Will's Coffee House

John Dryden, Dramatist, Critic, Poet Laureate, and my ancestor, frequented a coffee house called Will's almost daily, where he would hold forth on sundry subjects with great wit and aplomb. Same deal here, only without the wit or aplomb.

Location: Large Midwestern City, Midwestern State, United States

I am a stranger in a sane land...

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Sigh and Sigh Again

It's that time of year, when the young post-doc's thoughts turn to the fact that he's facing the unyieldingly bleak job market once again. When the letters of application have been sent, and one can only wait for the rejections to start rolling in.

Or worse, for the one or two interviews to be offered--always with an air of being added to the list because they have a minimum number they're required to interview, and you just happened to be alphabetically convenient.

And then to go through the stress and the hassle of flying cross-country--can't they ever have these f***ing conventions in this time zone?--right after Christmas to a miserably over-crowded hotel, to be surrounded by miserably over-stressed attendees--for whom you'd have some sympathy as fellow travellers into the bowels of the Inferno, except they're your f***ing competition, and therefore, The Enemy.

And then to sit through an excruciatingly painful interview full of long pauses where you sense that you're expected to saying something erudite and brilliant, but the question was, "How was your flight?" and there's no way to work a Yeats quotation into that answer--and then shake hands with everyone in the room, realizing that yours have gone cold and clammy, as is appropriate for someone in the depths of the sudden realization of his existential irrelevance as a human being.

And then to fly back, exhausted and miserable and knowing good and g*d-d*mned well that you didn't get it, that they're not going to call you for a campus visit, but (of course) being unable to not think about it and so still hoping in some feeble way that maybe you will--hey, maybe all the other applicants had nervous breakdowns during the interview--God knows, you were tempted! So maybe, just maybe...

And then getting the rejection, and realizing that it means another year gone--another year older--another year living off a lecturer's salary (an oxymoron, in case you were wondering.)

And then knowing that next year will be just the same, and having the image of Sisyphus burned a little more deeply into one's soul...

Yep, Life is Good.


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