I am a very private person.
I have always been this way, I think because my nuclear family is private as well. From a young age, it was made clear to me that it was inappropriate to talk smack about the immediate family to most people. It is obviously the case that if my brother and I had been abused or something of the sort, that would have been inappropriate in the extreme, but we weren't. Our home was a loving and supportive one. My parents just weren't the kind of parents who tell perfect strangers in the supermarket (or even friends) about all their kids' problems and inadequacies. So my brother and I followed that model.
When I was first dating TH, I realized, with the help of a friend, that I was not letting him into my inner life. I got a lot better at doing that, but it is still a struggle, even as our one-year anniversary approaches. I am used to talking to my parents or BFF (pretty much the only person outside the family I feel comfortable letting in) about problems, and once I have done that, it seems almost beside the point to tell TH. This is not particularly healthy, I know, and I am working on it, but it is not easy.
This summer has been a tough one for me. I am about to start a postdoc that will have me teaching my own lecture courses at the college level, and it is pretty terrifying. What is more terrifying is the state of the job market in academia. Last year, there were six jobs in my field in the entire country, and two of them were in rural Ohio. In theory, an academic is supposed to be willing to go to rural Ohio, and her husband is supposed to follow dutifully behind, eager to open a new branch of his money-printing business. Real life, however, is different. ( I don't blame TH for this. He has the kind of job that you can't do in rural Ohio. He doesn't have to do it in NYC; any city would do). I predict that this year there will be fewer. Each job that opens up gets 300 applications, at least. Meanwhile, in theory, I am supposed to be writing articles to publish and thinking about how to turn my dissertation into a book, because otherwise how can I compete in this practically non-existent job market? But my stubborn penchant for realism (bad for academia, I know) is slowing me down. It keeps whispering in my ear, "What is the point of writing that article, Katrina? The odds are incredibly high that you won't make it in academia. The article may be good and get accepted, but what's one more article on your CV if your competition for this year's five jobs has a book coming out next year?"
This post is not really about the completely destroyed market in humanities academia. (If you want to read more about that, I refer you to the Chronicle of Higher Education. Reader, beware, though: If there was a Pulitzer Prize in desperate academic columns, these guys would win hands down).
This post is about the fact that I am going through a difficult time now. My job prospects stink (this post-doc is for two years, though). Also, I am incredibly lonely in NYC, because while I have made some friends, it's not the same as GradSchoolTown, where I lived for six years and got to know lots of people. I talk to BFF on the phone almost every day, but it is not the same as living two blocks away and going over to her house just to sit together and work, keeping each other company without saying a word. TH works all day. I'm glad of that, because he makes money, but when he comes home he is zonked, and it is not easy for me to open my mouth and tell him what I am telling you, Internet. I have told him, but I can hardly tell him every night. In an additional hilarious piece of irony, my not asking for help means that other friends call ME and ask for help! It's not their faults, because how do they know how I am feeling, but I am getting to the point where I am not eager to answer the phone.
Do you have any supportive words for me, Internet? You can say whatever you want, but I have to admit that I am less interested in being reassured that I will find a job in academia, since probability tends to be against it. But other supportive words would be good. For me, this level of asking for help is a sort of breakthrough. Really. So, please . . .