Thursday, January 21, 2010

Slipping Away?

In our first moments together in the car after dropping Michelle off at the airport last night K broke the news to me. He'd been carrying the heavy load for over 24 hours, poor thing. It turns out that there wasn't only one rejection on Tuesday, there were three. Two of them from universities K was most hopeful about his chances, which made the news all the more crushing.

A letter arrived in the mail from the North Carolina school and then K checked the colloquium speaker list for the Atlanta school and found out that it included a graduate student of his first postdoc advisor. His friend, the guy whose wedding we attended last October in Harvard. This is not the first time a close colleague was chosen to interview instead of him. As a matter of fact, it's the second time, at the same university, just two years later.*

Perhaps something will still come through, but K feels like he's hanging by the skin of his teeth right now as far as getting an academic job is concerned. He's checking the colloquium list for the Virginia school every day (even I almost tried to check this afternoon). If they post the names, he's probably done. And it's getting so late in the game that K thinks most schools have already chosen their short lists.

Having an almost "six year old" PhD helps even less. He thinks he's approaching his "expiration date" for an academic job. Sigh. I think the same about me, and it hasn't been two years yet. You know, having ONE "useless phd" is almost bearable for me, but TWO? Please, don't let that happen! That can't happen! The thought just fills me with despair.

K still has seven months to think of alternatives (his postdoc ends in August), so he's considering contacting head-hunters in Brazil and here, getting in touch with all his pharma contacts, throwing the net as wide as possible. Life is becoming more and more unpredictable and uncertain when all we want is to settle down. And we're getting tired, and feeling older, more jaded, discouraged. I don't want to become a bitter old woman someday, so I hope something happens. I hope K may not have really wasted the chance of a lifetime when he ditched the pharma job. I've been trying to write a post about this subject since April 13, but it's just too hard!

I thought that after the house situation had been solved the regrets about that fateful job would disappear, but K spent the day yesterday having second thoughts again about his rash decision to come back to academia. Do keep us in your thoughts and prayers. We're calm, but getting discouraged. I don't like to see K discouraged like that -- I already don't have anything going for me as far as academia or a job is concerned. This is all very hard. My apologies for the return of the somber tone to this blog. I wish I could say I was confident it would clear up soon, but I can't. I'll keep you posted. And thanks in advance for your support, it means everything to me.

* The close colleague is P, our dear Chilean-Brazilian friend who received no less than five job offers back in 2007 (and decided to stay here at Penn), which would have been utterly discouraging to K had he not gotten the unexpected job at Big Pharma. ha ha ha... and the rest is history. K talked to P today, but he didn't say that their former colleague A is interviewing in Atlanta.


Keiko said...

Firme lá amiga...

E só pra desviar sua atenção: Eu não agradeci o livro que vc me mandou não porque eu sou má agradecida, mas sim porque sua cunhada ainda não me entregou! Isso mesmo, brigue com ela! - HAHAHA, ela vai me matar por ter dedurado!!!

bjinho e estamos orando por vcs!


Anonymous said...

Hi Lilian,

Regina here, for

I would like to personally invite you to list your blog on our Expat Women Blog Directory ( so that other women can read about and learn from your expat experiences.

Many thanks in advance for your contribution and keep up your great blog!


Anjali said...

Oh, my. You and K will be in my thoughts.

ArticulateDad said...

Dear L,

One of my favorite bon mots: "Everyone who got where they are, started where they were."

There's no fruit to be gleaned from second-guessing the past. K's decision to leave Big Pharma is past. Tomorrow is a new day. Embrace it.

jo(e) said...


Aliki2006 said...

I will definitely keep you both in my thoughts and hope that something will break--soon, and good things will come your way.