Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Hard Time

I'm still going through kind of a hard time. I still don't want to blog about it in any kind of detail--I might never blog about it in any kind of detail; you're not missing much--but I do feel like I need to just...I don't about it vaguely? Because I'm not feeling so great over here.

Basically, there are personal issues that shall remain nameless. These personal issues might resolve in a perfectly good way, the way in which I'd imagined all along they would resolve. But they might not. It's that "might not" that's a new development, and that has left me much more ragged and wrecked than I would have expected it to. And bound up with it all is my total ambivalence about this job, and all the unhappiness about being here that I've been trying to suppress for the last couple of months. I'd started to do a pretty good job of convincing myself that being here next year won't be so bad, and that there's productive, meaningful work that I do actually care about, and etc etc. And really, the job itself isn't the problem, I don't think. It's my life here that's the problem. Confronted with the possibility that the (personal) future I'd projected for myself might never materialize, I'm left feeling like--well, like I don't know what the point of what I'm doing is. At all.

I know that that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. But I've been walking around feeling like I've been scooped out, and it's really scary. In the last year, I've had to give up (temporarily, I hope) a number of things that have been meaningful and important to me, and now it looks like I might have to give up some much bigger meaningful and important things. What I'm left with is my career, and--guess what!--it turns out that my career simply isn't enough. That, as much as I want to do well in this career, it loses all importance when it's put next to the things that I may have to give up as a result of it. But hey, the career is what I've got, and...not much else.

Okay, yes, this sounds highly melodramatic. And of course I'll find other non-career things to fill up the other parts of my life, eventually. (Maybe. I mean, I look at the female professors that I had in grad school, and I don't necessarily see lives that I want, but whatever--one must hope.) It's just...hard to go through this, even if it is temporary, and even if everything might turn out okay and I'm getting all worked up over nearly nothing. But I'm lonely, and sad, and I don't know what to do with myself over this wonderfully long weekend when I'd planned to get a whole lot of work done, but find that really I don't feel much in the mood for anything.

I need it to be summer so that I can get the hell out of this town.


Sisyphus said...

Oh no! Sending hugs! Sending chocolate! Sending beer!

Is there someone you can call and lay this all out on in a conversation? I can see not wanting it out in the blog-world where who knows who can pick it up and read it later, but venting it all off on someone sympathetic sometimes helps to work you through it.

And, you know, lots of people start at one place and then move to another place --- that whole "starter job" thing --- so, are your concerns about this job REALLY BIG and look like you can't put up with it for a couple years, or do you think you can live with it and then try to get out of there?

You should come visit!!! I don't want to do my work either. Heh.

Thoroughly Educated said...

Everything Sis said! Plus more hugs. I'm feeling very much the same way (minus unbloggable crisis), so you are virtually not alone.

Fretful Porpentine said...

That sucks. I'm sorry. (And it sucks, in general, that there are so many junior faculty in this profession who can't get the jobs and the lives they really want, but keep being told that they should be grateful to have anything.)

I'm feeling the loneliness too, though of course for different reasons. There so has to be a better way.

Hilaire said...

Oh dear. I'm so sorry - that's all I can say. I know it sucks. All the hugs and commiseration coming your way. I do wish we could all get together this weekend for a big cathartic bitchfest.

Dr. Crazy said...

Ok, from the late end of the tenure track, I'll say this: the job isn't everything. It's just not. That said, my feelings of total alienation and unhappiness that I felt at the front end of the process are no longer something I feel. I don't say this like, "Oh, you're suddenly going to love where you are!" but rather to tell you that if you like the job, well, things *can* improve. All of that said, if whatever you're feeling might not work out will only not work out because of the job.... it's worth telling the job to fuck off. I know that's crazy advice, but you won't be happy in a place that you feel you chose in *spite* of the consequences. And your happiness is what's paramount. Don't think that because you started on this particular path that you're stuck in it. There's no perfect or right answer to this stuff (hard for us peeps who've always been good students to realize or to accept).

Just do the best you can do for YOU. And know that sometimes that means doing things for yourself that aren't always the best things to do in terms of the job.

I'm having a glass of wine and you should be having one as well :)

Take care, babe! It will get better!

squadratomagico said...

Joining in on the chorus! I hope the unbloggable issue resolves itself in a positive direction. And as for the job... it's not as if other possibilities are closed off to you (THAT only comes with tenure!). Many academics, perhaps most, move from their first positions. I certainly did (would have hated to stay in that first place- ugh!) and I think most folks I know have. So, it's a struggle, and but don't despair yet! Also, the fact that you're conscious of this issue, and are having these discussions with yourself means that at least you can make a real decision about the costs of academia, should it come to that, rather than looking back in 20 years and thinking: how the hell did I get here?

Sorry you're feeling low, heu.

What Now? said...

I'm so sorry you're having a hard time. I hope that the unbloggable issue resolves itself positively, and I support you in the "career isn't enough" thinking. Career isn't nothing, of course, and satisfying work seems necessary for a satisfying life, but it's not enough in and of itself.

Blessings to you as you work through this difficult time.

heu mihi said...

Thanks, everyone--your words really help. In fact, that's sort of why I posted. I needed some good words, even if they come from afar (and from people I've never actually met! But that's irrelevant; I know you all in some important ways, I think).

I'm pretty up and down lately--currently up, so that's good. Expect a post on the mood swings soon! Of course, I also promised to post more pictures of my trip, and have I? No. So maybe it's best to keep your expectations low, or at least flexible. Anyway. Thanks again. Kindness helps!

Maude said...

well, i'm really late to the conversation, so i'll just say ditto.

and p.s. i've tagged you for a meme. a mindless thing that hopefully will be more fun rather than reflective. :-)

medieval woman said...

I, too, am late to this - but I wanted to say I'm thinking of you and I hope things look up soon!!!