It was at around this time last year that I found out I was going to be out of work for the summer and began the frantic hunt for a job. As it happened, I was recalled to the school from which I had been laid off improperly, and I think that the union of which I was part forced the institution not only to bring me back (at least for a term) but to offer me a sabbatical for which I had applied not long before getting word that I would be laid off. But the experience was still markedly unpleasant for me, not the kind of thing that I care to repeat, and in the time since, I have continued to scramble to secure what I hope will be continuing employment--still without success. (I do have a comfortable spot at present, with better benefits than many contingent faculty can claim and the assurance that I have another year of paychecks upcoming, and I do not complain, but I do not forget that I can be not renewed.)
I have been trying to work to view things in a better light, to be more optimistic. (This is largely on behalf of Ms. 8, who does not need a depressed daddy.) I am not always successful, as those who know me know, and I imagine I have given evidence of that from time to time in this webspace. But I was considering the issue as I wrote in my journal last night; I sometimes look back over the older volumes of my journals to see what record I have left of who I was and what I was thinking in years past. Knowing that I have not always been good about keeping up with the journal-writing is hardly flattering, and as I looked back over the volumes I have penned, I confronted that knowledge again.
I also saw that, as I had worked to address my then-pending joblessness, I had stumbled into unexpected benefit. If nothing else, the experience has pushed me to do a lot more writing. Work in this webspace got much more frequent and much more extensive beginning at the end of April 2013. My journal-writing has been more regular and fuller, as well. Too, I have been much more productive as a scholar, churning out paper after paper for conferences and book chapters, and more such things are on the way. Further, I have gotten a great deal of practice in letter-writing, having sent out at least two hundred cover letters for jobs within academe and outside of it in the solid year I have been really on the job market. (While some of the text has been copied over from letter to letter, much of it has not, and as I have done more things, even the copied stuff has needed adjustment.) Each has helped my writing to get better, and since my livelihood depends largely upon my ability as a writer, any improvement my writing is an improvement in my ability to support Ms. 8 and my Mrs. I regard this as a good thing, indeed.