I saw a tweet yesterday about how wrong it is for academics to accept that they can't choose where they live. For me, I never had more than a binary choice, starting with move for a temp job or ? and then move to Texas or leave the profession and then move to a foreign country or stay in Lubbock and then move to Ottawa or stay in Montreal. Not quite a wide range of choices at any stage. And that was after managing to get a job offer, and it all reminded me that sometime this week will be the tenth anniversary of a strange email that put me on the path of ... chill?
In the spring of 2011, I applied for a job for which I had no real shot and I knew that going in. But I was looking for practice and networking, and then something strange happened: I got a different job. In August of 2011, I contacted a friend I had at NPSIA and I asked whether they could tell me what I had done well and what I had done poorly so that I could improve for the next round of job applications. That friend said, no, wait, we have a new Dean who will call you soon. The next week, I got the call and the offer. Which meant many things including that I was not going on the job market in the fall of 2011. I had been looking to move on for about four or five years, and that was pretty much my normal state for most of my career--my last year of grad school, my two years as a temp at UVM, pretty much my entire time at TTU, and then the second half of my time at McG--about 3/4s of my career until I got the Carleton job.
And now, what is the next step? Keeping on keeping on, as I am quite happy where I am at, and I am through
running competing for a new job. I forget how stressed I was for much of my career, but junior folks sharing their experiences on twitter remind me of the bumps along the way. Losing to none of the above, forgetting a key hunk of my argument, invoking a really bad example that served to distract rather than inform, being delayed so that I arrive unfed just before the plane leaves only to have that plane diverted and then miss my connection home so that I had to sleep at the gate at DFW, ....
I am really grateful for all of the help I received along the way and for all of the solace I received from my family including the dog that accompanied us from grad school through to the first three jobs. And I am really grateful I don't have to compete for another job ever again. Now the questions are not about when and where I will move to next but when I will retire. The answer: not soon. I really like what I do, who I do it with, and where I do it. Each step was an improvement along the way, and I am, COVID aside, happier than I have ever been.
Much sympathy to those on the market in this most difficult time. Good luck!