This book is excellent.
It's also freaking me the freak out. I started reading it this week. The same week I began my new life as a full-time mother and received my first rejection letter (from this most recent job search anyway). Not ideal timing to read a collection of essays written by women successful at the career I would love to have. Or maybe it is exactly what I need to keep me moving towards my "goal." Whatever that is. What I do know is that it was the wrong thing to reach for last night when I couldn't sleep because I was freaking out about what I want to do when I grow up. Needless to say, it didn't help and I couldn't fall asleep until nearly one o'clock despite having gone to bed at ten.
I woke up feeling tremendous anxiety about finding a job. I mindlessly chugged my coffee staring at my computer while Ryan made breakfast. Then I spent the twenty minute drive to church relating anecdotes from the book to Ryan in a crazed caffeine fueled monologue. The hour-long Sunday school class was agonizing because I needed to GET THESE THOUGHTS OUT OF MY HEAD (get them verbalized, that is, not out as in gone forever, oh if only) and EAT SOME DONUTS before I EXPLODED.
Ryan is very supportive. However, he was unreceptive to my most coherent suggestion, which was to move to a small college town in rural Massachusetts where I could walk to work.
The rejection letter I got from Huge State University was more encouraging than anything I have heard from my advisor in years. It meant a lot coming from an objective observer. And it made me think. Maybe I am qualified to get an academic job. Maybe I'm not a giant failure for taking two extra years to get my degree than I was supposed to. Maybe that really only had to do with the internship I went on, the change in dissertation topic, the field project I ran, or the TWO HUMAN BEINGS I CREATED WITH MY BODY during that time. In fact, I think I've demonstrated a considerable amount of loyalty and commitment for finishing at all, especially since my fellowship (i.e. paycheck) ran out two years ago.
There are some barriers to getting a job, of course. I don't want to work full time right now, I can't move to a new city, and my desire to work changes minute-to-minute based on who took their nap on time and who made me miss "The Doctors." I have sent out five applications for various part time teaching positions (in one of the essays in the book a woman sent out more than eighty applications for tenure track positions, resulting in six interviews; obviously I have a ways to go). I check the nearby colleges (everything within an hour's drive) for new job postings weekly. I have hit up an old professor for consulting work I could do from home. I feel like I am doing the best I can, but what if it doesn't work? I have a lot of fun staying home, that is not the problem. But how long can I not work before I become obsolete?
I have to go to bed THIS SECOND because it is eleven o'clock and ten is my bedtime (and I just accidentally deleted four paragraphs about pregnancy and self-image and academia, it was really amazing stuff believe me), but if anyone has any insight (or job offers, you know, something with benefits, an office, and unlimited free coffee in the copy room), I would love to hear your thoughts.