Italy, take two

February 11, 2017

For our honeymoon/anniversary/Sal’s birthday in 2015, we had a fabulous Italian adventure. Eyeing the conclusion of my Ph.D. a year later, we planned a celebratory return. Then my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and we postponed.

We’re trying again, and at this moment, we’ve made progress toward Florence but have hit a couple of hiccups.

Merda! We’re on vacation!

It started when we weren’t sure I’d even be in NYC to depart from. I had been on a work trip to San Francisco, and a massive snowstorm was scheduled to pummel New York. I changed my itinerary and managed to catch the first flight home Thursday, the morning before our Italian departure, when seemingly all other flights were cancelled.  Crisis averted.

Then Friday I stopped by the local bank to get some euros for our trip, and it turned out there was a death threat against an employee while I was there. I managed to get out just before the police arrived, so I didn’t have to give a witness statement, and I rushed home to keep getting ready for the trip.

Then, we were all set, packed and ready, and needed to drop the dogs off at the kennel on the way to the airport. Our car was more than ten minutes late, and traffic was a mess because of snow everywhere and lunatic drivers… but we made it to the airport on time.

All was good, until it came time to land in Düsseldorf.  Turns out, there was too much snow on the runway, and it reappeared as quickly as they plowed it. We eventually ran out of fuel, and diverted to Cologne to refuel and let Düsseldorf get ready for planes to land.

Now we’re here, at Düsseldorf, our second German airport in the last two hours… and still on the plane, because the stairwell driver is nowhere to be found.

We finally landed in Düsseldorf three hours after our connection to Florence departed. Fortunately, the airline automatically rebooked us on another flight to Florence in three more hours. 

After all of this, you might be thinking that I’m stuck in a foul mood. But actually, I’m not. It’s all part of the story, no?

I’m on vacation, with my husband, and we have a fabulous adventure ahead of us for the next 10 days.

And on that note: they’re opening the cabin doors.  Hello, Germany!


January 22, 2017

Last week I got some very disappointing news: the faculty position for which I was a finalist is not going to be filled after all.

Naturally, I was crushed. But I’m trying to focus on silver linings and next steps.

I was so close…

I was one of two finalists, so there was a very real chance that this was going to be my entry point into the academy. We were so excited about the possibilities! Sal had started looking at houses. I was holding off making any travel plans after July, in case my home airport was about to change. We’d talked about when we would go on house-hunting trips in the Spring. 

When I got the email, I reached out in bewilderment to the department chair who would’ve been my new boss. She told me that the committee actually didn’t agree that either finalist was what they were looking for, so they were simply not going to fill the role. A failed search is a big disappointment all around, because it means the department loses the opportunity to add to the faculty, so I’m sure she was (almost) as disappointed as I was.

There was actually a pretty good, and unsurprising, reason for the committee’s hesitation about me: I’ve never taught a semester-length course in person, on campus. I’ve led plenty of workshops, offsite meetings, corporate summits, and so on. And I’ve taught three semesters of online classes at the Master’s degree level. But I’ve never done the specific job that the university was hiring for, in the type of setting that they need someone.

I get it. I’m really disappointed, but I get it.

On the plus side, this means that we likely aren’t leaving NYC this year. Both Sal and I love living here, and we have many close friends here that we would’ve missed terribly, so sticking around a bit longer is one hell of a consolation prize.

This also means that I get to continue focusing on my part-time consulting (which I’m really enjoying!) and on continuing my research, hopefully getting some things published over the next few months. I’ll want to add “adjunct teaching a college course in person in NYC” to that list, to help better position myself for a future opportunity.

And hey, there’s always the possibility that something will come through with another university before the Fall term gets started. I’m attending two academic conferences in the Spring, so there’ll be other opportunities. The gaps in my credentials will still be there, but perhaps another university will be a tad more adventurous and be more interested in my other qualifications.

We’ll see. I’m less certain about what the “medium term” future looks like, but I’m still optimistic about the long term. 

And now… back to the new “business as usual” short term.

Career juggling

December 30, 2016

Remember several weeks ago, when I said that I expected the next six months to include a little bit of teaching, a little bit of part-time consulting, and a lot of research and writing?

Yeah, I very poorly estimated the balance of that. I’m juggling like crazy, and not at all in the proportions that I expected.

