I’m super crap at keeping secrets these days and man, am I sitting on a doozy.
I have a job at XYZ School. It’s smallish and not prestigious, but all my degrees are from state schools and I probably have a sketchy reference or two because of some grad school drama (for which I was only partially responsible). I have heard tell that one of my letter writers may not have actually written me any letters for the first three years I was on the market. So ... I got a late start and then the late start looks like I may have some kind of problem, etc. etc. etc.
I love my students fiercely, enjoy a few of my coworkers, and feel generally supported by my Chair. (I also have insurance?!?) My previous chair was a swamp monster, so this is a nice change. Our Dean and Provost do not know anything about the humanities, which is a rough shock after coming from the university where I adjuncted - my personal situation was far worse, but I was never worried the entire music department would be gutted from a lack of understanding of how the curriculum works or lack of understanding of the 1:1 ratio of applied lessons. But the Chair gets to be the go-between there, and he seems to have a pretty good understanding of how to think 2-3 steps ahead.
Like most jobs, there are one or two colleagues who are ... a mess. There are one or two colleagues who aren’t a mess but could be better than they choose to be. It’s a small department so the messy parts impact me more personally. But it’s a small department so I’m able to make a bigger difference by being aggressively Not a Mess. It’s a department very much in flux, so it could swing more their way or mine with a hire or two, and those are all just a matter of time.
In short, I mostly like my job, but there are parts of it I don’t like. This is my first full-time job in over a decade, so I think this is pretty normal, but I have no frame of reference. (And I didn’t like the previous FT job at all, so my existing frame is built from toothpicks and marshmallows.) We’re in the middle of my first probationary tenure review, so I’ve been thinking a lot about the future - mainly, whether this is my future. Do I want to stay here? How long do I want to stay here? Could I eventually mold this into the situation I think I want? How do you sniff out issues at other jobs before moving on from a good situation? And because I’m human: Am I going to get tenure? Oh God, what if I don’t get tenure?
Complicating things is my husband. We’re a two-body problem, and we’re both in music, which is ... more complex. He’s living in a different state because he’s finishing his terminal degree at ABC school. He’s got to finish exams and write his document, so we’ve been aggressively not dwelling on how that will work because a.) focus on the problem at hand and b.) it’s unnecessary stress about hypotheticals at this point. We had planned for him to take this year to finish school, and then possibly take an interim thing that might be an option, and then we would both try to aggressively build CVs and apply together a year from now.
He’s already had a job more prestigious than mine at XYZ school. His degree from ABC school is setting him up to be in a fancy position at an R1. I might be able to claw my way up to one eventually, but I’m not anywhere near there yet, and I’m still deciding if that’s even what I want. (I don’t necessarily need to go R1, but I definitely want something with a kinder teaching load than what I have now. I love what I’m doing but it’s not long-term sustainable.) If you add the mix of wanting to work within 90ish miles of one another ... it’s complicated.
So a position in his specialty is about to open up at my school. (That part is the secret.) I was just asked if I wanted to serve on the search committee. The exact wording was something like, “We would like you to serve on this committee ... unless there is going to be a conflict of interests. I don’t know if that’s something [FluterDude] would be potentially interested in. You don’t have to decide right now, but we’ll need to decide in the next few weeks.”
Obviously, I mentioned it to FluterDude, but his exams are next week. And I have mixed feelings. I don’t know if I want to be here long-term and/or forever. It’s possible that having someone like him, instead of the colleague he would be replacing, would make several of my job concerns go away. It’s also guaranteed that taking this job would change the trajectory of his career for the worse, and he would have far fewer options if he went for it.
But then if he doesn’t go for it, who knows if/when we’ll get the opportunity to live together again. (I like my house in this town, but I dunno if I’m really ready to contemplate this town as being a permanent step. But I’m also not super ready to contemplate living alone for a decade.)
I want to talk it through with someone, but FluterDude needs to focus on his exams and since the post isn’t up yet, I can’t talk about it with other music or academic friends. And since it effects them directly, it’s probably not a great to talk it through with existing colleagues. I chatted about it briefly with one yesterday and he is pretty excited about the possibilities that a national search has to offer. So even my closest work-friend isn’t sold on just pushing my husband into the spot. (He also knows I’m not 100% sold on this being a permanent life situation, so he might have been being polite. And while I know he gets upset any time I joke about leaving, I don’t think he’d necessarily be the type to prefer a candidate heavily because of their non-professional connections. I respect him more for it, but it’s an active reminder this wouldn’t even be a done deal.)
And also ... whoa.
I’m supposed to be working now, but we have a snow day and apparently this is eating away at me a little.
No snappy finish.
This message may self destruct.