It’s been two weeks since I met with the Dean of College in Somewheretown. I’ve been waiting with a combination of anticipation and dread for news from the search committee. I want to be hired. I want to receive a rejection letter. I don’t really care. I just want to hear something.
But, as usual, all I hear is crickets.
I know this means that I did not get the job. They have offered it to the other sucker and are waiting for hir to accept or decline. I fully expect to get a “no thanks” letter very soon.
It’s not like I’m waiting at the mailbox, but I do wonder how long the silence will last.
Although I am used to shitty academic job market experiences, I am still surprised at how weird the whole process is. At one point you’re getting asked a lot of questions about your “work” and people are acting like they’re interested in you and your deep thoughts. They’re even wining and dining you (okay it was lunch in the faculty lounge, but still!). Then, once they decide they don’t like you anymore, you’re dropped of a cliff into an abyss of uncertainty.
I am not terribly disappointed because I had a lot of reservations about the position and may have, in fact, declined to accept it anyway. I mostly feel angry that I put myself through this all again, like a hair shirt that I can’t bear to remove even though I don’t believe all that Jesus hocus pocus anymore.
Perhaps it had to play out this way. I couldn’t leave academia for good until I had gone all the way through the hiring process to that seat in the Dean’s office where I was reminded that I verge on unworthiness because I haven’t published enough of those elusive “peer-reviewed articles” while I have been semi-employed outside the academy. Yes, why didn’t I do that?
No matter. What’s done is done. At the risk of ascribing meaning to another pointless ritual, it seems that I had to go all the way down the road to the end before coming back, finally, to the start.