Category Archives: Everyday Life

And so it begins…

I printed out all the jobs postings that fit me and I have put them into a pile from those due earliest to latest. I have made a “Job Search 2013” folder for my desktop. I’ve been on the job market enough that I had to make a master folder to put my “Job Search 2010” and “Job Search 2011” folders into it. It was a nice respite to not go on the market last year. I happily hid with my head in the sand and wrote, went to conferences, and managed to get some work published. I will begin to fashion a cover letter and soon start sending out materials. And so the semester begins…


Everyday Life: Research Country Edition

Research country is a Latin American country. I did my laundry today at a laundry mat that advertises itself as “American Style.” However, that’s all the ad says. They don’t actually explain what the American style is. From my observation, American style is when you do the laundry yourself at a laundromat. However, in research country it’s much more common to drop your laundry off, pay by weight, and have the attendant wash and fold your clothes. The next day you pick up your freshly washed and folded clothes. I don’t think many people know what the “American style” is. This was kind of confirmed when I was talking to the attendant and she told me I was the first person ever to come and do my own laundry. It seems to me that if only Americans (as people from the US are called here) know how to use the American style then this laundry place may have some more explaining to do.

When are we “known” and how do we know?

This past academic year I went to six conferences. I think that’s a lot, but I actually enjoyed it. If I had the money to go to more I probably would. At the last conference of the academic year, I saw that a scholar whose work I was very familiar with would be there. I explicitly cited him in my paper when I gave my presentation. After the panel, he came up to me, and the first thing he said was, “Hi, you know, I have work out on your topic.” I was so happy to meet him, I sputtered, “Oh, I know. I cited you explicitly. I quoted your paper in big disciplinary fancy journal.” And then I flipped through my paper and found the quote. He said, “Oh, I left to go to the bathroom so maybe I missed it.  Sorry. So you’re at Big Midwestern University? Is Mr. Big Shot still there?” After I said that Mr. Big Shot was on leave, but should be coming back next year, he encouraged me to talk to Mr. Big Shot.

Looking back on that encounter, it just seemed really weird. In the moment, I just did what I thought I should – say that I cited him and whatnot. However, thinking about it now, I think, how strange to just come up to someone, not say your name, and tell them you have work on that topic. Maybe this person is just awkward, but I get the sense from a lot of academics that many feel like they just aren’t getting their due. However, this person has published prolifically, in many disciplinary and non-discipline journals. How can anyone working in his area not know who he is? Other people have mentioned him and his work in my presence. Hell, I mentioned him by name in my presentation in front of everyone at the conference (but apparently when he wasn’t there). I know that people know about him. I just wonder if he knows that.

My Academic Life

I share an office with a faculty member who is currently on leave. Two days ago I was sitting in the office and s/he came in and said “It’s so nice to meet you,” s/he said. “How is everything going here for you?” S/he just came in for a minute and started to ruffle through some papers and books on the shelf.

I said everything’s fine and I liked it there so far. Then s/he said, “Well the library alone makes is worth it to be here. It has so many resources.” I said, “I know, the library has everything.”

Then, s/he paused, turned to me and said, “well not everything. But I’m sure if they don’t have it they can get it for you.”

Academic lesson #5341 I learned: Never be too enthusiastic or offer too much praise about anything. Always be critical, even in small talk.