I have a PhD…now what?

There’s a serious problem in academics.

There are thousands and thousands and thousands of overqualified, competent, very intelligent people with doctorates who have gone through over a decade of intense work…

…and who will never get a job teaching.

Everyone talks about it. No one thinks it will be them.

But it is.

Even if you went to Harvard. Even if you already published a book. Even if you’re the smartest, brightest star at your school. Even if you know all the right people. Odds are that you’re not getting a job teaching (and I mean a serious, salaried job).

I’ve decided I’m one of these people early on. After a year of abuse from the system post-doc, I’m not really interested in continuing to run up against the wall. I respect myself too much. I respect my education too much.

I refuse to be abused just to prove something to other people.

Buuuuuuuut, I still think getting a PhD was one of the best things I ever did.

What?

Yup. I’m crazy like that.

Wouldn’t change a thing–except maybe the debt and the emotional abuse. But that’s for another time.

I think if graduate programs want to continue to exist they need to recognize and advertise the malleability of their degrees.

I have skills. I have worth. Just because there is one job a year for my field (with probably 10,000 applicants just like me or better) doesn’t mean I have to undersell myself and compromise my dignity waiting for some school/any school to look my way.

There are places out there that not only find PhD holders valuable, but will also pay them a decent wage (sit down!), benefits (shut the door!), say in location (stop it!), and dignity (this is just too much).

After some conversations with other people just like me who have managed to have fulfilling lives outside of professorship, I’ve begun to compile a list of jobs that regularly hire people with doctorates. This list may be different with STEM fields, or others like that, but maybe this can begin the process of thinking outside the box of future potential:

1) Writer

This can vary from continuing the academic route of journal and book writing with the hopes of getting recognized eventually (I know someone who supports his family putting out about 10 books a year), to work as a journalist, to column writer, etc. This path seems the most natural for humanities people like me, but it’s also the least stable and probably even more of a gamble than teaching. Odds of supporting yourself are slim. It could happen, but slim.

(2) Administration

I can feel the groans from here, but this is the most stable, lucrative, easiest transition to make job wise. I even suggest dabbling in different offices while you’re a student to see where you feel the most fulfilled and happiest. You’re still working in an education setting and you’re still working with students.

You’re getting paid.

A friends of mine–after a decade of teaching at a big state school–finally got enough merit bonuses to hit 40k. I got that as an entry level database manager at a seminary…

(3) Foundation/Charity Work

This seems to be getting harder with degrees specializing in this work. But people with pastoral backgrounds or with diverse activity in different ministries (religious dialogue, homeless work, youth work, etc.) are coveted. Head’s up that progressives might find it a bit harder to find a foundation that aligns with their politics and have solid money to pay.

(4) Museum

This gets thrown at me a lot as a historian. I think the idea is that I’d be a natural fit as an archivist, restorer, conserver, historical resource, etc. with all of my training. However, this has about the same odds as a professorship. Tread lightly.

(5) Ministry

I’m sure this is helpful for some people (I think a lot of well-meaning people in my life don’t know what I do), but I get thrown these job postings a fair amount. Unfortunately, a ministry position with a livable wage is going the same direction as professorships. However, I know an amazing amount of PhD holders who take up ministry positions, keep writings, keep traveling, and have very full/fulfilling lives that balance many worlds.

(6) Publishing

This was just sent my way and I’ve been sitting with my own curiosity. Admittedly, this has serious ups and downs, but I’ve heard a lot of people say it’s on the up swing, that you still get to work with amazing minds, and that the work is crazy stimulating/creative/hard/frustrating/fulfilling. It can be dog eat dog, but after my cohort classes I think I can handle more emotional brutality than 90% of the population.

Soooooooo…

What say you? What do you think? What do you love? What do you hate? Anything to add?

It’s All Your Fault

I often find myself feeling God’s cold shoulder.

