Murphy's Law of Blogging:
The second that you talk about how good (of a little odd at times) your students are, they suck the next class!
And they have no excuse. Absolutely none. And there's no rhyme or reason to it.
I remembered today that I am applying for a job - the one that's at Dutchman U. I was reminded of this because TD's chair went to talk to the chair of that department to discuss my candidacy and to inform them that TD's departure might be imminent, i.e. they could lose him (which they don't want to do, of course). There's a *very* different hiring structure in place in TD's field (which is a social science). While they have a national conference (similar to our MLA) where they interview job candidates, if they find someone they like who's slightly more advanced - even a year or two - they will fly them out whenever they want and offer them a job if they like them. TD is actually reaping the benefits of this hiring system when he comes out for his (oh-please-dear-gods-and-demigods--let-it-be-successful) job talk at Neighoring U at the end of November.
Last year when I was on the market and it was looking pretty likely that I would be leaving Dutchman U, I had to field a lot of incredulous looks and questions from TD's colleagues. Some of them were slightly infuriating and chauvinist, like: "but TD is here now...you guys are here now!" And of course, I replied: "I am not fully here unless I have job security and am not wasting my fucking Ph.D. teaching shit I'm not trained to teach!" (but I put it in a nicer way...) These comments were always from men with stay-at-home wives or wives who weren't able to get teaching jobs yet still stayed with their husbands. (I should also mention here that I actually like 96% of TD's colleagues, but his field is still pretty conventionally male-populated with portable spouses). But I also felt like I needed to defend how my humanities department does its hiring. TD's colleagues kept saying, "but we don't understand...you're a good teacher and a good scholar. Why don't they just hire you?" I'm like, "because there's not a t-t line open in my field and they can't/won't create one out of thin air just to keep little junior faculty me on the books!" Sigh.
So goes the background. This year, however, the case is slightly different: there is a t-t line open in my field (and there are now 2 separate spouses of t-t faculty at DU who are bucking for the position - Holy Conundrums, Batman!). So, TD's chair went to discuss my candidacy with my former chair. I told them what he would say (which is: MW is more than welcome to submit an application for this position - indeed we look forward to reading it - but we will be conducting a full international search and cannot make any promises at this time), but TD's people scoffed a bit and said, "Nah! We're going to see what we can work out! If money's an issue, we can try to get around that". I just sighed again and let them do whatever.
I have this vision of TD's chair going into this meeting with his finger guns out and blazing and winking and saying, "let's make a deal!" - and of course, my former chair said exactly what I knew he'd say. He wasn't rude - he was just matter of fact. I'm not a superstar and I'm by no means an inside candidate because there are 25 of me just as well trained and probably even better published and committeed and they're all shooting for this particular star!
So, TD's chair was unhappy about how unyielding things seemed and TD said, "I guess this really might not work out, huh? I guess I really do need to throw all my energies into trying to get the position at Neighboring U" (which they actually seem excited about wanting to give him!)
I'm not sure whether to cry or laugh - I realized that when I told him that he would be a helluva lot more portable than I am that he really didn't believe that until now. It's so frustrating and tedious to have to explain things over and over again - did they think I was lying? Or being deliberately obtuse? Or are they really just that sheltered? It has struck home a lot recently and I've been reminded about how truly archaic a lot of academia is. It's not just that the two-body problem is only now being addressed by most schools (and even then, lots of places don't give a rat's ass). It's that for so many departments and universities/colleges, they haven't a fucking clue!
Wives follow husbands. That simple.
It's not that the Dutchman would ever really think that way if I put the question to him like that. It's just that he's become a bit complacent because he's now happily ensconced in a department that insulates their men and makes them think it's easy to balance their work and personal life. That annoys me more than anything. I have to periodically drag him into the light and force him to look at the reality and each time he blinks like he's never seen anything before. It's all new to him and it fucking-well shouldn't be.
Whoa. This turned into a rant and I didn't even mean to go there. I just had some things on my chest that I needed to get off. It's also one of the reasons why I don't like to be reminded that I need to apply for this job...