I wrote this as I was preparing to leave for my conference last week. I wasn't sure whether to post it, but decided to go ahead.
Okay, so I am trying to get ready to go out of town to a conference on Saturday, and I have so much to do before I leave. I have to pick up the travel advance (the gf does not believe in loaning the Big R1 University our money for trips, which I understand), buy some shoes to go with the suits, get my haircut cleaned up, get the dry cleaning, and grade student papers so I can pass them back before I go. Oh, yeah, and I have to get something to a potential research funder by Friday, a task which will take probably six hours, at least if I do it right. Which I might not. Because I keep putting it off.
Further complicating this mess is that I am distracted. I have gotten a call about a potential job in another place... an administrative job that sounds pretty cool. And they want to talk to me at the conference. Of course, almost no one at my place knows that this first stage conversation is going to happen, including (perhaps especially) my friends. This secrecy makes the whole thing more difficult, because I am more of a verbal processor. I need to TALK about it, but I really can't. I hate to get folks here upset or angry, especially because the talk is so preliminary and I may not decide to leave, even if I get the offer. My job is pretty great right now, and I would hate to leave it for a situation that turns out to be a disaster.
And there are all the challenges of moving, leaving friends behind and trying to make new friends, and learning the culture of a new university, city, and state. Damn, it makes me tired just to write that.
I joked on Tenured Radical's website about feeling like I was having an affair on my employer and my colleagues, but really, that is how it feels. With an eye to my appearance, I am more concerned about what I will wear, trying to look good at all times for my potential suitor. I am planning clandestine meetings at the conference, trying to figure out how not to be noticed by passersby so rumors won't start. And one thing I know is how small the academic discipline is... if the people on the search committee of wooing school talk to their colleagues and friends about me, it will certainly take less than 6 degrees to link them to people at my school. And even if it might be difficult during a normal week, at the national conference, everyone will be together in the same hotel, so the degrees will be crammed together in one damn room! Sigh.
So, rather than work, I am verbally processing with you.
Update: So, I finished the grant prep work and got it in, finished all the other tasks--small and large--other than grading, and I even graded some papers on the plane. I am having a very good time at the conference: meeting people, visiting with longtime friends, doing a well-attended presentation, interviewing people for jobs at my program, and receiving some nice compliments on my academic work.
I have had some close calls with people overhearing my discussions with faculty from the Wooing School (WS), but I don't think anyone really knows. That said, I am feeling very connected to my home school and my colleagues--most of whom are here at the conference--and can't quite imagine leaving. I am struggling with feeling guilty and even silly for even looking elsewhere, but I can't help but be intrigued by a new, more challenging position. I have never had a romantic affair, but I am sure this must feel somewhat similar (other than the fact that the gf and I talk about it every night!!). That said, I have the "informational meeting" with the WS faculty today, so we will see how it goes. I am trying to keep my options open.