Dear friends of the blogosphere,
It's been a stressful past few weeks. P. and I both got job offers in desirable places, but they were too far apart from each other to make it work. It came down to making a choice between his offer (which might give me part time, adjunct work) and mine (which would have given him a visiting full time instructor job). P. did extremely well on the market this year-- four offers and many more campus visit requests (several of which he turned down), but was worried that taking a ntt position right out of grad school would hurt his chances on the market next year. Emotionally he had a hard time turning down the jobs he did. I was/am also a bit freaked out since leaving a t-t job and giving up another, better t-t offer for low paid adjunct work seems very risky, especially if it's true that only 40% of English phds find academic jobs in the first place, and also because historically I haven't done as well on the market as P.
At any rate, seeing P. so sad and worried really got to me. He was convinced, and convinced me, too, for a while, that even if we went to my offer and both went on the market again next year we'd end up having the same problem. Since his offer was in a better location for finding jobs outside of academe (because we really want to stay together- no long distance commuter marriage for us), we figured maybe in the long run it was smarter to go there. He was feeling guilty. I was the one who even talked him into it; I'd toyed with the idea of exploring jobs outside academe anyway; if we moved to Big City, I could finally try my luck. Plus, with the baby coming, it might be nice not to have to start a new tt job only four weeks or so after the kid is born. Sure, our finances would be a bit tighter for the year, but eventually I might find something, and I could apply for both academic and nonacademic jobs until then, right?
The night we made the decision and I turned down my offer (an offer so generous I really don't think I'll ever get another one like it), I felt strangely calm, even like celebrating. It was so good to have the decision made and behind us. I felt like at last we could move forward; I was resolved.
But now, I'm just sad. I'm not sure I'm ready to give up teaching, and I'm worried I won't be able to get back into tenure-track work. I'm hoping I can use the extra time off to work on publishing a bit more; maybe that will help, but still. I'm scared. And I'm not sure sure HOW to break into other kinds of work, either. The only experience I have is what I've gotten from the academy. The job I have now is the first real job I ever took. I went straight from undergrad to grad school to here, no stops in between.
It's hard talking to P. about this because I don't want to make him feel guilty. I honestly want him to be excited about his job and future. It's just, with my current school now making plans to hire a new person, I'm feeling kinda sad. I need to make plans, figure out what to do with myself, and soon. I've read about non-academic jobs I might have interest in, and they all require writing samples-- preferably free lance work. But how do I get free lance work? (This is an honest question-- if anyone can help, please tell me!)
I know I'll feel better about this decision once we're in Big City and the baby is here, but for now I'm feeling very lost and futureless.