Thank you to everyone who has emailed me lately, to send a note of appreciation for the contents of the blog, to share your story, or to submit for the call for entry I posted last week. I was in California for part of the week, and upon returning I haven't had a minute to post, trying to get through a few pressing deadlines.
December through February, there is a big push for those of us vying for tenure-track positions to meet the application deadlines for university and college positions listed to begin the following academic calendar. I'm sure many of our approaches to completing this daunting task vary, but for the most part, there is a collective understanding for the efforts put into obtaining such a position. The process begins in the fall, when the listings start to appear on various job boards in the community. The next step is to sit at the computer for weeks on end, often for me this means from morning till night, trying to write and organize my materials, which includes my portfolio. After the applications are sent off in the mail, you wait and hope for interviews. When the email or call comes in, you must then decide whether or not you will attend the conference, where many of the preliminary interviews are held. For me, this means the College Art Association conference, scheduled for early February, in New York. Then often comes second interviews, your third (or second) will be a campus interview, often in March or April and then finally the offer, you hope. This can often stretch into May or June and even later sometimes.
The year I was finishing my MFA, I decided I would send out applications to colleges and universities - this was in 2007. I was teaching two classes, finishing my MFA, preparing for my thesis show (why I scheduled it in February is beyond me) and trying to send 30 some applications out. All this was on top of having two young children. It was pure madness. It was pure stupidity on my part, actually. For the first time in my life I declared I was not superwoman. I'm the kind of person that does well under pressure with many things stacked on my plate. I'm a talented multi-tasker, but everyone has their limits and that year I hit mine. The biggest mistake was that in all of the chaos, I had sent out 30+ faulty CD's containing my portfolio. It was as if I had never applied that year.
The following year I was pregnant with my third child and decided only to send out a few applications to the jobs I was really, super excited about. My son was born May 22 and a few weeks later, I was offered a job in Georgia. I turned it down (under the influence of many hormones, I'm sure) and to this day, I have wondered, "what the hell I was thinking?"
Last year I made a bigger effort, I had been an adjunct for a few years and finally felt a level of confidence in the classroom I felt I deserved. I didn't feel though that my work (my art) had the time it needed to develop and I was not where I wanted to be. You see that is where having kids slows your progress down. I've learned I can't compare myself to those without kids, it just isn't the same...period. Your portfolio is everything in the application process and I wasn't there yet. I vowed last year to put more time and effort into my work and to face some demons that I was still holding onto from grad school.
This year though I wasn't sure I wanted to go through it all over again. I love love love teaching that's not the problem, it's the process I wasn't sure I wanted to go through again. Then in late December, something or someone sparked my desire and after some thought and the passing of the holidays, I decided to apply to some academic positions. At this point though, many deadlines have passed and so I'm moving at lightning fast speed to try and catch those later deadlines, because the academic community really is where my heart belongs.
And for those of you that follow this blog and happen to be former students, reading THIS has helped to focus me on my goal.