I am feeling more even-keeled by now. This has to do in part with the fact that I spent the day at the university today, and it was dead. Dead, I tell you. And I was not stressed! Ta-da. That is the way to go - spend holidays at work.
But anyway, here is what I've been thinking about lately:
Yesterday I was at the home of the colleague who, essentially, hired me. I just went by her place to talk through some stuff related to the six curriculum proposals I'm submitting tomorrow. We got to chatting - she's a chatter - and I said that I'd had a hard couple of days. She told me some veeeeeery interesting things. She said that when they hired me, they were aware that I was a risk. That I might be really unhappy here and might leave. But that I was still the best candidate, so they went for me. That I'd even cracked the Dean, who didn't really want to make a hire in this area. (Such a charming Dean.) She asked me if I'd looked at any job listings. I said I'd seen them. (Oh yes, I have seen the two freaking AWESOME jobs, one of which is in Home City, and one in Dad City, that I am a very good fit for.) I said I'd decided not to apply, though, feeling that woudn't be right. (Which is true - I just didn't feel right about going out on the market in the first year of a new job!) She said, "You should be doing what makes you happy, ultimately. I'm very lonely here...I've reconciled myself to spending most of the rest of my life here, but I'm lonely." She also said that she felt strange saying this to me, given how happy she is that I am here, but that she was just being honest.
Given all the asshole brouhaha recently over junior faculty changing jobs, I found this really interesting. It just goes to show how fundamentally the thinking around job-changing in mid-career has shifted, if I have senior faculty members telling me, in the first year of my job, that they know I might choose to leave - and giving me their blessing. (She is not the only person who has said as much to me, either - someone else has, as well.)
Anyway. I tried to swallow my despair at not having applied for those two PERFECT jobs - it is too late now. It is true that I just ethically wouldn't feel right leaving after a year; I'd feel like a complete ass. It would make it nearly impossible to get this long-straggling program off the ground; it would be the final nail in the coffin. Still, though - ouch. Home City, Dad City? Buh-bye.