I appreciate my job, I SWEAR.
Hot flashes seem to be triggered by actual thoughts. Do any of you find that to be the case? Several times I’ve thought about something embarrassing or upsetting, and HOOOOOOOOT! This morning I was thinking about the way I represent my attitude towards my job in this here online journal. It may seem that I don’t value my job, and when I thought about the fact that a few people who drop in regularly are also academics, it occurred to me that this might be the occupational equivalent of those fertile women who complain about pregnancy while rubbing their enormous bellies. HOOOOOOT!
I’ve got some complex feelings about my job. I’ve mentioned really not caring about my career anymore, and that’s kind of true. But it’s also a major source of pride. This weekend my husband and I were spring cleaning the filing cabinet and encountered the file that contains my academic documents. There’s my high school transcript, which sports a strange combination of As and Fs. My terrible SAT scores. My crappy-state-university transcripts wherein I show that yes, I can get all As, my transfer to a really wonderful institution of higher learning, my letters of acceptance to graduate schools, my offer letter from Mediocre Institution… And while my job is very hard on me–it involves public speaking and I’m socially phobic, it involves constant criticism, and I’m a delicate flower–I did love it until infertility struck. Then, weirdly, a couple of people said things that resulted in me somehow linking the two. I might have done so anyway, but these offhand remarks really sealed the deal.
1. My father (who then rudely died before I could make him take it back) said: Some people don’t get to have everything, and you have a career. Implication: if you didn’t have a career, you’d get to have a baby.
2. BFB, when she told me she was going to start trying, and I revealed I was infertile, said: I should get pregnant first because you have a tenure track job. (BFB has been on the job marked multiple times, with no offers.) Implication: her getting pregnant and my getting pregnant are dependent on each other.
As I sit here, writing this instead of combing the NSF website for some source of external funding that will allow me to get tenure, I begin to wonder. Does part of me believe, really believe, that if I abandon all ambition, I’ll get pregnant? Is all this apathy I feel actually me sabotaging my career in the hopes that I’ll get that baby? Should I quit my job so we can find out?