Before you launch into the solution, I just want to vocalize something that has always bothered me just enough to recognize it, but not enough to reflect on it–

Often the answer to the feeling of the absence of God is that it must be the person’s fault.

You turned away from God.

You stopped reading your Bible.

You stopped praying.

You don’t feel God? Honestly, you brought it on yourself. Here’s what I do…

Does this strike anyone else as troublesome?

Perhaps it’s because of a family trauma using this same language.

My uncle is physically disabled and spent many of his younger years going to Christian healers trying to be “fixed”.

He still can’t walk.

But you know what he was told over and over and over again? It was because he didn’t believe enough. It was his fault. If only he put more trust/love/faith in God then he would be able to walk like all of his brothers.

I don’t have a solution or answer for myself or anyone else, but we have to stop victim blaming when we are hurt by God. I know it helps maintain our own religiosity that God can’t possibly be withholding/cruel/mean, but the solution isn’t to turn it around to the person who is in pain.

If You Show Me Yours, I’ll Show You Mine

There it was for everyone–anyone–to see.

An altar. Right over their fireplace. Right next to the Martha Stewart cookbook. What were they thinking? Was that even allowed? Were they going to get into trouble?

When I was in junior high I went over to a new friend’s home and I was shocked to see such a blatant and sacred expression of faith right in the midst of…life. Messy life with its fights, hot dogs, accidents, tv watching, and math homework. This was no place for incense, icons, candles, and holy water.

It’s not that I had never seen holy objects before. We’ve all been to homes that have crosses in the living room, a mezuzah at the front door, a prayer rug rolled up in car, a rosary hung on a mirror. But I had so rarely seen such blatant, public sacred space in a home.

As I’ve gotten older, gone to seminary, and had dialogue with multiple faiths it is still (surprisingly) a rare thing to find a home altar in a Protestant home. I think there’s something placed deep in us to assume a shrine or altar is breaking a big rule. Yet, my experience has been that Protestants are still deeply moved by holy objects and aids.

I’m not talking about the crosses and Psalm passages hung up for all to see. I’m talking about the things tucked away in bedside tables and wrapped lovingly in drawers. Something so special that few people will ever see them.

But is that really a good thing? I can’t think of a better example of sharing your faith than to explain to someone why you wear frankincense oil once a week to work after your life changing trip to Jerusalem.

In other faiths that see home altars as an essential expression of faith, young people use social media to share photos of their altars (they change constantly) with each other and get such encouragement from fellow believers.

I want that for us. I want us to not only proudly show our sacred objects, but see them as an opportunity to show a glimmer of our faith. Our faith. Our human, personal, in this moment faith. Not what someone said it was supposed to be or what you think it’s supposed to be. But what it actually is.

A few friends have bravely agreed to share some of their holy objects in photos (some also providing explanations). I think there’s nothing more intimate and beautiful than sharing something this special so I want to also express my deepest gratitude for this vulnerability.

I would like to make this a series, so if anyone feels inspired to share in the future, it is anonymous and welcome to all (and all faiths).

an icon, prayer candle, and statue of the Old City all from the Holy Land

 

 

 

holy water from the Jordan given by a beloved (and recently deceased) friend after her trip to the Holy Land

 

 

a collection of Christian jewelry

 

“The rosary hangs in my car (used to carry in pocket), the pectoral cross was given to me when I was licensed as a local pastor, the pen was a gift from a parishioner (I will use it at times to write sermons), the Trinity Icon is the Trinity Icon, and a notebook I keep prayer notes in.”

 

Dear Academia: it’s you, not me

Last night while the world was quiet and dark, a still quiet voice inside me spoke very clearly.

As a baby slept next to me and a dog snored loudly next to him, I whispered to myself, “I don’t want to be a professor anymore.”

I’ve been circling around it and playing with the idea for a little while. Inevitably, however, someone either talks me out of it or my decade of brainwashing kicks in. Why have we all convinced ourselves that what we see and hear is incorrect? That the only legitimate option for a PhD is teaching? Everything else is failure?

