Friday, May 02, 2008


I didn't get the teaching gig for next year. It was only a one-year replacement job, but it went to some Chinese guy who already has a PhD. Good for him.

But a girl can still dream, right?


No, really. Right.

Call me crazy, but I knew that the teaching job was pure suicide, an instant death of my dissertation.

And the idea of limping through another sunless, g-dless winter in Upstate New York? Will someone please pass the crazy?

The good news is that they wanted to hire me, but the committee was wrought with discord over the fact that I do not yet have a Ph.D. in hand. That said, they are offering me a couple of courses to teach in the fall semester only. The wonderful thing about this arrangement is that the courses I will get to teach are more in line with my specialization. This is very exciting for me because I will not be strapped with all of the generic crap courses that young faculty normally have to teach in order to pay the dues. (Of course, if I had taught those courses, they would have been FABULOUS, but apparently there is some unwritten rule that political science introductory courses are supposed to be staunchly conservative, difficult and drab. I can just imagine my sweet students dancing through a highly nuanced semester of US Foreign Policy to the tune of a Chinese man, who is neither American by nationality nor a native English speaker by design. May Heaven help them all.)

Nevertheless, there is a method to the madness. I believe that one opportunity leads to the next. Because of this way of looking at things, I find it exceedingly difficult to be disappointed. The bright side of this scenario is that I now have absolutely no plans whatsoever to endure another New England winter! By the time the semester ends in early December, I will have money in my pocket, more teaching experience under my belt, and I will be long gone before the hateful cold and foul weather begins. Yay! More travels!

...and speaking of travels...

I will be steadily on the road for the next month. This weekend, I am hitting up Jazz Fest in the Big Easy. Next weekend, I am making time for a friend's graduation and a family reunion. The following week, I will be in Denver. The week after that, I will be back home in Virginia, hanging out at Bro's place and teaching the rabbi how to chase chickens, drink beer from the bottle and relax like a Southerner. Ultimately, I will end up back where I am now. Call it good karma, but I have been offered a most commodious living arrangement for the bulk of the summer. From June to August, I intend to drink a lot of tea, go for long runs and bike rides, buy fresh berries along the roadside and my life depends on it.

Things work out. The glass is always half full, even if you decide to pour it all out and hang in the limbo of hope...hoping that what comes next might not be so bitter. I am packing up my few earthly belongings again and moving what I cannot carry with me to my new commodious room with a view across town. The wonderful thing about having momentum is that you can't be too burdened by the heavy stuff. Rather, you only take what is absolutely essential. Over the years, I have trained myself to look at life this way:

Cut out the fluff, cut out the nonsense. Take only what you need, and share openly what you know, what you have to give without expecting anything in return. Even if all you have in your back pocket is $20...and a pure heart...expect to be surprised.



Kim Ayres said...

You should step outside your comfort zone and see if you can get by with $19...

Alan Ward said...

Hey, I can also live with $20 ... and a credit card.

This guy wo got the job - I'm sure he's nice and he has a PhD, but can he teach?

The kids will tell you some months from now.

Anonymous said...

sorry about the job chica. Life is chaotic like that but that only cleanses the senses/soul. I'm watching George Bush on cnn and I swear my chromosome count dropped. Anyways, other doors that you never thought of will open up. They always do...


Laura said...

I love you Namaste, but you are way better than your comments here about "some Chinese guy who isn't even American and doesn't speak English as his native language." America is cool just because stuff like that doesn't matter! That is why your area of study is so frickin' awesome and why originals like you are what make us great.

But rock on, girl! I'm glad you have many irons in the fire and dreams yet to be fulfilled. It makes you so alive that we keep coming back for a little spark. Hey, I'm always here....

(PS -- If this comment says more about me than it does anything else, I totally own up to my own biases.)

VJ said...

I lurve our new modern higher ed gulag complex. We hire, yes, Cheaper imported talent from everywhere else, and then manage to bitch about the low production of US born scientists etc. (to use a ready example). Naturally it does make a difference. You might be able to gradually pick up the inflection and the garbled German of your physics or even econ. prof. The hurriedly confused Hungarian syntax of another. But folks I'm here to tell you that when it's done in a wildly different foreign language it really does make a difference. You spend most of your time just trying to 'catch up' to what you imagine they're saying up there.

So YES we should be the light unto the world for all brilliant academics. To be the inspiration for a would wide culture of free & open inquiry into the sciences & the greater truth in nature as revealed by a boundless scientific method & cultural inquiry. But really? A brilliant Chinese scholar of US Foreign Policy? He's come up with new lyrics to 'Bomb Bomb Iran' for McCain?

So no, I'm not buying into the whole deal here. I say language Always counts. They WAY you say something counts. Especially in many academic contexts. This said I think perhaps only 10% (or less) of the entire field of most unfortunately named discipline of 'Political Science' is at all aware of how the 'game' of politics is actually played for Reals on the ground in the US today. Most just have no damn idea, and can't even begin to imagine how far we've fallen away from any sort of the idealistic notions often presented in academic contexts.

Arriving fresh from an intensive academic study abroad of our 'system' of governance would more or less render you substantially LESS capable to understand the realities of today's 'political marketplace'. There's just no avoiding that. Now say his specialty is 18th or 19th century Historical aspects of the field, that would be a bit different. Possibly even for foreign policy. But most courses in Foreign Policy barely touch upon these centuries now before ramping up to all the 'exciting bits' (waring) later on.

But as usual, I digress. It's good to hear that you might escape some more tragic winters, even at the cost of a 'killer job'. The bottom line needs to be met. You've always got to close with the enemy.

It's good to hear the Rabbi mentioned too. And yes, rabbis & chasing chickens go Way back. Enjoy NOLA & the rest of your travels.

Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

Namaste said...

Lol. Sorry if I offended, Laura. My real concern was purely pedagogical. Political science can be soooooo boring and dogmatic, whereas I prefer to make it more alive and engaging in the classroom. Who knows, maybe this guy has what it takes? But really, you're right for pointing out that it is beyond my purvey of concern at this point. Thank you. Point well taken.

VJ. I swear, I need you to start your own power blog, dude. Seriously. :)