So, around this time last year, Local Research University offered me a position as a part-time assistant professor. The only problem was, they didn’t actually have the position available yet. They like me, they want me in their department. I wouldn’t have to give up my current job. It pays well, and I’d be able to be engaged in cool health research and be a PI at a well-known and reasonably prestigious institution of higher learning. I’d get to teach. Seemed like a can’t lose proposition. I was unanimously approved by the faculty to join. I told them I’d sign a contract as soon as they had one for me.
They haven’t had it yet. The new rule at Local Research University is that they have to have an outside funding stream for new hires. This is why I fear that soon, incoming professors are going to be expected to win grants first, get positions later. I don’t write grants on speculation. It’s insane. You want me to write a grant for you? You have to hire me. The same is true of consulting proposals, manuscripts, courses, etc.. I don’t work for free. Nor should anyone.
Anyway, so I’m giving back-to-back job talks on the East Coast next week. And now it turns out that Local Research University is signing a contract on Tuesday that should include funding for my position. If it does, and they float an assistant professorship for me, I’ll take it. It’ll allow me to stay where I am, do really cool science, work in a field that I’m really interested in, and be well paid to do it. Without having to uproot.
As much as a position out at East Coasty University would be awesome, I’d rather stay here, in my community, with my opportunities and established connections. I’m making new connections, and establishing myself as a reasonably sized fish in a fairly small pond where I am. I like that feeling. I would be very happy building a permanent career where I am. I have the same problems as any aspiring academic. In a world without tenure-track appointments.
What I need to remember is that I’ll be fine no matter what. If I get the best job in the world, or if I’m mopping toilets in a gas station. I can be happy. Because my happiness is based internally. I am happy when I am working hard, doing well, and being of service. I have all of those things in my life right now. I will focus on that. My fears will either come to pass or they wont. And I’ll be sober, sane, and productive no matter what.