever will be ~30,000/year (for 15-20 hr/week of work for 9 months a year); will likely never do anything but intro chem; lack of professional respect*; nowhere to go; may limit future career prospects; unpleasant uncertainty until the last minute, apparently forever. Uncertain factors: New boss who isn't really the boss yet; nobody knows what is happening including new boss.** VERDICT: Form exit strategy for within next 4 years.***
SKIPPING TOWN: Pluses: literally anywhere else has more employment prospects. Minuses: we are near my parents, who are fantastic and make my life 50% easier; we live in literally the most beautiful part of the state; we have a nice house and a really good life; the local public schools are pretty good; a huge set of benefits including college tuition; Dr. S has a fantastic job with fantastic people, which he really likes and which is basically optimized in a lot of ways that are difficult to achieve. In essence, all parameters except 'acceptable employment for me' are met. Surely I can find something acceptable in the next four years?
WAITING IT OUT: Jobs do, periodically, come open at the colleges. (One for which I applied is now open AGAIN because the lady they hired instead of me... up and quit!).
MOAR EDUCATION: Pluses: there is an online course at Nearby Respected State University in computer stuff; this would probably make me more competitive for all the IT stuff. Would actually give me interesting useful skills. Minuses: Would still need to find something I could do remotely, or would have to commute 2+ hrs/day; or could wait it out for an IT job at local college (iffy!). Money for course (not excessive).
REALLY MOAR EDUCATION: I could go get a bachelor's in computer science and redo from start. While this seems ridiculous, if my knowledge/experience/credentials are doing me no good now, they are a sunk cost and it's time to move on. Pluses: I could be a programmer for real! More possibilities for remote work. Minuses: Time, initial investment, other programmers.
POSSIBLE JOB AT COLLEGE IN NEXT CITY OVER: I applied for an adjunct job there and the chair emailed me about a job opening up next year. I mean... really? There is no way. But let's pretend. Would I even want to do this? I DON'T KNOW.
POSSIBLE OTHER JOBS: Would need to convince various parties to employ me long-distance. Current job contacts work in defense (I am an honest-to-God pacifist) and education software (about which I know little). Would prob need at least the Moar Ed option.
I have no more time to reflect right now, but, More Thoughts Later.
* I am 'not competetive' for a 'real' faculty job because I didn't go do research at an R1 for 5 years after getting my honest-to-God research PhD. Which, fine, whatever, I wasn't willing to pay that price. But still: Academia, DIAF.
** We did have a friendly conversation the other day in which I said "If this continues to be one course per semester there will come a time when it is no longer worth it to me." (Implied: That time will be really soon.)
*** At which point Sweetpea will be in school and Dr. S will have gone up for tenure, which gives us both more latitude and time to deal with everything and, for many reasons, would make it easier for him to find another job if we have to burn it all down and move.