I’ve had four job opportunities fall apart since I graduated a little over a year ago. Four. One for my progressive beliefs, two for loss of funding, and one for being pregnant.

I’m tired.

It’s not working and I don’t know why I’m not legitimate until the magical unicorn professorship fairy visits my home and grants me my wish. It’s not even my wish anymore, to be honest. It was, and I’m really good at it, but something I loved no longer exists.

This thing I really and truly loved is buried under toxicity, politics, anti-motherhood, hoops, misogyny, racism, budget cuts, and anti-intellectualism. All of it is so unappealing now.

The thing is whenever it’s pointed out, few people disagree with me. But someone leaving or deciding not to enter in the first place triggers something in this community. Leaving is not taking control of my life/career. Looking for other options for my skills are not seen as a healthy and obvious option. Instead, we’re a waste, we just weren’t talented enough, we’re quitters, our topic was too obscure (or too over-saturated), we didn’t network enough, we should volunteer to work for free, blah blah blah…

Though I know the facts are on my side, I feel this way even about myself. Deep down I’m telling myself all the ways that I’m such a loss/failure/waste.

I’m starting a conversation with a few people to figure out what other options really are out there for people like me and I’ll be sharing them in this space. Maybe it will encourage other people to break out of a bad system. I can only try for myself though.

I had/have so many dreams of what I want to do that don’t involve professorship/committee work/frantically trying to publish enough for someone else.

I want to write, I love writing, but not because I have to for my survival. I want to write because I have something to say. I want to learn how to edit and work a podcast. I want to edit and run a site that serves to educate the community. I want to experiment and make mistakes. I’m insanely good at database and records work. I’m a researcher, but I also love group work. I believe in public education on religion. I believe religious dialogue is the solution of so many global problems.

I have skills. I have experience. My two masters degrees and doctorate were not a waste. I have value outside of being “Professor Stephanie Bliese”.

I’m a little bit country, he’s a little bit…into the occult

A few months ago I was visiting a church when a woman dropped something and mumbled under her breath, “ugh…retrograde.”

Recently, a pastor I know mentioned she keeps her strength fighting for social justice by going in for regular Reiki visits to keep evil sprits/energy away.

A past co-worker at a seminary used to tell me about the astrological signs with which he always got along.

I can’t count how many homes of conservative Christians I’ve been welcomed in to, only to discover crystals or Himalayan salt lamps in a corner or on a shelf.

I have had many LDS mention that their loved ones have shown more influence in their spiritual lives after their death more so than while they were alive.

Now that I’m looking for it, it seems to be everywhere–rarely a whole belief system, but more of an added “flavor” to an already established Abrahamic theology.

Apparently this shouldn’t be news to me.

Americans Christians, and the public as a whole, maintain belief systems in what is academically labeled “occult” whether anyone wants to admit it or not. According to a PEW study from 2009:

    25% of the public overall, and 23% of Christians, believe in astrology
  • 49% of the public claim to have had a mystical experience (twice as high–22%–as in a 1963 Gallup survey)
  • In fact, religious and mystical experiences were more common in 2009 among those who were unaffiliated with any particular religion (30%) than they were in the 1960s among the public as whole (22%)
  • 32% of black Protestants believe in the “evil eye”
  • 39% of liberals expressed the belief of yoga as a spiritual practice (compared with 15% of conservatives)
  • 37% of black Protestants, 35% of white Catholics, 31% of the unaffiliated, and 29% of white mainline Protestants saying they have felt in touch with someone who has died
  • Having been in touch with a dead person is more common among women than men (33% vs. 26%)
  • Upwards of six-in-ten adults (65%) express belief in or report having experience with diverse supernatural phenomena

This was all reported about a decade ago with a startling projection of increased numbers from the 1960s on. Which leads me to conclude that these numbers have probably increased by a good number.

