Monday, August 27, 2012

New Routines

Well, still unemployed here in New City. This isn't really a bad thing as many of the positions I applied for have only just begun "interviewing," according to the job application website. So, I'm attempting to remain optimistic, though I suspect I'm not good at writing cover letters (hey, don't judge, I've never done this before).

On a more uplifting note, Boyfriend and I have successfully excavated most of the apartment out of boxes. We now have a fairly recognizable dining room/living room, kitchen, and master bedroom. The second bedroom is more of an office/work room where the last few boxes have gone to die. Maybe I'll get that a bit more cleaned up so I can start writing in there, as opposed to the living room. The dogs have adjusted better now that they have room to run around like lunatics.

One of the most often repeated bits of advice I've seen about job hunting, unemployment, or writing is to develop routines. Day-to-day jobs tend to force routinization as 8 hours of the day are taken up by a job and you still need to eat. Those of us with more flexible schedules need this same sort of routinization. Routines free up mental space to be creative. So, I'm working on making a routine for myself. I need to find time to eat, walk dogs, go to the gym, run errands, job hunt. I'm pretty good on the eating and dog walking part due to the whole necessity thing. I'm getting better on the gym thing. Still working on the errands. Need to nail down specific job hunting times so that doesn't bleed into evening. So, life continues to be more of a fixer-upper than I would like but renovation continues.

Boyfriend and I have started to (re)connect with old friends in the area. The socialization is good but many of these friends are in academia. So far, this hasn't been an issue in conversation. It just feels weird, like putting on old clothes that you loved but don't fit anymore. He hasn't mentioned it as being an issue but I get the impression he feels similarly. We will definitely need to start making some new friends to go with our new life here and hopefully that will help the weirdness. We would like to keep our old friends but I think some new ones would help with our transitions. Hmm...maybe I should look into writing groups while he tries to find a performance group (Boyfriend is a musician in his free time). I'll keep y'all informed on the transition if you do the same. Cheers.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Idle Hands = Anger at Talking Heads

Due to a deal we got with the cable guy, we have cable despite my unemployment. I've taken to watching MSNBC over breakfast in the morning. As a result, I'm far more aware of politics than I have been in years. All these hours of watching talking heads has led me to the conclusion that we need more commonsense and less crazy on both sides. And that the Ivory Tower needs to pay more attention to the larger world, as evidenced by the war on education.

The really dumb and obvious stuff aside, people actually voted against the Ledbetter Act. For those who don't want to google that one, it's the Fair Pay act that says women should get paid as much as men. Women still on average make only 77 cents to a man's dollar. So if a man makes $50k a year for a job, a women on average would make $38,500 doing the same job. Let's say they both do this job for 20 more years with a 3% raise every year. That comes out to $87,675 for the last year for the man and $67,509 for the woman with earnings over that time totaling $1,343,518 for the man and 1,034,509 for the woman - a total difference of $309,009. I don't know about you, but I'm sure I could use that $300k just as much as a man could. Yet another reason why women should definitely be negotiating job offers! Congresspeople voted against this act (yes, most if not all were Republicans). Seriously?!

To be frank, the Republican party scares me. Heading full tilt into a totalitarian dystopia scary. I'm not against traditional Republican values. I don't want big government. I think there should be fiscal responsibility in government. But these are not what Republicans are running on today. They are running on extremism and insanity. Why are Republicans more interested in regulating my body than fixing the economy? Why do they think defunding education is going to improve anything? That a trickle-down economy will work when it never has in history? Saving Medicare for one generation while bankrupting it for the next will somehow work? No one can be so dense as to think these things will help down the road. So what game are they playing? Or are they really that thick? And no, I don't think the Democrats have all the right answers but theirs don't scare me nearly as much as the Republicans' answers do.

But where are the intellectuals here? Where are the academics, public or otherwise, to explain the facts? To reveal the truth? There are ads on TV (again Republican but Democrats have done this too) that are clearly false and the candidates have said so. Where is the intelligentsia to declare these falsehoods and lead the charge for more integrity and accountability in politics? Oh yeah, they've lost of both of those in the Ivory Tower too. Guess it's time to find the brilliant, creative people outside the Ivory Tower and try to stop this madness.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Update from New City

Sorry for the delay. I know you've all been holding your breath for my next post. Don't worry, you can breathe again.

It's been a busy month. Boyfriend and I have decided on and moved to an apartment in New City. He's working an 8-5 and I'm job hunting. The dogs are adjusting pretty well. I'm still excavating us out of boxes. I now understand why some people take years to finish all the unpacking. No job yet but I'm still feeling more hopeful than I did in academia. There's also a lot more opportunities down here than I could find online. In the meantime, I'm starting work on my writing with the goal of finishing a novel that is far more interesting to read than my dissertation.

On an aggravating note, the final paperwork at my university is incredibly demoralizing to fill out. It's not the formatting revision required by the grad school (I'm on round #3). It's the surveys. They all presuppose that you are either going to a faculty or post-doc position. The only other option is something like "negotiating some other position" or "not working (family obligations)." The actual wording, compared to the more academically-acceptable options, is really kind of insulting. They would have been better served to just put "Other" and leave it at that. There are also sections of how you paid for grad school and what your background was. The instructions claim these are just for decision-making purposes. However, after doing the sections on "Future Plans," I couldn't help but feel like they were gathering data on why some students "succeed" and go to get faculty jobs and why some "fail" - meaning they would click the "Other" button.

Leaving academia does not mean I "failed". It does not make me less than anyone who toiled to become faculty. Now can we adjust the attitude please, ivory tower-ites. Hmm...maybe they need a nickname. The Ivories maybe. Makes them sound like some gang in the fifties who wore matching jackets and broke out into dance numbers frequently. Would that make post-academics a roller-derby team by comparison?

On a related note: this post from The Homeless Adjunct blog is getting passed around among academic friends on facebook. I am glad 1) that faculty friends are reading The Homeless Adjunct and 2) that they think the content is relevant enough to pass on. This post does make the situation sound a little conspiracy theory-esque. Maybe it is. But I think it's more that once this wagon starting rolling, more and more people jumped on. What disturbed me more were the comments from faculty friends on this piece. They summed up to "sounds bad". Sounds bad? Sounds bad?!? This exact phrase was actually uttered by a friend with a sterling academic pedigree whose only job offer was a temporary position offered at the last minute in a much less than desirable location with a pathetic excuse for a salary. Talk about getting smacked in the face with denial and wondering why your head hurts.

Sigh. Wish I had a better ending. Oh well. I'm off to round 4 of the grad school revisions. Think happy thoughts y'all. The weekend is coming.