Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mid-Career Mike Returns And Is Packing His Bags For Fla.

Oh yeah, it's me. I love the photo of me, by the way, though I'm so much more handsome than that I can't even tell you.

Reamed Ass College made the job offer to me Friday, by phone, and it nearly broke my heart to tell them no. Imagine the kind of material I could have written about for you guys for years to come.

Regardless, my little foray on the job market has been fun. Besides Reamed Ass College, I also spent two days in a bucolic little college in northern Florida. What a bunch of backwards fuckers they were there! No, I'm just kidding. They were nice, professional, and the visit was just the opposite of the nightmare at Reamed Ass.

SodaPop College is in a surprisingly green and leafy town near the northern Florida border, and they were just the sweetest damn people I'd ever met. The chair and his wife (a faculty member in a different department) took the lead for my visit, carting me wherever I had to go, getting me there on time, providing water bottles and a choice - I am not lying - of three different energy bars right out of Mama Professor's purse.

The folks were smart, funny, collegial, and there was such a depth of knowledge among everyone about my research and my work that I felt at times like they must be putting me on.

They showed me a great office that could be mine. They arranged for a realtor to show me some neighborhoods - but only if I wanted to take the time. Our group dinner was at a faculty member's house, and we sat around a pool under tiki lights and drank beer and talked about politics, football, oh, and the college.

Before I left town on the crop duster airplane, I was sold. The first day I returned home they made the offer and I took about 14 seconds to accept.

I do not have a long history in the academic job market, but one thing has come to me quite clearly: when it's right, you know it. I've taken other jobs where my feelings were mixed. I needed a job and they had one. BOOM. But I've had my gut turn, too, and I tried not to get stuck in those places.

SodaPop College, which awaits my arrival in August, just felt right. I don't know how to universalize this experience enough so that it works for everyone. I know too well that the bad economy means lots of folks are scrambling and will take whatever gets offered them this year. I'm not saying that's bad. I recognize it, and without SodaPop College, I might be getting my boxes backed for Reamed Ass County right now.

But trust your gut. If it feels right, and if the folks are welcoming, almost nothing else matters. I could make more money somewhere else, I could certainly hang on and wait for a more prestigious place. But I had 2 great days down there, and that means more to me than anything.

I know I'm lucky, and although this may disqualify me from RYS (because it is a little sweet and sentimental), I just want to tell job seekers to hang in there. When it's right, it's going to feel right.