Sunday, March 25, 2007

Creepy colonization and irrational jealousy

Last fall I posted about my ex, JZ. How she had switched the area of her research and ended up doing a PhD on stuff that majorly overlapped with my own research area - an area that I'd been working on for years...Y'all confirmed that it was a little freaky.

I couldn't be in touch with her over the job search season, because I knew we were competing for the same jobs and I couldn't handle it - my oogliness about her colonizing my area really won out for a few months. But we have been back in touch recently, a little.

Yesterday, she sent me an email with the subject line "Ha".

Why "ha"? Because she was telling me that she'd just applied for my job. I mean my current job, at Dream Uni. They are hiring more contractually limited FT people for next year, while they await some TT positions being thrown their way. This is the job I would have stayed in, had I not gotten my TT, or had I turned down the TT (as I considered doing because I love it here so much).

I felt sick to my stomach upon reading this. The thought of her getting that job...moving into my office...teaching some of my students from this year, with whom I have such a bond. It makes me want to retch.

This is more acute because, as I have mentioned here before, a tenure line will probably open up in my general area in the not too distant future - perhaps the fall of 2008, if they're lucky. I would be very interested in applying for it and coming back here, of course. And even my Chair has mentioned this as a possibility. The thought of JZ getting in here, charming them all to death, and being positioned to just slide right into that job from the contract makes me want to poke my eyes out.

A, the friend I live with, is really bothered by this email. My first thought was that I was really overreacting, that of course I couldn't stop her from applying for this job, since she doesn't have anything lined up. But A pointed out that JZ knows how much I love this job - I have told her so - and knows how much I don't want to go to Very Bad Uni City. And so the non-creepy thing to do would be to simply check in with me before she sent off the application, just to see how I felt about it. To send me an email titled "Ha", saying "hee hee, look what I've done" is pretty grotesque.

10 comments:

medieval woman said...

It's absolutely creepy! But I told you this - I still think it's her weird obsession with her trying to live your life, but one or two steps behind you. She's like a shadow...

But I still think you'll be MUCH better positioned than an LD person for the job when it comes up...

Had such fun this weekend!

Flavia said...

I was going to say exactly what MW did--both that this is definitely creepy, but also that, if JZ *should* get this job, and if a TT position *should* open up soon at Dream Uni (and those are both big "if"s!), you'll still be a better candidate: like JZ, you'll have already worked there and gotten to know the people and the culture, but you'll ALSO have some tenure-track experience under your belt.

And that's huge: not only is there so much that's different about being a "real" faculty member than a contract one, but hiring committees definitely *perceive* you differently--someone else has already vetted you and hired you.

I'm sorry she's still dogging your steps, though--but look on the bright side: at least she didn't wind up getting a better (or any!) job than you, as you'd at first feared she might.

What Now? said...

I'm with MW and Flavia: If you and JZ both apply for a tenure-track position, you have a real advantage. Think about the program development you're going to do at your new school (isn't part of your job developing a new department?). And think about the publications you'll get in the next couple of years. And remember that YOU have charmed them all at Dream Uni! So that's not an advantage she has over you.

Pantagruelle said...

I was going to say the same thing as everyone here has. It's really, really creepy and weird. However, if a TT job opens up at Dream Uni, you would be in a much better position than crazy Ex. Already having a TT job confers on you tons of credibility that no amount of mere charm could live up to. In fact, the fact that she'd be a CLT would put her at a disadvantage (and you too were you to stay instead of having taken the TT job). Sessionals do not get taken seriously. No matter how nice your chair might be to your face, when it comes down to hiring, the grass is always greener on the other side. Once one gets labelled a sessional, that's all the TT people will ever see, and sessionals are only ever there to do the dirty work that nobody else wants to do or that the Uni doesn't want to pay somoene a decent wage to do. Having one's feet under the table, even if one is qualified, basically disqualifies you. Believe me, I saw it happen at my uni, an extremely well-qualified person, spouse of a current TT prof, got the job talk but not the job, despite having more publications, in part because she had sessionaled for my uni for years. The fact that she was good enough to do the low-paying work (and win a teaching award from the undergrads for doing it so well and being so nice!) basically disqualified her as a "serious" researcher. Instead we hired some wet-behind the ears ABD with barely any pubs but who was (literally) exotic. It was shameful and caused bitterness, but that's the way it is. Sessionals just don't get any respect.

dbm/gaa said...

"Sessionals just don't get any respect." Sad, but somewhat true. I'll confirm everything everyone else said about being better placed etc.

Now, on to JZ and her behaviour. Sending an email entitled "Ha" about a job she knows you love...well she's fucking with you and not in a nice way. If I were you I'd cut contact with her, you don't need that kind of crap in your life. Her overconfidence is going to trip her up someday, but even the lovely schadenfreude of watching her fall shouldn't tempt you into keeping any real contact with her. From where I'm sitting she sounds like poison, and who need that?

squadratomagico said...

I think JZ sounds like a petty and unpleasant person. Surely she has some postive qualities as well, or you wouldn't have been involved with her, but at this point it seems like her attitude towards you is tinged with personal/emotional bitterness that she is re-directing in a professional direction. She knows that, since you are the "real" academic (according to your earlier post), that this is a good way to hurt you. And make no mistake: she is trying to hurt you.

As for the job situation: I'm sure you've done this already, but I'd make sure that your colleagues at Dream Uni know that you are very interested in the possible future TT position. Then keep in touch after you leave. And yes, your stock is on the rise, above JZ's, simply because you have a TT elsewhere.

Hilaire said...

Thanks, y'all. You're right...i just don't think I realized the extent to which having a TT job would make a difference in trying to come back. MW, you're right, you told me, but I think I was so freaked by the whole thing I couldn't absorb it!

Anyway, it's interested to ponder whether she is, in fact, fucking with me. Or whether she is just so entirely clueless about it. Hmm. Go away, JZ.

dbm/gaa said...

She's fucking with you. I can't see you ever dating anyone that clueless!

MaggieMay said...

They all said what I was going to say. But know that I am fully creeped out (and very annoyed) on your behalf. What an icky person.

(My word veri is "zmtwad." That about describes her, don't you think?)

medieval woman said...

Basically we all just like *you* better! Who would ever hire a "zmtwad" for t-t?? ;)