Thursday, July 16, 2009

A desperate quest for we

I suppose what most motivated me in my desire to hire my friend has been what I might call "a desperate quest for we." I have often noted the loneliness of my position. It was desperately, depressingly lonely on my faculty job search. I reiterate (even to the disbelief of my friends Lilian and BrightStar), in nearly five years of searching, beginning the year before I completed my dissertation, I applied for no less than 150 faculty and related positions! Only then, finally, throwing in the towel in my quest to become a respectable academic.

In all of that, and even now, I have sought to find a home for my research and my energies, where I could be a part of something bigger than myself and my own thoughts. Yes, as undine points out, I have attained an enviable degree of present success. And yet, I'm still a me not a we. I think of BrightStar's recent musings about collegial issues, and part of me is nothing more than envious that one could even have colleagues.

But, when all is said and done... I guess the grass over here is pretty green after all, even if I find myself more often than I'd like enjoying it alone. Let's hope hiring won't be like trying to buy friends. There's work to be done. I just hope I can find some pleasant company to join me in the task.


BrightStar (B*) said...

My disbelief has been about why someone with your knowledge, skills, and passion has not been snapped up! I do believe it's possible to go through what you have been through when applying to faculty positions, however.

It's a good point that I should be thankful for having any colleagues. I have to say that the challenges I face in my collegial interactions are more than balanced out by the positive sides. Plus, I usually confront the challenges in one way or another and get the support I need.

I do think that your situation has it's benefits, particularly due to the wide range of autonomy you experience.

ArticulateDad said...

Perhaps I'm wrong in the assumption (RocketMom thinks I'm more unique than I acknowledge), but it would seem if I could be so discarded by the system, despite having so much to offer, there must be thousands like me, suffering out there unnecessarily, whose talents have been denied society and the marketplace (of ideas).

As Sheryl Crow sings: it's not having what you want, it's wanting what you've got. Yes, there is a silver-lining to the clouds of my experience. I relish the blanket autonomy. But it is daunting at times to figure out how to transform the foundation of my ideas, passions, knowledge, and experience into a business.

It's what they call in the business world scaling, the task of being able to document so well the procedures and tasks of your work to replicate it with other workers. That's the genius of McDonald's or Starbucks. But how do you do that with research?

Despite all my frustrations with academia, perhaps there's still something I have to learn from the PI/Apprentice relationship. I never really experienced that relationship from the other end, so now as PI, I'm making it up as I go along.

BrightStar (B*) said...

ArticulateDad, I know that you're not wrong. There are lots of people whose talents are being denied, and it's undeniably frustrating.

You've amazed me with your ability to be an entrepreneur. I'm in awe of what you're doing and have done.