Cruel Indeed!

Growing up in Vancouver, I never understood the whole thing about April being the cruelest month. Now, on the other hand, I get it. You see, in Halifax, where I live, we won’t see tulips and daffodils until May, or leaves on the trees until June. In Vancouver, however, where I would like to live….The constraints on your location and the near-impossibility of ‘lateral movement’ are among the great cruelties of an academic career. After over a decade of resistance, I have faced the fact that in order to move ‘home’ I would need to change professions (or, somehow, belatedly, become a different kind of academic–a more ‘successful’ one, by some measures). It’s frustrating, of course, to be less employable in my chosen field after 12 years of experience than I was when still ABD, but that’s the way this game is played. I’ve gone through most of the stages of grief over this and moved a long way towards acceptance–but spring sure makes me homesick. Is the job worth it? Sometimes. But the likelihood of being separated from your family and your history is one of the aspects of this career that I emphasize most strongly when advising prospective graduate students, not least because I never really thought much about it until, in many ways, it was too late.

(Photo credits: RDS)

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