Friday, March 12, 2010

Whither spring?

Another rainy weekend. Following on a too busy week. Many, minor professional ups and downs for the Mr. and myself, all part of our crazy, wonderful lives in academia. The fabulous - and frustrating - thing about academia (or is it life?) is that it's always in flux, never predictable. Opportunities arise and fall away. Decisions are ever pending, ever changeable.

I learned about an amazing post-doctoral position across the country. Was it the sublime opportunity to do months of uninterrupted writing that would result in numerous published articles and a book, catapulting me to academic fame - or at least tenure? Or was it a siren song, threatening to draw me away from all that I love: my home, my friends, my job, the Bay Area, and most of all, my new husband? Husband wants what's best for me; I want what's best for our marriage.

My dissertation advisor and current departmental chair encouraged me to apply, suggesting that the prestige of a postdoc could only enhance my future career success. Another advisor, who knows me better, discouraged me, pointing out that I've 'got it made' with a job and husband in a place I love.

It's hard to know what to do. Initially, I planned to apply, thinking that the chances of getting it are relatively slim anyway, and I could sort out my decision if and when I came to that. On the other hand, there's nothing in me that wants to move across the country right now... but is that just exhaustion, following on the heels of a year full of transitions?

One more week until spring break - to be spent catching up on home and work tasks. Including getting hooked up with my new doctor and dentist, because, according to this stress test, via 2000 Dollar Wedding, I have "High susceptibility to stress-related illness." Yikes.

Spring break, and even better, SUMMER, can't come soon enough.

If it were sunny, I'd be wearing this

or this

with this, via Oh Joy!

or this


Anonymous said...

Speaking as someone who's accepted a postdoc away from her new spouse, I have full confidence that you guys could make this work if it's what's best for your career!

That said, if you're really unsure about the idea of taking the job if you got it, I'd think hard about applying. The postdoc I accepted was one of those "well, I don't know about this, but I might as well apply and make the decision if I get it" situations too. What they don't tell you is that turning down an offer is incredibly difficult. You worry about burning professional bridges, about being seen as flaky or indecisive or having wasted the committee's time, even about hurting feelings (as silly as that sounds). It's a weird situation to be in, and if you do turn it down, that can actually have some negative professional consequences.

Now, I'm going to go back to wistfully gazing out the window and waiting for summer ...

elizabeth said...

Thanks for these thoughts, PC, esp. regarding the difficulty of turning down the position if offered. No one had mentioned that yet... and I have been in that spot before, where I thought I'd turn down a fellowship, but then realistically WHO turns down a fellowship??? I took it and it worked out great, but the circumstances are very different now. I'd hate to burn bridges, or become known as that person who was uncommitted to her career.