Last Thursday I had three tutoring sessions back-to-back. By the time I got to the third one at 7:30pm, I was worn out but still ready for a productive 90 minutes. My new student, who I’ll call Ahab, greeted me at the door. Before I was two steps inside, his brother, who seemed to be about 17, ran past me in his swim trunks calling, “Sorry I’m wet!” Two medium-sized dogs, also wet, were close behind. They made a beeline for me, rubbing and licking and sniffing my legs. I don’t like dogs who are badly trained, let alone if they’re wet, but I said nothing and tried to walk past them and over to the table so we could get started. Ahab asked, “Do you like dogs?” and I replied, “Oh, they’ll be fine once they calm down.” He said, “I’ll just go put them outside.” This was an excellent idea, given that they were so distracting that neither one of us was going to be able to concentrate otherwise. But it was only a temporary solution; within five minutes one of the dogs was back in, having very sensibly hopped through the little dog door in the kitchen. So Ahab took him upstairs and shut him in a bedroom.
By last Tuesday, I’d gotten to the point where I knew I couldn’t keep up my tutoring job past the end of this month. So I decided to get serious about applying to temp jobs. I selected one agency and noticed in their online application that they wanted to know what your salary requirements were. I was clueless about what to put down, so I headed over to Craigslist to check out job postings and see what hourly rates were being offered.
At the top of the list was an ad for a part-time receptionist at an office that sounded like exactly the kind of place I wanted to work at, with almost exactly the number of hours I wanted to work. Hoping that this wasn’t actually too good to be true, I checked out the company’s website, then looked them up on LinkedIn. As I scrolled down the list of employees, I saw that I was only one connection removed from all of them. I searched a bit more and saw that I had one friend who knew everyone there, and another one who knew three or four.
I told my adviser last week that I’m not going on the academic job market. I’d realized a few days earlier that I would have to make the announcement pretty soon, since with the start of a new jobs season would come the inevitable questions about my own job market materials. So I began drafting an email, thinking that regardless of whether I told her over email or over Skype, I needed a way to organize my thoughts and think up cogent responses to any questions. But the day after I started my draft, my adviser emailed me to set up our Skype meeting, and also slipped in a question about whether I’d started working on my CV and cover letter yet. Unless I wanted to lie or feed her a half-truth (“I’m not going to go on the market this year…”) I had to make my announcement, and I had to do it pretty quickly.
This was, of course, nerve-wracking: I’d been working myself up about it, for ages, really, afraid that I’d face disappointment and disapproval at best, and unwillingness to help me finish my dissertation at worst. But I knew that there was no point in lying about it after her very pointed question, and anyway, being honest would relieve so many doubts and insecurities, and give me one less thing to worry about.
So, inspired by Dr. Outta Here’s post (and graphitechicken’s comment on it), this is what I came up with: