Monday, October 16, 2006

One More Thing

I have to tell y'all something, but not a word is to be spoken on it until I say so. Advisor suggested, weeks ago, that I push really hard to graduate in the spring. I was thinking next fall. Now I am unsure.

I don't know if the goal is possible, which is why I don't want to talk about it-- til I bring it up.

Anyway, that update was posted as a transition to this: another committee member has suggested I go on the job market.

As if my unorganized, obsessive self can look for a job and write simultaneously. But aside from my neuroses, I don't think I can find a job because I don't think I'll interview well:

1) No, I can't tell you in a few sentences what my dissertation is about. I don't think I'll know til I'm finished.
2) No, I can't tell you convincingly where it fits in the historiography.
3) Yes, "um" and "ah" are standard English in my world.
4) No, I don't know what half the big words other historians use mean.
5) No, I don't want to teach both halves of the survey.
6) No, I don't know what to say when you ask me about serving on committees my first year.
7) No, I can't just stop saying sir and ma'am to colleagues my parents' age and plus--sorry that it makes me look less authoritative, but that was drilled into me like multiplication facts--you don't expect me to forget those, do you?
8) No, I can't do as Advisor suggested and highlight my honors and awards--that's bragging! You see them on the paper--you ask me about them!

And so on and so forth--though some of these are exaggerated. But this is just what I needed.

Something else to obsess over!

9 comments:

Moksha said...

Why is she pushing you out in that horrible world known as the work force? Oh the horror.

I with you on the interview questions. I have never been able to "play the game" very well.

My lips are seal.

RageyOne said...

Um, you're going to tell us something like that and we can't commentn on it. No fair. *foot stomp*

Good luck with that and you can do if you put your mind to it! Have faith!

Quinn said...

I recently had a friend comment that I needed to write more confidently, even if I didn't feel more confident. You could almost hear the giggle over email when she suggested I "write with the penis."

I think this is a hard thing, especially for women, to do. To talk confidently about ourselves without seeming arrogant.

Gwyneth Bolton said...

It's really hard to toot your own horn, especially for women, and most especially for women of color. But, you wouldn't have made it this far if you didn't have the chops. Last time I checked, they weren't just letting black women into grad school just because. And if your advisor is pushing you aim for the spring then she has faith that you can do it. The job market is a scarey place...I can't even front and pretent like it's not. But I have a pretty good feeling you'll do fine.

Professor Zero said...

You'll do fine but: I finished on time, listened to the committee with their hurry up hurry up thing. But I could really have used another semester or two, and I had the time.

They were saying hurry up hurry up because they were saying it to everyone, not because I was slow ... I was actually already ahead ... and the hurrying up to please them, I paid for later in other ways.

So, be sure why they are pushing you for spring. In my department the reason they are pushing some people is, they have other people they want to let in to fill those slots, and they get points from the state for finished degrees. Some of the people who are being pushed, are not being pushed in their own best interests.

I don't mean to be paranoid though:
just be confident and do as you see fit: be confident if you go on the job market now, and if you defend your dissertation now, and ALSO be confident about saying you want another semester or so if that is what you want.

Rebecca said...

Actually, getting a job is like contemplating hanging...it concentrates the mind wonderfully and makes writing so much easier. (You can't put it off when a job and a salary are on the line!)

1) Write down in a few sentences what your dissertation is about right now. Memorize them. It doesn't matter if a few months after your interview your diss is subtly different.

2) Sure you can. Again, just write down a few sentences and memorize 'em. It doesn't matter if those sentences aren't an accurate reflection of your dissertation's final contribution.

3) Your interviewers will probably um and ah more than you will.

4) Actually, those big words simply aren't relevant to your work. You're an empiricist in sheep's clothing.

5) I will definitely teach both halves of the survey (until I get tenure)

6) Interviewing: you're happy to serve on committees your first year. Negotiating contract: no university service your first year. (In other words, play the game in the interview, get the offer, and then play hardball.)

7) sir and ma'am all you want in the interview; you can first-name 'em when you're colleagues.

8) You gotta. Work them into the conversation when you're talking about how you did your research, or where, or whatever. You don't need to brag, you just need to make the point that people besides your committee recognize the skills. That always helps reassure committees.

elle said...

professor zero, b/c i take everything personally, i sent quinn an e-mail when Advisor first suggested it and said "Do you think she's tired of me and ready to get rid of me?" I am a bit much to work with. And Quinn and the rest of my group got my head untwisted.
rebecca, i can't believe you took the time to tackle that item by item, something i was afraid to do. thank you! i think that i'm afraid that what i mean for my dissertation to say/be is something totally different from what it says/is. I envision people rolling on the floor, laughing, saying "She thinks she's that good, that significant.?! Hilarious!"

As y'all can tell, pessimism is reigning supreme around the elle camp!

Rebecca said...

Now I'll let you in on a dirty little secret. Dissertations never, ever accomplish exactly what they set out to do. It's a fact of life. So, no one's going to laugh at yours. If you do do the job market thing this year, and/or you want to finish in the spring, start a file marked "for the book." You can really clear up your argument and contribution then. :)

How's that for some unsolicited advice? Gosh I hate it when people give me unsolicited advice...

nubian said...

i'm just curious, are you considering a post-doc? i think i might(even though i'm years from that), simply because of the time allowed to actually prepare for a job. yeah, depending on the post-doc, you have to teach or do research, but i think, that could be less stressful than writing your first book(the disseration--cuz we all know it will be a book) and looking for a job.

Revelations and ruminations from one southern sistorian...