Wednesday, January 29, 2014


I cannot say that my current position has treated me badly.  I knew what it was going into it, and my employer has not failed to meet the agreed-upon terms for my work.  Nor have I been disappointed in the caliber of people with whom I work.  They have, for the most part, been excellent colleagues and subordinates of the sort I have come to expect from years of doing the kind of work I do (which is to say that some have been a lot more fun than others--but that is true of every job I have ever had, and I think it true of every job that can be had).  So I am not complaining in what follows.

I remain on the job market, as I think I may have implied and as should come as no surprise even if I have not implied (or stated) it.  The position I am in now is, by title and contract, temporary, and even if it is temporary across a fair term and offers me the chance at repeated reappointment (which it does, to be sure), it is contingent and therefore subject to elimination by forces entirely beyond my control (as well as those over which I have some say, certainly).  The instability therein is not something that sits well with me, particularly with a child on the way.  And, in the interest of full disclosure, I could well stand a higher paycheck.  (Could not we all?)

As part of remaining on the market, I have asked a number of people--some of whom might well be reading this--to recommend me, to speak well on my behalf and to do so in a public forum.  And I am a bit uncomfortable with having done so.  That it is necessary, I realize; my own testimony of my ability is not likely to be convincing, while those who do not stand to benefit directly and materially from my success add substantial ethos to my claims if they agree with them.  But there is something in me that is ill at ease with having attracted attention to myself in such a way, and something else in me is ill at ease with having solicited compliments.

A similar unease once attended upon me as I wrote application letters for jobs and funding.  Despite what many people know about me, despite my carefully constructed façade of self-appreciation and robust performance of jocundity, I do tend to prefer remaining at the edges of things, worried that if I speak out, I will be called out, and the failure to which all corporeal things are subject will manifest in me as I am obliged to prove myself or be labeled a lying fool.  (It has happened more than once, certainly, and the shame of it lingers years later.)  Through practice, though, I have come to be at ease trumpeting myself on the page (and I seem to have done decently well, as I have landed job interviews because of it).  Perhaps the same will happen as I continue to ask for recommendations--although I hope not to have to do so for jobs too many more times.

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