Assistant Professors are needed starting in the 2011 academic year... at so many schools, in so many locations across the country. My husband and I - well, we're caught in a whirlwind!
I have so much confidence in him, and know that he will land a great job - he has done so many great things throughout the long process of graduate studies, and I know he will be an asset to a very lucky college or university. I know he can fit in anywhere, private or public, big or small, and I know he will continue to succeed. Of course, as his wife, I'm obligated to be his biggest fan.
Options are starting to fly in from all geographic regions. When a new one is posted, we talk about it realistically- what it would be like to live in that location, how the job call suits his experience and research, what might be there for me as far as graduate school or a career is concerned... and then, we add it to "the list". The list of definitely's, maybe's, and last resorts. Really, it's in our hands - at least, at first. All of the schools he sends an application to will be possibilities for us.
We have supportive families, but they have a limited understanding of how challenging this situation really is for us. Most people, with the exception of those who are already immersed in academia, don't thoroughly understand this experience (and it's effing crazy as a spouse, let me tell you!) The most important factor in this job market 'adventure' is that my husband acquires a job that will enable him to utilize all of the knowledge, experience, research goals, and ideas he's gained and developed over the past five years. Being a professor doesn't stop at teaching - academia is a unique world, and I've learned just by being a bystander that it's competitive as heck. Publications, Presentations -the two big P's. In addition to a fantastic job opportunity, finding a place where we can have fun, and really enjoy our lives is important. Maybe we'll settle there, maybe we won't. Maybe we'll raise children there, maybe it'll be somewhere else. Where will I fit in? Where can I find a great job, too? Yes, we miss our loved ones. But the road home isn't going to disappear. We want a life full of excitement, travel, new experiences, challenges, and goals (yeah, try saying that at the Thanksgiving dinner table in rural West Virginia. It goes over really well!)
At this point, it's entirely up to us - more so my husband, since he's the job seeker. Together, we decide what could be best for us, he will complete the application process for each school. But when I drop those applications off to the post master, mailed via priority mail, insured and with a tracking number, it's completely out of our hands. We will wait... for the phone to ring. Side note: any predictions on how much money I'll spend on postage this year?
The next phase of the academic job market will occur later this fall. And you can best bet, I will be blogging about what i've playfully named "the waiting game" - so stay tuned!