Yesterday, I came to the decision (after discussion with the spousal unit) that I was not going to do the job market thing this year. Earlier, I deleted a bunch of job announcement e-mails. I have to say, it feels good knowing that, for the first time since 2003, I will not be under tight, irrational scrutiny...except for that from my wife...or my students...or my boss...or my parents...or my friends...or the people who hate me for some reason unknown to me.
I still hold great hopes to get a tenure-track position in academia, and I feel it is even a realistic possibility. I am not giving up on my career. Things will still go forward...just not this year.
There are a lot of reasons for this decision. I am in a job that's going fairly well, but it is not a place I intend to stay forever...and they know this. I like my classes, I like my co-workers, I like my boss. However, I am teaching Composition, which is not my ideal topic...I'm a Culture Studies guy after all. I'm doing a 4/4, but the fall semester is 16 long credit hours...that's a lot of time to perform in front of a class. And whenever I have an assignment due, I get 80 student papers to grade. I'll probably be here untill 8 tonight in a marathon effort to get caught up.
So, if it is so much work and not in my field, why am I abandoning the search for a good job?
I am, frankly, tired. Before becoming an instructor, I adjuncted for two years. Last fall, I taught 18 credit hours at three colleges in four disciplines...one of which I'd only had one class in, another one that I'd never taken a class. I taught three different courses over Spring in addition to a part time job. This is all paying dues, yes, but paying dues frankly sucks...and it takes a lot out of you.
I haven't had time to be an active academic writer since I finished my Ph.D. I have a whole new theoretical direction I want to pursue. I have a book revision plan which, did it not reside in my computer, would have gathered a significant amount of dust. I have articles I want to write. And if I was to get back on the job market, I know all these things would never come back into my rotation.
So I'm taking a year off. UT is a nice place to be, for a while, and I'd like to just be a working adult for a little while, without the ego-crushing pressure of the job market.
I will be back. I will be ready. I'll have scholarship and hopefully a book contract with me when I do return, and I'm really hoping I can land a job that I want to work at for the rest of my life.
Long-term stability would be great...just let me experience a tiny period of respite before the hunt for it continues.