Sunday, June 12, 2016

You Never Write, You Never Call

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.


  1. Good luck with the job/life search!

    Re: a second BS-- you'd probably be fine just taking the specific classes you need, having demonstratable projects, etc.

    Re: food before one: The food before one helps make people feel less freaked out when their kids weren't "eating enough" but are still completely healthy, getting most of their nutrients from breastmilk and/or formula. My DC1 started solids pretty late (and DC2 started them pretty early) but didn't have any problem once he did start. And so many women would freak out about their kids being completely within the normal range prescribed by the AAP (which at the time was 6-12 mo, now they're back to recommending 4-6 mo, IIRC). The WHO guidelines (saying you "must start at 6 mo") are very different than they were when DC1 was born and I bet they will change again in another 10 years. Kids in the US are getting regular health check-ups by their pediatricians and probably don't need a line delineated in the sand. If I had to force food into DC1 at 6mo at the regular intervals that WHO site recommends we both would have gone crazy. It makes much more sense to me that when a baby wants food and the tongue thrust reflex is gone that that's a good time to start solids for real. In short, I am highly skeptical of the science behind that WHO article (especially since it says it's from 2003, and when DC1 was a baby the AAP was recommending something completely different), but don't care enough to actually read up on it. My strong sense from actually doing the research between DC1 and DC2 is that science doesn't know jack and there's about a million ways that babies end up starting solids, which is a good thing given human history.

    1. I was referring specifically to the CRAAAZY lady here who refused to feed her child ANY people food before one, not a single bite, because, wait for it, she was afraid of allergies. Emblematic of their average hard core anti science attitude which I 100% cannot hang with. I don't personally care when people 'should' feed their kids people food, and malnutrition is, yes, rarely a concern here (except for that one lady's one year old!) but these people. I'm done.

  2. Sorry if you're getting this twice, I think it got eaten. First of all, HOFUCKINGRAY on weaning. You've sure put up with a lot in the name of nursing, so it makes me happy to think that you are done for the rest of your LIFE. (Right? You're not going to have another unplanned pregnancy, right?)

    On the one hand, your list of options does have a certain "the universe mostly revolves around other people's needs right now" flavor to it. But on the other hand, there ARE quite a few options! And there's the nice thing where every day that you do nothing is not really doing nothing, it's the waiting it out option. Are you gonna apply for the job they didn't hire you for last time? If I'm recalling correctly, it was a pretty decent fit for you. But maybe adjuncting is better?


    Job that didn't hire me has become a morass of "your whole job will be conflict resolution", which is why the other person quit! I'm passing on it. I already do conflict resolution all day every day and it does not appeal!


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