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A glimpse of the next six months

November 14, 2016

I’ve wrapped one week of being unemployed, and it’s been quite the week. I was able to go on campus to interview for a full-time job (which would be starting next Fall), I was able to line up some online teaching gigs for the Winter and Spring terms, and I’m on track to start doing some part-time consulting gigs starting next month.

In short: this period of unemployment is likely to be fairly brief… it’ll just going to be a different kind of employment.

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Excited again!

November 10, 2016

Yesterday morning was awful, after waking up to the election news. So I wrote a tearful post about not being able to get excited about a career opportunity.

After the day on campus, I take it back. I’m excited.

Oh, how I needed a damned “win” yesterday morning!

After a day full of eight (eight!) interviews, a tour of the campus, and a teaching demonstration, I left the university with a spring in my step. I don’t know if I’m going to be offered the job, and without specifics I can’t say whether or not I will accept it if I’m offered, but I can confidently say that I feel that I represented myself well. 

Win or lose, I did a good job today. And that feels absolutely great

I won’t know for quite awhile what the university’s final decision is, but at least I know that I can do this. This kind of opportunity isn’t beyond my reach. I’m a good candidate, and I very likely can have a future in this field. 

It’s nice to feel that you’re on the right track, especially when so many other things are seemingly off. 

More, later. Stay tuned.

Exciting news that I can’t at all be excited about

November 9, 2016

Well, I have news… I’ve been invited to Pennsylvania for a full day on campus, at a prestigious university, as one of two finalists for a great professor job teaching Management and Human Resources.

But I woke up today, ready for final prep, and all I can think about is how ashamed of this country I am this morning, the day after the election. I honestly struggle with whether I want to stay in the U.S. at all, and that’s coming from someone who rolled his eyes when celebrities used to say similar things about either candidate.

I’m supposed to be a teacher in the aftermath of this?!

It’s so unfair — I should be ecstatic about today. Especially given last week’s sudden opportunity to leave the bank, my employer of 11.5 years, this bright star on the horizon should be a beacon of hope. Instead, I find myself wondering whether I should even bother.

This isn’t a case of political sour grapes. I didn’t much like John McCain or Mitt Romney, but I wouldn’t have worried that our economy, country, and indeed our world, were on the verge of collapse as a result. I didn’t like George W Bush, but I at least thought that his love of country was real, and that he wanted to do what he thought was best for the United States (even if I didn’t always agree with him on what that was). But this guy?

This is a man who either dismisses or even abhors many of the things that I hold dear — diversity, inclusion, respect, truthfulness, decency, looking out for one another, etc. — or he lies and inflames ignorant masses in order to whip up a frenzied mob that will get him what he wants. Either way, I have zero faith that he’s going to use the power of his presidency to make this a more perfect union. 

And here I am, potentially tasked with the opportunity to educate college students about how to go out and live a fruitful life in the United States, one that Donald Trump and, god help us, his Supreme Court nominations have the opportunity to reshape in disastrous ways over the next few years.

I’m supposed to teach these kids about core values that I hold dear, knowing that their President doesn’t share them. I’m supposed to tell them how to make the workplace a more inclusive and supporting place, knowing that laws to protect diverse or disenfranchised workers are likely to be gutted. I’m supposed to teach them what it means to be a leader, when the biggest example of leadership they’ll ever see is currently a case study in everything I want them not to be… but which more than half of our country views as a role model.

How? How do I go on campus today and interview with almost a dozen professors, telling them I’ll be the right person to join their faculty next August, when I don’t feel like my expertise and my message are relevant in the country these kids will be graduating into?

Friends have joked about moving to Canada. My husband has made it clear he wants to move to Italy. I’ve even joked about finding a beach somewhere in a country with low cost of living but cheap internet, so I can teach online full-time. None of these things feel like jokes anymore, though; I’m actually open to the idea. All of it.

For now, though, I’ve got to go focus on planting a fake smile on my face, and projecting a false sense of confidence and optimism that I just don’t feel today.

Wish me luck, I guess. 

A fresh start

November 7, 2016

After eleven and a half years, on Friday I said goodbye to my job at the bank. If this seems sudden, you’re not entirely wrong: it happened quickly on Friday afternoon, but in many respects it was inevitable.

The three biggest takeaways, though: it was my choice, it’s truly a good thing, and I’m profoundly greatly for a life-changing experience at the company.

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