I finally submitted chapter number two last week. That capped off a busy few weeks in which I wrote and sent off a book review, finished one article, sent off the images for another article, did six weeks of (pretty good) teaching, and wrote the chapter. There’s also the matter of my spouse’s new-found unemployment. Put it all together, and it feels like I’ve been in a sprint for about six weeks. It’s not as stressful as a proper job, obviously, but I think I need a time-out to get a handle on where I am and where I’m going. Not a vacation or break, mind you, but just a couple days of deliberate reflection on what I want and need to do next.
This is one of the moments, I think, to take a step back and look at my academic mission statement and evaluate my progress. On the whole, I think it’s going well. I’ve written two interesting (although perhaps not “relevant”) chapters, and I’ve focused my teaching on getting students to think about effective storytelling, which is at the core of good history. But that’s where I am now. Next year will be different; no more guaranteed funding to allow me to write, and no telling if there will be teaching gigs to cobble together. If I’m going to keep writing and teaching, I need to get myself positioned for jobs. I need to write and teach today in a way that makes writing and teaching tomorrow (well, next year) possible and probable. That means choosing my next chapter with an eye to the job market, writing teaching statements, making sure that I have evaluations (from students and colleagues) to supplement my application packages. Can I do it? Stay tuned. Or not.