Sorry for the two-week long interlude, but the spouse was laid off, and we’ve been figuring out how to cope. It came as a total shock, which of course seems silly, given that everyone’s neck is on the chopping block these days. But we were feeling pretty secure; even when I lost the fellowship that I had been counting on, we were in good shape. Now we’re in decent shape–like a 40-year old dude who plays tennis once a week–but things are a bit trickier. Budget-watching, belt-tightening, all of that. I’ve been thrown two weeks off-schedule for dissertation writing (okay, okay, I was already running behind…), and I no longer have the entire house to myself during the day. So things are more complicated in day-to-day life.
But this has also given me reason to think more deeply about my academic future, and it’s clarified the picture somewhat. For a while , I was beginning to think that we could stay on this same path and do just fine: my spouse would work full-time, and I would be an adjunct and part-time writer while taking care of the house and future kids. The shitstorm that hit us two weeks ago has reminded me of the instability of real jobs like my spouse’s, and the reasons for our original plan — me as secure tenured professor, spouse as home-based professional. Of course, this will be difficult, perhaps — probably? — even impossible. We may have to accustom ourselves to instability, with both of us working on at “at-will” basis (as in: at the will of the boss-man). I don’t particularly like that vision of the future. On the other hand, it does mean that we get to stay in our house (assuming that we can find sufficient work), around the neighbors that we like and close to the family that we love (and the family that we don’t mind that much on occasion). But in any case, we’re going to need to make a decision pretty soon: shoot for the job security of tenure-track that requires moving to new places, or stay close to home and get used to job instability? I’m not particularly sure I like making this choice, but it’s one that has to be made, I think.