Pressing Pause


My post frequency has been slowing down lately, as you might have noticed. My alt-ac job applications have been moving along at what, in reality, is a normal pace. To me, however, the interviewing/hiring process feels interminable. I seem to be progressing to new rounds, but I have no idea how many “rounds” there actually are. Four? Five? Eleventybillion?

Donkey Kong

This has been stressing me out a bit. Especially because one of these jobs would start soon, which would mean coordinating a trans-Atlantic move within a fairly tight timeframe. I know that what I should be doing during this waiting stage is applying to more jobs and creating more options for myself, but I’ve decided to take a bit of break from job hunting instead. So far, this feels good. I might pick things up again later this week. Maybe Wednesday? Wednesday sounds good. Or maybe Thursday. Yes, Thursday is better. So what have I been doing instead during my break?

Why, trying new things, of course! I do actually want to start adult ballet classes (my last ballet class was approximately 29 years ago, but I’m sure it will all come back to me. Right? Like bicycle riding?). I’ve just been having problems getting a response from a near-by dance studio. Soon, though!

I also tried out the Grinberg Method the other week. The Grinberg Method is a holistic healing practice that’s very big over here. I had read stories about people being miraculously cured of lifelong ailments after a session or two, so when I found out a friend of my SO was in training to be a practitioner, I agreed to be a guinea pig. The session was interesting. It felt like part acupressure, part yoga breathing, part reflexology, part psychotherapy, and part palmistry. Sessions begin with the practitioner “reading” your feet (this would be the palmistry part). Supposedly, the feet are the key to identifying trouble spots in your body. I know, it sounds kind of ridiculous, but I am trying new things, remember? At any rate, my feet told the practitioner-in-training that my body’s problems were . . . the problems I had told her I had. No new mysteries revealed there, but when I asked she said my feet would have told her if I hadn’t. The rest of the session involved a lot of poking and proding at my body while I worked to control my breathing and relax certain muscles. It is not a comfortable experience. It was actually pretty painful at certain points. Overall, I felt good during the actual session–like I had opened up certain parts of my body (and I did feel weird and tingly). I’m sympathetic to the general concept–our bodies learn to hold tension in ways that are detrimental to our health and we need to unlearn these behaviors–but I’m not sure how well I learned to unlearn anything. After the session, I felt pretty sore (not sure if this is normal or not) and, sadly, was not miraculously cured. In fact, things got a little worse! Maybe the second session is the key? I’m not sure I’m willing to risk it!

I’ve also been trying to explore a bit more of this vast city that I might be leaving sooner than I had expected. I feel like I just got here and figured out how to communicate some (very) basic needs in a foreign language, and now I’m leaving! So playing tourist is big on my to-do list.

Finally, I’ve been catching up on some reading about alt-ac (“alternative academic”) careers that I’ve been meaning to do. I think this technically counts as job hunting, but it doesn’t feel very stressful, so I guess it’s okay. “Alt-ac,” as coined and described by Bethany Nowviskie, “speaks to to a broad set of hybrid, humanities-oriented professions centered in and around the academy, in which there are rich opportunities to put training in scholarly disciplines to use” (Two Tramps in Mud Time). These include a lot of jobs in and around digital humanities projects, but also apply to “people with graduate training in the humanities who apply their skills to a wide spectrum of positions beyond the tenure track. #Alt-academics embark on a variety of careers in areas like libraries, museums, archives, higher education and humanities administration, publishing, research and technology, and more” (#alt-academy project). In fact, the #alt-academy folk are currently compiling a directory of people working in these kinds of fields. I think this is a great project with a lot of potential for networking and raising  the visibility of PhDs working off the tenure-track, so if this describes you, consider adding yourself to the census. I had been aware of the “alt-ac” term for awhile, but I hadn’t really thought I would go into a field that would fall under that umbrella (I was initially thinking about law, consulting, journalism, public policy, etc.). Now that my best leads are university affairs jobs, I’ve begun to do a little more investigating. I’ll compile my thoughts about all of this in a different post . . . after my break!

3 Comments on “Pressing Pause”

  1. I love your cartoons and am a bit weirded out at how accurately they might describe my own life.

    The best part is that you’re trying new things, being creative, exploring new ideas, hobbies, etc. You’re utilizing the best bits of academia I think.

    watch out for the ballet teachers though. They tend to be evil.

  2. Thanks! Am now mildly concerned about evil ballet teachers. Surely most are not truly evil, just French?

  3. […] remember how my new thing is trying new things (like employment)? Now that I’m living just under a mile from work, I have gotten it into my […]

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