Here's the deal. I love what I do- most of the time. I hear that it's fairly normal for people to dislike certain aspects of their job, so I assume I am "playing the game" just fine. It is currently that time of year when Scott and I receive job advertisements from around the country. We have discussed this "plan" to move wherever the first tenure track job is, whoever gets it first. Every time I see that a job is open for which I can apply, my heart sinks and I begin to get very nervous. In my head, I go through the list of everything I'll need (cover letter, current CV, at least 3 letters of recommendation- better contact those people who said they'd write one for me and hope they don't get annoyed by how many jobs I apply for this year, make copies of recent performances, make copies of programs, think of new and amazing ways to talk myself and my paltry professional experiences up, etc.). I feel anxiety every time I sit down at the computer, knowing that I SHOULD be working on those applications- but I'd much rather______.
Eventually I'll get my application butt in gear and send things off. Then we wait. Sometimes I try to pretend that I win a job just to see how that makes me feel. I often end up feeling sad. No more Monday Night Dinners, no more trips to Connecticut, no more family gatherings on a wim, no more drafty old house in a beautiful neighborhood, no more familiarity. And who gets the job? If I get it, what does Scott do? If it's Scott's to win, what do I do? I know, I know...I shouldn't even play the "what if" game unless we are even presented with a job offer. But there are other what ifs that are more nagging- what if we never get a job? Now I've wasted all this time and energy on stupid applications when I could have been __________. What if we get a job and wish we'd stayed where we were? What if I/we either never get a job or decide not to apply anymore and later in life, I/we wish that I/we had pushed myself/ourselves a little more? (Sheesh! It's hard talking about me and Scott at the same time!) What if I could be doing more than I currently am (a stack of papers needing to be graded are certainly telling me that there is more I could be doing right now, but that's not really what I mean...)?
I really don't know what to do about this job dilemma anymore. I hate my drive, but I like what I do, and at least I have a job/jobs in my field. I like my students for the most part, but find myself complaining more and more about the quality of students that end up in higher education (but that's an entirely different blog!). I don't have tenure bullshit to deal with, which means I am free to do however much or little in the way of professional development as I want! I guess the succinct point in my quest for advice from y'all is: I feel stuck, professionally. Now what?! Am I expecting too much and should just shut my trap and get on with life? Should I listen to my gut and not apply for the handful of jobs in this country for which I am qualified?! (As I wait for responses, I will get back to grading...I promise.)