Job Market Sads are so far away now 

I finally took a sweep though the sad little trickle of German jobs this year and remembered how my heart would pound in my throat when the first day of the MLA list came out. The way I’d inwardly psych myself up to live forever in a random assortment of cities and towns to which I had no connection. The way I’d nearly faint if a job came up somewhere I would actually want to be on purpose. The way I knew in my deepest soul that I would move anywhere they’d tell me, if only they’d let me into their club. 

That all seems so far away now. 

Not just because I have a kid, and other more banal and pressing things to worry about, such as how to keep a very determined small human from attempting to swim in the terlet. 

Not just because I work freelance now and could move literally anywhere I wanted in the world (i.e. Somehow I still live in St. Louis by PERSONAL CHOICE). 

But also because it’s been years now, multiple years, since the job market ruled my every waking second (and caused an increasingly awful series of nervous breakdowns this time every year), and I have healed.

I have healed. 

Does some of my 2013 prose now embarrass me, as people insisted it would? Meh, not really. If only because I know that at this time of year my “back catalogue” has itself staved off a nervous breakdown or two (and I have the emails to prove it!). But I’m over it. I am. I’m over academia. I’m largely over writing about academia, and only do so when a news event or subject arises that I believe I have a truly memorable “take” on.

I’m over all of it. I don’t know if it’s the kid, or the time, or the luck I’ve had as a commercial writer, or the light-headedness from the norovirus, but I am grateful. We’ve come to the end of our epic paternity-leave adventure and are headed home tomorrow, to whatever passes as normal for this stage of our lives, and I’m grateful. 

I’ll be back on Slate and Vitae early in January, and have a pub date for my book (the real one!) soon thereafter. To those of you still in the academic job-market misery cycle, I send you wishes of luck and hugs for the godforsaken conferences you’re about to waste $1000 attending. I’d be there to cheer you up if I could get in without paying, I could bring my daughters’ grandmothers along to make her give zero fucks about my whereabouts, and it was located in Costa fucking Rica. 





9 thoughts on “Job Market Sads are so far away now 

  1. This this this this THIS! It took me two more years than you, but I have also reached this point. I looked at the job list last night and chuckled a bit, wondering why I had ever allowed myself to be subjected to the insanity of the academic job market. I love my job teaching at a swanky NYC private school and the family I probably wouldn’t have had I stayed in academia.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t know if I’ll ever reach Zen-like acceptance of the fact that I will never have a career, but I’m a lot closer to it than I was five years ago (when I decided to leave). Happy New Year to you and the kiddo!


  3. It’s great that you’re over academia! I’m over it too and I totally hate it, and luckily I have moved on to a fun and exciting career doing completely different stuff. That said, I’m very sad that you don’t plan to write about academia very much in the future.

    I say this because there are very few people out there in your position: you understand it well enough to critique it effectively, but you have no stake in it and don’t hold back because you’re concerned about pissing off your committee, or getting a job. And you have a platform where you can reach a wide academic audience (Vitae) as well as a non-academic audience (Slate).

    So I hope you’ll reconsider and write about it at least once in awhile!


  4. it’s been an honor following your journey. I am so so happy with the way it turned out for you. It’s a great story of human (or should I say Schuman) resilience, power and wisdom. Although I stayed in academia, I too learned a great deal from reading you. XO to all three!


  5. In the midst of my 4th year on the market. 3 interviews in year one; 2 in year 2; 2 in year 3; had 1, pitiful interview this season. FML.


  6. Just as a note: Your prose from however long ago should never embarrass you. It’s wonderfully sharp and has been since I started reading it roughly 3 years ago.


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