Feeling Worthless

I’m feeling pretty worthless and full of regret. Regret does no one any good but still it seems instilled in me – when you feel like crap make sure to make it worse because it can always be worse. That sounds like a rambling bit of bullshit, doesn’t it?

The job search thing is going poorly. I am trying to apply to places but I don’t have what it takes to get a job, it seems. No callbacks, nothing. How can I be so smart and yet so useless? I emailed a friend of mine last week for help but she has been busy and hasn’t been able to get back to me. I talked to her tonight but she is swamped trying to get a proposal uploaded before the deadline. She didn’t hear me but I was near to tears when we got off the phone. Oh, it’s nothing she did, it’s just knowing that these are the things that she and I used to do together when I worked there. Things that I should be doing, had I not gotten kicked out of academia for being female.

I feel like crying and yet not crying. I want my old teaching job back. I even want the hell of a job I had here back. I wouldn’t let them make me crazy this time. It would be different, I swear. That’s probably just a lie I am telling myself. I’m still crazy, it’s just a matter of which level.

I’m having a hard time being a scientist, or thinking of myself as a scientist. I need a better research proposal for my job applications so DH suggested I research carbon nanotubes. There are thousands of papers on carbon nanotubes. Probably hundreds published every month. How am I supposed to come up with a novel idea centered around carbon nanotubes when there is so much out there and no foreseeable path? If this were a dream, I would be trapped, wading through a forest of carbon nanotubes finding no end and no beginning. No water, no light, naught but an endless forest. That’s how it feels right now. I feel hopeless.

They say there is light at the end of the tunnel, but I don’t see any light. It’s dark as pitch and I can’t feel my way. My mind is blank – devoid of anything useful. All my senses are gone – defunct in this quest for survival. All I want is to teach, to be a university professor, but apparently so does everyone else. The competition is fierce and overwhelming. My four years of experience teaching seem to be a waste of time as I don’t even get callbacks for phone interviews. Why has my life gone awry?

I no longer recommend going to college. I especially don’t recommend going into science. And whatever you do, don’t waste your time on a PhD. It’s fun while it lasts, but eventually it will mean nothing more than you aren’t employable.

30 Days of Thanks: Day 6

I have a lot to be thankful for right now. As I sit perched upon the edge of my seat, waiting to hear if I will get an offer from the college, I want to express my thanks to the powers that be for the luck I’ve had so far. I had a job interview at the conference for a company, and I had a job interview from a college. I am well and truly hoping I get the college teaching job. I don’t know what it will pay, but those things may be negotiable. I am just very thankful that I got this far in the interview process.

Even though it is rush timing, I really want this teaching job. The school is great, the people seem good, although I couldn’t read them very well, so I don’t know what they thought of me. I’m really not good at interviewing without hypomania. But then this is the job that I thought I really screwed up the phone interview, so maybe they like me well enough.  I certainly hope so.  They are making their decision today, so I am extra nervous.  I should hear something (good or bad) by the end of the week.

The industry position would be a nice backup option.  It contains a lot of sales, so the salary is not great and you work partially on commission.  I can sell anything I believe in.  But I don’t see myself being in a sales position with high travel (up to 50%) for a long period of time.  I’m too old for that, and I think all my medications it would be a hindrance.  A job is a job and you can’t complain about being employed these days even if it isn’t your favorite type of job.

I sort of got off on a couple of tangents there, but really I wanted to express my gratitude for the opportunities I’ve been given thus far.  I hope it works out so that I can write another day of thanks for a new job soon!

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Waiting Game

We’ve all been there. There is something that you are expecting news on and you just have to wait and chew on your fingernails until you hear it: good or bad. I am currently playing the waiting game with two colleges.  One I am losing hope on, the other had told me 48 hours from the Skype interview.  Well, the 48 hours came up and they sent me an email saying that I had nice letters of recommendation and they were in the process of making their decision.  You just want to scream: Pick me! Pick me!  Or a Jedi-mind trick: this is the person for the job.  You don’t need any other applicants.  Everyone I met on that interview was so nice, I want to go there really badly now.  I hope they pick me, but if they don’t, I hope it doesn’t devastate me.

In the meantime, I still have to search for jobs in order to qualify for unemployment.  It’s so difficult.  There’s just nothing I qualify for.  And what I do qualify for, I don’t want.  (Picky, aren’t I?)  Beggars can’t be choosy. I’m not quite to the begging stage yet.  I just feel tired and stressed out over this job situation.  I don’t like being unemployed.  I didn’t like being out on disability either. I want to work.  I want to teach.  I want that job I Skyped for.  My skills fit so well with their research and but the job would be primarily teaching.  (Teaching labs mostly, but you can’t have everything.) The real downside is that it is a yearly contractual thing and not tenure track.  Well, maybe I would do better if I don’t have to worry about tenure.  It’s still a year to year thing, so it does lack a little sense of permanence.  Can’t I just have a forever home and a forever job?  Is that asking so much?  In this economy, probably yes.

