Work is a dull slog right now and has been for a while. I’m not feeling inspired. Not that I think inspiration is required, but boy is it nice. I’m feeling sludgy and unmotivated. I’d like to make some kind of a change, but I don’t know what. As much as I’d love to get back more into a research world, the funding situation in academia right now is such that only a madman would willingly trade a hard-money position like mine for a grant-funded position like those in the academic world.
Nevertheless, I am interviewing with academic employers. Occasionally. There is one here locally at VFU that may have promise for creating some kind of hybrid position where I can keep my hard money funding but also contribute to public health research in more concrete ways. I’d very much like that. I would have to, as I always have, convince people to make special exceptions for me. To create a new position that never existed before.
I’ve done that before. I’m currently in a job like that. My last job was like that. I got into grad school that way. I’ve never taken the traditional path from a starting point to an ending point. I’ve wandered my own way and found myself in the company of people inexplicably willing to bend the rules for me. A function of my privileges and talents, I suppose. And my ability to bullshit convincingly.
But I really do want a faculty title. I really want that. I had an Adjunct Professorship, once. It was basically fake. A title only. No teaching. No actual research. I was a consultant. The projects I consulted on have never been published comprehensively. But I’m proud to list that title on my CV. They don’t give those titles unless they are confident you won’t be a disgrace to the university. And so I can say I’ve been faculty at an Ivy League university. I’m proud of that.
My life has been characterized by doing small, fake version of things. I have a doctorate, but my dissertation was terrible and should have been rejected. I’ve been a PI, but I’ve never held an actual faculty position. I am a manager; I don’t have a real lab or an independent budget. My publication is for vanity. I am not actually advancing much human knowledge. I like to pretend I’m important and useful, but the truth is I’m a small, counterfeit version of a researcher.
My work is rarely read and more rarely cited. But this is how I’ve chosen to howl into the darkness. I fling these little missives into the sea of health care research and hope that through some complex, indirect action, it helps people. Maybe it does. Maybe it doesn’t. I’ll never know.
No giants will ever stand on my shoulders.