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about this. As a missionary kid, I grew up with the people around me having a very deep and devoted spiritual/mystical belief system … surprisingly known and some aspects accepted by the church universal (ancestor veneration, for example). But in the U.S. the numbers seem low in comparison–people whisper or apologize for their encounters while society at large (religious and secular) openly mock these experiences.

I know the Reformation, Enlightenment, the Salem witch trials, colonialism, and a long ingrained hatred of women are to blame for this disdain. But it obviously didn’t make it go away. It just sent it underground or to the fringes, passed around and adopted as popular religion or in addition to more accepted faiths.

Or is that even correct?

Some of these beliefs are very biblical. Mothers and fathers of the faith would feel far more at home with an active spiritual world than with what we live in in the United States.

Where exactly is the line between occult/pagan/witchcraft and a world with thin veils and interactive experiences with the non-physical world? I think one of the problems is that people think this line is strong and in black and white. Or that this is an issue for the uneducated or mentally unstable. The numbers, however, show that this world is real for at least a quarter of people in a church pew. That’s millions of people with no answers or safe places to discuss something very real to them.

To be perfectly honest, I have never experienced anything even close to the mystical or supernatural, but many people I love and trust have and it’s just one question I would like to continue to explore here.

As always, dialogue partners, it is my interactions with you that make my questions and exploring so much more rich. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

You like rap? Ever heard of a guy named Shakespeare?!

For the last week I’ve been sitting with my commitment to make our faith more accessible to our 2 year old as we embrace a temporary home church.

I decided to keep things simple and start with the 10 Commandments, but I noticed that most of the websites and posters for “kid’s 10 commandments” used/maintained language that I felt was inaccessible to 2-4 year olds. If my son has a hard time grasping the use of “thank you” throwing around adultery and idolatry isn’t going to go far.

There was also use of what I personally view as aggressive/violent language like “obey” and “kill” (as a woman, I bristle at someone telling me to obey them and my boys will have their entire lives to be saturated with death and violence. They don’t need to start grappling with murder just yet).

I also found myself wrestling with how to introduce “God”. Countless people have spent centuries contemplating the divine and what it means and humanity’s relationship with it–how are you just supposed to drop to “love God above anything else” on a 2 year old and think that’ll stick juuuuuuuust fine?

So, as sacrilegious as some may find this, I decided to approach the 10 Commandments in a way to plant the seed of the idea to make it more accessible to my little ones.

I am that English teacher trying to make Shakespeare cool by tying it to rap…except I’m even cooler because it’s religion now and I’m not tying it to popular culture at all!

Here is what I have come up with so far with a few caveats–(1) I used the Jewish/Protestant breakdown just because I liked it better for this purpose. (2) I have included some “titles” so you know which ones I’m trying to boil down. And (3) I’d like particular feedback not only on whether I’m introducing God in a good way, but I’ve been playing with “thou shall not steal” as an introduction to consent. (4) I’m waffling between making “adultery” about mommy and daddy keeping their promises to each other or making it about cheating.

OUR 10 COMMANDMENTS FOR KIDS

(1) Love God with all your heart

You have another parent like mommy and/or daddy who loves you very much and we show our love back by being nice to everyone.

(2) Idolatry

No toy, cartoon, movie, book, or friend is more important than loving God and everyone we meet.

(3) Do not take the Lord’s name in vain

Your words matter: no lying, swearing, or using God’s name to show anger/frustration or to hurt someone.

(4) Remember and keep the Sabbath

Naps, bed time, and resting are important and we all need to make sure to have quiet time.

(5) Honor your father and mother

Listen to and love mommy(s) and/or daddy(s)

(6) Thou shall not murder

Don’t hurt yourself or others

(7) Adultery

Don’t cheat: winning or getting what you want is not the most important thing.

-OR-

Parents keep their promises to each other.