I think a lot of colleges are going away from the tenure track positions and more towards the lecturer (yearly) positions.  It’s probably a cost-saving measure as I’m sure they don’t pay lecturers quite as much as they do tenure track.  And of course, there’s no tenure to contend with, so if management changes and they don’t want you anymore, out you go.  It sucks, but it’s true.  And since it’s contract, they don’t pay for unemployment.  You simply are not renewed.  Buh-bye.

I am still crossing my fingers, and hoping and wishing for this job.  I think it’s a great fit.  I hope they do too.


Skype Interview in Review

I had my first Skype interview yesterday.  It was kind of odd – very strange medium for an interview.  But I dressed the part even though my office is one of the hottest rooms in the house, despite air conditioning. (By the end of it, my cami was soaked!) We cleaned up and decorated the office so it would look nice for the interview.  I didn’t want them to see how messy I am!  I had to take my glasses off too because otherwise there would be too much glare for them to see my face.

I think the interview went well.  I hope so.  I am really interested in this position, maybe even more so than the phone interview I did for another college.  This place has more interesting research programs.  I still don’t know what the pay is but it’s poor practice to ask in an interview.  The position is on a yearly contract basis, so there is a bit of uncertainty there, but at least I don’t have to contend with the stress of tenure.  I also don’t get the security of tenure. 😦

Overall, I think it went well.  You can get a better sense of people in a Skype interview than via a phone interview.  They said I would know something within 48 hours.  I am so nervous!  I have a good feeling about this school, but I can’t rely on any Jedi-like senses for determining success or failure.  I think this school was more interested in me than the other one, so I hope that they invite me for a in-person interview or even just hire me outright!  (Wouldn’t that be cool?)  I think I am going to need some Klonopin to get me through the next day and a half.  Especially if it takes longer than 48 hours.  Universities move slow.

If anyone can spare some luck, I could use it!  🙂

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


University Love

I love learning. I love sitting in a classroom, mathematics scrawled across the board, my eyes drinking in formulas and my mind questing for more. Seeing connections between A, B, & C. Reading, understanding, interacting. Learning.

And now I’ve stopped learning. I’ve gone corporate and there is no time for learning. I get short courses in technical writing or Excel, and I sit at the front of the class and ask a million questions – yes, I’m that student you always hated in school because she wouldn’t shut up and let the class go on at its rapid fire pace. I stay after class and ask the teacher questions. I am an A-student sponge. That is, if I’m interested in what I’m there for. If not, forget it – I’m daydreaming.

Today I am sitting here in hallowed halls of learning, waiting while DH sits in on a class. He is visiting local graduate schools looking for a PhD program. (He doesn’t want us to be known as Dr. & Mr. anymore.) I can understand to some degree, although to be honest, for about the first 5 years after I had my PhD, I would have told you it was a waste of time and effort. But as I sit here waiting for him, I long for those days.

I tried going to the library but eventually got tired of their squirrely organization system. Why would one floor contain books in the 300s up to 495, then stop and start again with 650? Meanwhile, books in the 500-649 range are on another floor (3 floors away, actually). I’m sure there is some method to this madness, most likely subject grouping, but to the untrained eye, it seems like nonsense.

So I ended up at a coffee shop. It wasn’t a very good one, but it was warm and quiet. But I was just in a coffee shop. I wasn’t transported to that magical land of learning like I am in a university. Even at home, trying to read Stahl’s book on psychopharmacology doesn’t do it for me. Sifting through pub med articles are not enough. School is in my heart. Learning is in soul.

When I was working on my graduate degree, I took nearly every class I could. I took more than was required. My advisor asked me, “why do you keep taking classes? You can just take research credits.” I responded, “because I enjoy it. You’re going to pay for 6 credits regardless and I’m going to do the research anyway, so what’s the harm?” I finally reached some pretty high level theoretical stuff that was my undoing. (A severe bipolar cycle was going on at the same time and I nearly failed the class.) But I climbed pretty high on the intellectual totem pole, and for that I should be proud.

Part of me would love to go back to school. I would study mathematics. Math is solid. There are no judgement calls. It either is or is not. It is cool and structured, powerful and necessary. It is not influenced by my moods or state of mind. It is a silent giant but it requires focus. A focus that I need but have lost over time.

But what I really wonder is do I want to go back to school for the right reasons? I feel like my career has been a series of accidents – some good and some bad – but all of them left wreakage behind. I feel like I should be somewhere in my career by now instead of flip-flopping career paths, leaving a trail of employers in my wake. Has my bipolar been an issue? Of course it has. It cost me one job and is on the verge of costing me another. It was only the one in between that (mostly) wasn’t caused by my illness.

And that was probably the job that meant the most: in academia.