Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tenure Track or non-Tenure Track, that is (NOT) the question!

 I mean, it is the question... for a lot of people. Perhaps for most people who get a phd, or those who start a PhD program.

This can't really be the question or the choice anymore for a lot of people, though because there are many more newly-minted PhDs than tenure track jobs in most areas (Bright*'s is an exception, oh, and there are areas such as engineering in which people with doctorates can easily get industry jobs).

It was never a question for me after I started blogging and found out the sad state of academia in the humanities, after I connected with many brilliant people (such as "Articulate Dad") who applied to hundreds of jobs and got just one interview and no offers.

My husband says that other people's blogs poisoned me. And I suppose they did and it didn't help that I'm a "pessismistic realist" or something. old readers of this blog will remember how much I have struggled with academia over the years, how ambivalent I feel about it (it's more or less a love/hate relationship).

It was too late to turn back, though, when I found out that there probably wasn't a future for me out there, so I finished the phd anyway and proceeded with my life -- i.e. I didn't publish anything and only did "superficial" research that led to many conference presentations.

It's a vicious cycle, you see? There's no external motivation to research and publish (no monetary compensation, no tenure requirements, no structure when one's not teaching and too much work when one is adjuncting) and even less internal motivation.

So here I am. It's four years too late and I can't turn back the clock. If a tt position at my former university (where I'm still teaching one class) opens up I think I might have a good chance, but not at the new institution.

If only there were more "middle ground" jobs -- "senior lectureships" which had a decent salary and some modest incentive for research and publication -- those would be ideal for me, but they are rare right now (and not available in the two institutions I'm involved with at the moment).

Would I enjoy doing research? Absolutely! Do I feel prepared to face the grueling requirements for a tt job? No. I would probably have to undergo some heavy therapy and possibly even take adhd medication if I were to be efficient. And then my insecurities come to plague me. Sigh...

I need to figure out who to ask regarding whether I should apply for the job I think it's impossible for me to get, though. I'll keep you posted. At least tonight I think I sound a bit less truncated than last night!

And thank you so much for your supporting comment, anonymous, it prompted me to write this post (BTW, a tenure track job in academia is the position of assistant professor, which has the potential of becoming a permanent position after six years of really hard work).

1 comment:

Anjali said...

I'm sorry! That's so hard. Figure out what you want, first. But don't beat yourself up for what you didn't do in the past.