Friday, March 14, 2008

Reply To Sender

“:-)”

That was the last message I received this morning from my industry contact. In the space of 24 hours, we went from utter lack of interest to a near-immediate response to my flurry of emails to set up an interview date. I’m rather befuddled by the switch, but given that I tend to be attracted to all or nothing sorts of men, I knew to get what I needed while I had his attention. So why did I receive a smiley face and nothing else? He asked me to bring printouts of some figures rather than preparing a formal presentation. I replied that the process sounded simple and elegant. I’d bring paper copies of my CV and some figures and have packets available to the interviewers who needed them. “Delightful all around,” was my closing sentence.

I have a date in April for an interview. I have a list of 10 names and job titles of people who will have 30 minutes each to form some opinion of me. Given that I interviewed at this site before, I can vividly picture the conference room in which I’ll sit. People will come in through the door in the corner, take a chair across the table from where I’m sitting and we’ll talk until the next person knocks on the door. It’s rather like visiting a zoo exhibit, I think.

To amuse myself, I was trying to think of what I’d put on my placard. Something like, “The Katie is a quiet creature, only aggressive when threatened or severely annoyed. She eats vegetables when offered, but rarely finds them for herself, preferring instead bread products and processed foods. Having poor vision and sometimes losing track of contacts, the Katie wears glasses and can often be found staring at the laptop or reading a book. She is capable of swimming and seems fond of the water, but abhors heights and is known to tremble with fear upon facing them. Although she seems friendly, she often finds quiet, isolated corners to inhabit and sleeps far more than one would expect.”

Then, in bigger writing, I could print another that says, “Please feel free to bring the Katie a diet soda. We appreciate your cooperation.” I could even ask for a couch and loveseat to approximate my natural habitat. Though I suspect my first smiley face email would then be my last.

“Thank you for writing me on this. Many items go towards the making of a position, career, and life in general. These issues are all very important to consider, and family is an incredibly important one, including parents and nieces. Thank you for letting me know your thoughts and I am sure you will find a position that matches up with your goals and is in a location that you can call "home" - that’s a good thing, and you and your family will all benefit from this.”

I turned down the position in the state that begins with North. Though it was the right thing and I’m glad I did it, there was some pain involved with the process. This was a real, live faculty position. With teaching and research and groups of students and service responsibilities. The closest I’ve come is a faculty job without any teaching expectations, so this post seemed daunting, but wonderful. Given that I think I would have loved the people there and that they were looking for someone with my skill set, I sighed heavily upon informing the chair of the department that I needed to stay closer to home.

This goes on the list of ‘places you screwed up’ when I’m unemployed come Fall. Damn.

“Overall, I regret that substantive weaknesses prevent my accepting the paper.”

As for which of the three this paper is or what kind of journal it was or how many places I’ve submitted it already, I don’t even remember all those answers offhand. It’s yet another rejection though. Which isn’t good. And makes me look to positions where I wouldn’t be writing with sharper interest. Because - honestly - why am I so bad at this? And given that it sucks so much for me, why do I continue to try?

“But… he said no.”

The above statement was uttered by Little One with such a mixture of genuine confusion, shock and horror that I had to shake my head. She saw McDonalds, wanted McDonalds and requested McDonalds. My dad hates that particular location - something about a mixed up drive-thru order - and refused. His granddaughter - seated in the back between her baby sister and her grandmother - responded with surprise too great to even allow for a whine that is becoming characteristic of her speech.

Even as she spoke, he was turning the car into the parking lot so her confusion was justified, I suppose. She gets what she wants from her grandparents and pushes that fact to her utmost advantage. Dad did refuse to drive around, parking in front and sending me in to fetch a milkshake and fries. I watched 101 Dalmatians twice (what a fantastic movie, though a bit dark for children, I think), Cinderella 3 (I finally watched the end - I’ll admit to enjoying it. Don’t try to shame me.) and I opted out of The Fox and the Hound 2, though it’s currently playing down the hall.

Given that I’m spoiled too, I talked myself out of sleeping with a child tonight. Dad is in the toy room on the couch, Smallest One in her crib beside him. Mom will sleep in the back bedroom with Little One as movies play in the background. I will take my parents’ bed and rest comfortably. And, honestly, I find the girls lovely and wonderful, but I grow tired. So granting me the ability to sleep makes everyone happier the next day. Or at least makes me happier tomorrow.

So, how about something like - “The Katie is selfish. And where are we on that diet soda?”

3 comments:

PhysioProf said...

In the space of 24 hours, we went from utter lack of interest to a near-immediate response to my flurry of emails to set up an interview date. I’m rather befuddled by the switch, but given that I tend to be attracted to all or nothing sorts of men, I knew to get what I needed while I had his attention. So why did I receive a smiley face and nothing else? He asked me to bring printouts of some figures rather than preparing a formal presentation.

Are these printouts going to be of published data, or unpublished? How closely related are the data represented in these printouts to what the industry lab you are applying to is working on?

post-doc said...

Ah, I see your point. Your view of human nature is a bit darker than my own - it honestly didn't occur to me that I might know something he wants to acquire. I rather thought I was delightful and charming enough that he decided he liked me. Which is why I continue to struggle with men of that type.

I was planning on taking a bit of both - published data and things I've worked on that might never be published, but are interesting and cool. And it's an odd industry position, PhysioProf. More marketing than anything. But I will think more carefully about what I give them - I tend to be quite open, which could bore ill for my future in industry.

JustMe said...

i like your placard ideas, hilarious! i hope all goes well :o)

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