Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Things That Never Pay

You know how sometimes you get busy and let little things fall by the wayside for a while, telling yourself you'll get caught up when some event you're preparing for is over? I did that this winter; I didn't check email from my commuter campus for a while because anything important is usually forwarded to my local campus email and the students use gmail to communicate with me.

Then I found out that because I didn't read an email in time, I'd missed out on the chance to get on the teaching schedule for next year. There's a new department head who doesn't know me; guess I should have tried harder to introduce myself at that beginning-of-the-year-meeting where the full-time faculty are busy talking to each other. Now it's either more-than-usual underemployment next year, or a new sell at yet another college.

I get tired of selling myself, of exhibiting my enthusiasm for talking about books. Again I'm thinking maybe I should set down the heavy bookbag (although mine says "May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.")

Partly as a consequence of my shaken faith that what I do matters (while it's nice to hear that it mattered to individual students, that doesn't make any difference to getting hired each year), I'm feeling a bit unsure about my direction for blogging what I read. I think over the past three years I've established that necromancy never pays. What I'm wondering is whether musing about books will ever pay, or if everything I write is going to end up sounding like trivial pursuit for book lovers.

Real academics get a sabbatical every seven years; they get paid while they do something besides teaching. I'm thinking of taking a page from that book, so occasionally during the next year I may take a week off from blogging and try something different to see if I can make the things I do here feel more worthwhile.

In the meantime, I have a poem to kick off national poetry month tomorrow, trivial pursuit for book lovers on Friday, and next week I'll be back with my emotions better "recollected in tranquility," to borrow Wordsworth's phrase.

25 comments:

Harriet said...

I am so sorry! How awful. And this is just exactly the kind of thing I would do myself, so I am particularly sympathetic. I hope things are looking brighter soon.

Anna said...

That really stinks! I'm sorry. :(

As for blogging, for me, I do it for fun, and if it stopped being fun, I'd take a break and rethink things. Hope you get it all figured out soon.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Karen said...

Oh, that's really too bad. Understandable, and frustrating.

On the other hand--a Firefly bookbag! How fun!

Do take care of yourself, Jeanne. Your posts never strike me as trivial pursuits; I enjoy them. But take what time you need!

Lass said...

So the chance to get on the schedule is completely missed? Ugh.

I understand the desire to take a break from blogging but I do enjoy your writing and hope you won't entirely abandon your internet public.

FreshHell said...

Well, I feel your pain. Academia does a piss poor job of their handling of adjuncts. They need them but treat them as expendable. Sorry about this.

But, what Lass said. I do hope you'll keep blogging. About books and what not. I can't pay you for your words but I do enjoy reading them.

SFP said...

I'm sorry about the teaching, Jeanne. I have a tendency to ignore email myself so I understand completely how something like this could happen.

Blogging seems like a negligible pursuit for a lot of us right now, best I can tell. It takes an awful lot of effort for whatever the rewards might be. I hope your time off will lead to much enthusiasm for returning, though, because I would miss you if you were gone.

Amanda said...

Hey Jeanne,

I want you to know that I dont' comment here often, I read every single one of your posts and love them. I learn so many things from you. So maybe it doesn't all sound like Trivial Pursuit for Book Lovers. Just saying.

But a week (or more) off sounds good. I hope things get better for you. :/

Anonymous said...

Quantity or quality? I vote for getting as much quality out of you as we can, even if it isn't as often as we might like.

Sent you a book that is a collection of columns about kids books - perhaps will spark ideas?

Anonymous said...

oh, sorry, that was m!

-lemming

Jeanne said...

Thank you all for those compliments; I guess I was fishing for them! (Grins.)

It helped to write about it; people in real life have daily stuff of their own and don't always have the time and energy to hear the whole story. It always helps to write about it--which is why I don't mean to give up this blog. The dailiness, though--might be good to shake that up some.

kittiesx3 said...

I sincerely hope you continue to write here about whatever strikes your fancy. I cannot tell you how much I've valued reconnecting with you (although Kent could, he's listened to me say "well Jeanne said this" or "Jeanne wrote about that"). It helps me feel like I got a second chance with someone who was clearly amazing in high school only I never bothered to discover that at the time.

Marie said...

I can understand how you feel. I don't blame you for wanting to take a break. I don't blog for profit per se but I have found that it's helped my career somewhat, since I write about the things I often put in my library and talk to patrons about. But it's always been my goal to have my blog help my job and I think if you blog with your goal in mind so to speak, you'll get there, whatever it is.

Jenny said...

*hug* I'm sorry! For the record, I love your blog and always feel pleased when it pops up with new posts in Google Reader. :)

Aarti said...

I'm so sorry :-( That is a horrible situation and I can see why it frustrates you. I know the feeling that nothing you do really matters. I've had that feeling before, too. Hopefully something will happen to show you that it's not the case :-)

Trapunto said...

Having to get get rehired every year sounds so, so hard. Kudos to you for keeping your sunny disposition thus far. And mean glares to the department head for not instantly picking you out of the crowd at the meeting and saying to himself, "What an awesome bookbag. Must remember to get that woman a raise!"

readersguide said...

Oh, this is awful.
Please keep writing, though. What you write matters to me, and a lot of other people, too, it sounds like.
In fact, that may be the point of blogs -- they're where what we're interested in, but not necessarily paid to think about, gets thought about.
xx

Betty (Beth) said...

I'm so sorry it's been one of those days/weeks/months. Just know that I generally love your thoughts and ideas and am so excited to be able to read them.

I'll keep my fingers crossed that things start looking up! :-)

Jodie said...

Aww Jeanne it sounds like you're having a hard time right now. How frustrating to be missed off the schedule because you're not totally connected to all the different technology funnels. I'll just add my thoughts that I hope you keep posting and I hope you find a way to make it feel more worthwhile for you (I like what you post, but I know the feeling of wanting to develop things for yourself). Good luck working things out.

Florinda said...

I'm sorry to hear about the job. But I do hope you'll keep up the blogging, even intermittently; I can't think of anyone else who talks about books the way you do.

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said...

Frustrating!! I think taking a week or two off at a time is a really good idea. I tend to let that happen without trying when school gets the best of me, and I usually feel better after it does.

Trapunto said...

Ooh, I just realized I posited a *male* fail department head! Reverse sexism!

Jeanne said...

In fact, Trapunto, the new department head is a woman. So far Karen (and possibly you?) is the only person to recognize the bookbag saying!

Care said...

Gosh, this SUCKS. I think your blog is awesome. Just sayin'. Smiles, hugs and dark chocolate...

Nymeth said...

I'm so so sorry, Jeanne! What a terrible situation. And about your blog, I completely echo Amanda's words. You're on my must-read-every-word folder. I enjoy your writing and your voice so much.

Jeanne said...

Thank you again for the barrage of compliments. It makes me feel a lot better about making a new plan.