Monday, July 9, 2007

More of the same (only different)

In the 1980s, Nabisco unveiled a memorable television ad campaign for their "Ritz Bits". As I remember, it featured an adorable 5-6 year old girl explaining the product concept to her father. After a brief but involved explanation, she says something along the lines of "So, it's the same, only different, see?"

Rocket and I revisit our plans quite often, having a dinner date, meandering through a local park, sitting on the couch. We revisit our strategies, our hopes, and desires, and our obligations. You'd think after several years of this (we've been seeking some grounding since before I finished my dissertation early in 2005), we'd have settled it all. But then, life is more exciting this way. Truth is, each time we discuss these seemingly same things, they appear different. At least, the specifics of the questions and answers vary. Sometimes, it seems we get nowhere. At others, it seems the landscape changes dramatically. Last night was more the latter.

Coming on the heels of a family vacation however, it's best to evoke caution before hasty decisions. We did confirm our likely time frame though, which gives us time to rethink this all again. Number three is due to arrive early February 2008. The most likely scenario is we will remain in our current circumstance until next Spring, a couple months after the baby is born.

Last night, Rocket said something new, perhaps something that formed as she spoke the words. I don't really want to start a new job with a six-month old. Simple words... but what do they mean? We spent a bit of time talking it through, asking questions, listening to answers, reflecting, interpreting.

I had said that perhaps we should simply act as-if we would move for her work, (somewhere I could continue to build my vision, and possibly pick up teaching at a local college or university) rather than keep up hope of finding me a full-time tenure-track university job in a location where she could also work. I said that I've become excited by the prospects of building a business out of my research. But..., she uttered. What a meaningful conjunction!

She said that what she thinks she'd really like to do, is take a couple years off, to spend more time with the boys (and #3), and to pursue other creative (non-engineering) enterprises. Quite a revelation. And... I came to articulate the irony that now though I have a part-time teaching gig (thought a 2+2 isn't significantly less than a full load), and the prospect that it could turn into a tenure-track job in a couple years, I find myself less and less enthusiastic about becoming a professor, and more and more drawn to being an entrepreneur.

It's always been about the ideas for me. In a sense, I suppose that means the research more than teaching. I never really wanted to choose. I wanted both. I like teaching. Rocket recently described herself: I love my family, I like my job, I don't like the commute (in that order). Hmmm. I love the research, I like teaching. If I must choose...

See, up to now, I haven't been given a choice, only denied one. Now, I'm faced with the prospect of applying for yet another season's worth of postings. And I have no desire to make myself up, to appear the character for the part. I've already got a role to play. But if that's my attitude, I think there will only be a few (if any) postings I ought even to attempt.

What she wants is to take time off from work. What I want is to build a business on the foundation of my research. The only trick is figuring out the logistics to make it so!

1 comment:

Lilian said...

I hope you can figure it out!