Ack, I can’t believe it’s been 5 days since we updated. We would NEVER have let this happen in, say, February! But it has a busy week in Nervosaland.
First, I should announce that I got the job! In two weeks, I”ll start work as an academic advisor. This is obviously wonderful news. I will work with first year students advising on all matters academic and otherwise; my coworkers are exceptionally cool and caring people; the pay is competitive; and it’s 35 hours a week (for now), so it won’t be a huge change in our family time.
Overall, I am really excited. In my bones, I’m so relieved that we won’t have to struggle financially: we can meet our obligations, and with my additional income, we should be able to start paying off debt, take care of things around the house, and generally unclench. As soon as I accepted the offer, we went out and took care of several things that have languished due to my un/underemployment. Things like car repairs, replacing a broken watch, and omg. I get to buy new bras. I have one bra, y’all. And it’s the wrong size.
And yet, I have also had the (inevitable, I guess) mixed feelings that come when a big change is about to happen. Currer has written about this recently as she gets ready to shift from grad school life to work for a large academic publisher. It’s overwhelming! I have a lot to learn. I have to figure out where I’m going to park. Make a schedule. And for the first time in eight years, I face life without teaching. I’m a bit sad about this: I’ve always identified as a teacher. I stayed in grad school mostly so I could continue teaching and be qualified to teach at the college level in some way. (I mean: many times over the years, I considered jobs exactly like the one I’ve taken, and then backed out saying, “I am a TEACHER” in a sort of Sorkinesque internal monologue about my life and calling.)
When I interviewed, I asked other advisors at length about their relationships with students and how they feel about life outside the classroom. For the most part, they feel that they are able to connect to and cultivate relationships with their students; they also feel like teaching is a big part of what they do in the one-on-one context of advising. I just… hope they’re right! Because I’d like to just LIKE this without lamentations or “if only”s.
In the midst of signing papers and sharing news and frantically trying to resolve the (big) parking problem*, I’ve been working intensively with two freelance clients who have deadlines next week. (This is why I didn’t blog: I was editing for 2-3 hours every day). One student is in the very last final final stages of submitting her dissertation; one is still struggling uphill to get a prospectus written and submitted. The clients are completely different, but the work is at times emotionally draining. So much rides on deadlines, so much rides on these written products. Yet, I think both my current clients plan to work in non-academic fields (I’m guessing here, but the thrust of each project points to non-academic possibilities). They’ve both built strong careers outside of academia during graduate school. (And they’re both crazy smart, crazy talented women.)
I don’t know; I don’t want to comment specifically on whether or not it’s “worth it” for them to go through it, because that’s their business, not mine. A lot of people feel, for whatever reason (reasons I’ll probably explore in some upcoming grad school quitta posts), that completing the PhD is worth it even if they don’t intend to work in academia proper. Yet, who could have guessed eight months ago, when I quit, or two months ago, when the semester ended and I was truly out, that I would be employed full-time in a respectable and rewarding field related to my talents and interests, with no deadlines, no obligations, no have-tos beyond those of my workday? I don’t have to write a dissertation and work full time to have a non-academic career, and that’s pretty sweet. I don’t see what toiling through a difficult and largely unrewarding process could get me beyond what I was able to earn on my own merits. Writing a dissertation does not feel like a worthwhile, personal pursuit to me.
(But, I will continue to edit other people’s dissertations! I will definitely freelance on evenings/weekends. I truly enjoy the work and see no reason to stop. Once my site is up, I’ll be at LaurenEdits.com — hire me! I’m nice! And a good editor!)
* ETA: I talked it out with my husband and think we’ve figured out a short-term solution for parking while I sit on some waiting lists for a long-term spot.