Thursday, May 31, 2007

The good things

That last post from Congress was really whiny. In fact, it didn't really reflect the goodness that the conference represented for me. (I do have another whiny post brewing, unfortunately - but for now, the positive!)

It was good because though there seemed to be some incomprehensible stuff on the program, the few sessions M and I actually chose to go to were really top-quality. Really. They excited me about the state of the discipline in Canada. I left yesterday morning's session in particular feeling absolutely invigorated. It's not often that I feel that way at a conference - so entirely positive.

And I made some good connections with some lovely new people.

But perhaps the most positive aspect of my experience at Congress was that I felt myself taking my place at the table. I have spent the last two years at two different universities, on contractual Visiting Appointments. I didn't realize until Congress just what a difference it makes to my state of my mind and sense of myself, to be about to step into a tenure-track job. I feel as if I can take up some space in the profession, you know? I feel like I can contribute to it, shape it, claim it. It wasn't until I felt this way that I realized how lacking that feeling was before now. The stresses and uncertainty of contractual work meant that even though I'd passed the hurdle of a PhD and was called "Professor," I still felt suspended -- almost like a grad student...(I am remembering that Flavia had a post some months ago about this feeling of being recognized as a mature is often the case, I am just confirming the brilliant Flavia!)

So, for instance, I was able to talk with a close friend of M's - the one who did the fab presentation yesterday morning, who is a fairly well-known and important person - about perhaps bringing her all the way out to my new Uni to give a talk. I will have the ability to make decisions like that (contigent on funding, of course), especially because of the shaping/admin role I will also have at my new job. And another scholar who blew me away is someone I can imagine hiring when another post comes open in a year or two...I will keep in touch with her and alert her to the post whenever it becomes available. I would never have thought like that before. And I realize how nice it is to do so.

And, notwithstanding the ex-friend who hates me, who could well be spreading nasty and, I can only imagine, unfounded rumours about me across the country and discipline, it is nice to be able to plant myself firmly in the Association as if I am someone who might matter within it.


Pantagruelle said...

Yay! I'm so happy to hear this. I used to love Congress, although I haven't been for the past two years (for completely non-academic reasons). It's really nice to hear that having a "real" job can make such a difference to one's sense of worth and one's place within the profession. (Something to look forward to, I hope!) I hope you continue to enjoy the rest of your time out there on the Prairies.

medieval woman said...

I'm glad to hear this post - it sounds like there are some good changes in the way your professional self is being defined going on here. I'm just back from vacation and wanted to say howdy!

I sent you a post card!

Hilaire said...

Pantagruelle, maybe you will make it back to Congress next year in Vancouver - I'll bet it'll be huge. Maybe we can meet up!

MW, welcome back! I got your gorgeous postcard - thanks. And I suspect, given the similar state of our careers, that you will be feeling something very similar very soon! Yay - it's a good feeling.