Monday, May 02, 2011

Waiting for the End

Surrounded by piles of paper, not a contract in sight.
While Ben has continued interviewing for positions at prep schools, I've been waiting for the contract for my new tenure-track job to arrive in the post. These things take a bloody long time for no apparent reason. I realize that we're supposed to be patient, and let the academic machinery runs its laborious course, but I am definitely starting to get a tad impatient. I mean, christ, it's already May and I have yet to sign on an actual line (dotted or otherwise).

It's hurry, hurry, hurry, do you want this job? If so, act NOW! Right NOW! We want you!! Really, you do? How lovely; I'm thrilled! I accept!!! Do you hear that, world, I've accepted! Oh joy!

And then . . . nothing.

This is surprising given that I ended up with more than one tenure-track job offer and the universities in question knew time was of the essence. Still, moving from the verbal offer stage to the offer literally in my hand stage is taking 100x longer than I ever anticipated back when I started applying for jobs in the fall. The scary thing is that my job search began in September '10 and here it is, May '11, and I'm still playing the waiting game. Sure, it's unlikely that things will fall through at this point, thankfully, but I tend to learn toward the glass is half empty way of thinking. The proof is in the pudding. Until that puppy shows up, I'll remain on edge, waiting.

What truly boggles the mind is that nine months of my life have gone by while hunting for jobs and it felt, and continues to feel, like one big, exhausting, utterly stressful bad dream--despite the "happy" conclusion. I am so glad it's over but won't really felt relieved until I've signed and returned the sacred contract.

My word is my bond . . . I swear to work for you and teach the undergrads and produce whatever research I can and put up with difficult colleagues and play very, very nice, so long as you provide me with a paycheck and a solo office. That's really all I'm looking for right now, in addition to the contract. That and a stiff drink.


Lee Skallerup Bessette, PhD said...

I was three weeks into my first semester before I signed my contract. Expect also to have your pay stalled as well. Seriously. I wasn't paid for the first two months.

And yes, I remember that stress well. It's ridiculous, unnecessary, but also an indication how anything and everything is going to work at your new institution. Not the department, but most administrative process.

Mentally prepare yourself.

Corinne said...

Yes, it sucks waiting to deal the deal. The universities who move promptly to secure their candidate are by far the most clever! You never know what will come along.

E.W. said...

Thanks for the comments. Did you even get a letter of offer before the semester began, Lee? That is nuts!

Lee Skallerup Bessette, PhD said...

Nope, not an official one, besides assurances from the chair that the job was mine.

Let me also note that I was pregnant and I didn't have insurance for those first two months. Neither did my daughter or husband. Thankfully, nothing happened to us. But, it was really, really difficult. It was one of the major reasons why, when my husband got a TT job somewhere else, it wasn't a really difficult choice.

And he got the letter almost immediately.

E.W. said...

Good lord, Lee, how awful not to have insurance while pregnant. The insurance issue, even more so than the first paycheck issue, is always a worry when moving between academic positions.
I hope I'll be able to get the insurance ball rolling rather quickly. Thanks for sharing your story, and thanks for visiting the blog.