Saturday, February 15, 2020

Musings From a Meeting

Currently I am at a large scientific meeting in a very rainy coastal city. (My current employer funds one meeting a year for my position.) In some ways it's been great. I got a fantastic idea for if I want to start a research lab again (this is a possibility); I listened and talked to people about diversity and inclusion; I learned some new things.

In other ways it's been overwhelmingly depressing. My current teaching job has an end date in four years. I don't have a real job and I don't have a real plan. I've applied for 10 jobs in a month. My first choice is to stay where we are- where my spouse has a rich and fulfilling job- but it is a town of 3000. It's not an immediate problem, and I'm trying to be chill about Everything Is Okay Now, but what's going to happen in four more years? Is there a job for me? Any job? Something???

So this meeting is depressing (to me!) because everyone is talking about ideas and possibilities and opportunities and.... almost all of them are closed to me unless my spouse sets his job on fire and we sell our house and move. At the same time, I feel like I literally can't make my hopes and career plans any smaller than "I just want a job that doesn't suck and has the potential to be ongoing."  I am a smart, trained professional who can do lots of useful things and nobody will even interview me- no matter how cheerful and focused my cover letter and resume are- because I don't have a degree in career advising (?!?), or I don't have 3 years of experience in greenhouse plant pathology, or they all think i can't do anything but teach, or whatever.

I could go acquire another degree in something. Then what if nobody local will hire me? I'll be out $$,$$$ and still unemployed.

I could get a job elsewhere and not see my family 5 days a week. This sounds quite unappetizing to me.

I could.... take a job I'll hate? This also does not sound good.

I could keep looking for jobs and trust that, even though the last one for which I was very well qualified didn't even interview me, something will work out. My optimism is probably unequal to this.

Advice,  commenters?


  1. Wish I had a magic ball so you could see all the wonderful things in your future. My kids are all grown now and I was able to have two different careers after they left (having a PhD does help). Things tend to work out if you keep trying. I'd recommend you stay working on your latest idea if you can. The more your are an expert the more likely jobs will come to you.
    So glad you post here. Love keeping up with your life and I laugh at your snarkiness.

  2. That sounds so frustrating.

    What would your ideal job be if you had a choice and it let you stay there?

    1. A mix of teaching 1 or 2 classes, and some kind of staff position!


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