Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Ooh, god

So I'm being offered a TT job at the place I interviewed at a couple of weeks ago.

Thing is, I don't really want it.

I cried the whole plane ride home, precisely because the interview had gone so well and I knew an offer was a very real possibility.

It was: The city - oh god. The fact that the university is in upheaval. The fact that I'd have a huge - and potentially exciting, but really just a lot - service role in the midst of a university in upheaval. As a very junior faculty member. The Dean telling me, in our short meeting, that I'd have to come in there with my eyes open. Its huge distance from anyone I know; that means a lot for a person who values connection, and has many connections in my part of the world. All these things combine to make it seem terrifying.

The university that was my favourite of the five I applied to - and the one that I also supposed was the longest shot - has asked me for a writing sample; they wanted me to get it to them asap. By yesterday (which I dutifully and excitedly did, of course). So there is the potential that I will be considered for that position. And last week, after I was back from the interview, I asked my Chair at current Dream Uni - where I am on full-time contract - out for a drink, and we talked about the possibility of securing a two-year contract for me there. I would, I think, be willing to stay for a multi-year contract. Am I crazy? Anyway, it probably doesn't matter if I am, because though Chair would like to keep me, it's unlikely the administration would come up with such a thing.

Anyway. Algh. I should be happy, I know. A TT job! But I only feel apprehensive. The job freaks me out. And the thought of trying to juggle and push at departments and people makes my stomach lurch and turn.

I need a drink. A big one. Now.


medieval woman said...

Go have a drink and a good meal - I think this will be a great bargaining chip (even though I know it's hard to think of having to bargain for something like this!) - it was awesome to hang out the last couple of days! :) Yay team!

Flavia said...

Oh, sweetie! That's good news--two pieces of good news, actually, what with the writing sample request. And I'm with MW: look at it as a bit of leverage for future job offers. And if none emerge, and if a 2-year position isn't possible at your current institution, just remember that it's always easier to move from one TT job to another than to move from a non-tenure-line job to one on the TT.

If this is the only offer you get, and if it's not a *terrible* place--just in upheaval--take the offer and make it work for you. Get some service cred, design some new classes, whatever--but go right back out on the market in a year or two.

Bardiac said...

First off, congratulations on the offer. It's great to be able to make your own decision once you've got an offer.

I think Flavia's right that it's also easier to move from one TT position to another.

Good luck with your decision, Hilaire.

lil'rumpus said...

Congrats! This is a tough one. Do you take short term certainty and potential unhappiness in the hopes for longterm happiness and certainty OR do you say no to the certainty in favor of uncertainty and potentially more short-term happiness? I say stall them until you get some news from school #1 and use this as leverage for both that job and the 2-year contract.

Hilaire said...

Thanks, all, for your wisdom. I think I will try to stall them...and it appears I will have some time...I am feeling slightly less freaked out about it this morning - probably the result of that big drink I needed and had. :) I still don't relish the wheeling and dealing it feels like it involves - but I have to recognize that I am in a position of power here.

What Now? said...

In my second year on the job market, I turned down a TT job even though I knew there would be no other job opportunities arising that year. (I did have another year of postdoctoral lecturing at my alma mater, so I knew I could give it a shot the next year.) I just hated the job and the geographic location SO MUCH that I was incredibly depressed by my visit there; the thought of having to live there was just too much. Some folks in my grad program were really pissed at me -- they had all said that I should take the job and "write my way out" -- but I knew that I wouldn't be able to write my way out if I was depressed and that life was too short to knowingly take on a context that seemed so awful to me.

All of which is to say that there are no right answers in this circumstance; I hate it when that happens!

If you can stall until you hear from other schools, that seems like a helpful direction.

Congrats on the offer, and best of luck to you in deciding what happens next.

Hilaire said...

WN, thanks so much for that story. That helps a lot. I know there are probably a lot of people who think I sound like a spoiled asshole to even think about turning down a TT job when there are no others on the horizon...But I think it comes down to the question of happiness, etc. I hate the way this career sometimes forces people to choose between "career" and "life" - and that to some people, having a career trumps everything else. Like you, I don't see it quite that way.

dbm/gaa said...

You know I don't think is crazy to turn it down! Still a tough spot to be in, though.