(8) Don’t steal: if it’s not yours don’t take it. Don’t touch another person without their permission. No one is allowed to touch you without your permission

(9) Bear false witness

Tell the truth

(10) Coveting

Don’t be jealous of other people’s things. Be happy about all the toys, book, and things that you have.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I look forward to hearing your thoughts, dialogue partners.

If nothing else, I encourage you to think about how you would approach this exercise. As is often the case in these situations, we learn more about ourselves and our outlook when we try to teach than the other way around.

* (photo from “The Story for Little Ones”)

My Pew is a Stained Couch

I belong to a wonderful church that is super welcoming to families and even has paid staff for their nursery so that parents can enjoy church while the littles are having a great time.

I’m never at church though.

Sorry. It’s the truth.

From the distance, to the fact that their service times are during nap time, to the reality that I lose a clump of hair whenever I have to load up my tribe to go anywhere substantial…it just isn’t happening any time soon. One day they’ll be old enough to not make everything a live action Oregon Trail–but that day is not today.

**Sidenote: I know that there are countless other moms that have managed to whip up their brood and make it to church with no problem…I, however, am not made like them.**

Because of where I am in my life at this moment, I have increasingly wanted something to hold me over while I’m home just trying to make it through the day.

I don’t think I’m alone.

I think there is power and kindness to give to mothers by saying, “it’s ok that you can’t make it to church, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still claim a focused portion of your Sunday (or any day that’s best) to teaching/preaching God.”

I believe in the priesthood of all believers and I want parents to reclaim their right to teach, preach, and evangelize…at home.

I believe the greatest (and most difficult) mission field is the home and family. It’s time to encourage faith formation (especially to the very young) outside our church walls.

I’m starting from scratch though. I have found the resources limited (so much that is out there does not align with what I consider healthy, life giving, non-toxic theology), not for the very young, or just plain bad. But that doesn’t mean it’s not out there.

This is a journey and I go into this with heart and mind open. I would love feedback or ideas as I begin to build something for progressive Christian parents to claim for themselves.

Thoughts Bouncing Around My Head:

  1. Should be less than 10-15 minutes and be able to involve both parents and kids younger than 5.
  2. Should it follow liturgy?
  3. Or does just bringing in the basics suffice for these times? 10 Commandments and Sermon on the Mount?
  4. Should definitely align with forward thinking Christian theology.
  5. What are good Christian children’s books for very young children? This is what I have that my two year old has gravitated:

Would love your thoughts, dialogue partners! Let’s encourage the most effective missionaries we have and meet them where they are…knee deep in dirty diapers and swimming in piles of laundry!

Tales of a Mommy Scholar: a Lesson in Closed Doors

I have to come to the realization that no matter how many times I hit a wall, it will surprise and hurt me every time.

Last night I opened an email letting me know that if I didn’t do the early registration for my field’s big annual conference that it would go up another $50. That got my attention and I quickly grabbed my credit card to pay for my ticket.

This is the early, discounted fee just for entrance:

With this “deal”, a plane ticket around Thanksgiving, lodging, and food (much less trying to find childcare and other expenses that other members don’t have to think about) … I’m looking at a price ticket well past $1,000. Weeeeelllll past.

And to add insult to injury, I’m going to be forced to email the chair of a committee I FOUGHT to get on (and have worked my butt off to contribute to even before our first official meeting)…A committee that has leaders in my field. A committee that signed me for a 3-5 year contract. A committee that a colleague put his name on the line to make sure that I got the final slot. A committee that picked me because I was getting job offers…I have to email that chair tomorrow and offer my resignation because I can’t afford to attend.

I can’t afford to attend because I don’t have a school sponsoring me.

I don’t have a school helping to pay my way because I am a mother.

Once again, I feel discarded. I feel yet another sting over the fact that I was fired. I feel so incredibly unwelcome and I feel like a failure.

I remember during my graduate work coming across an relevant article in a prestigious journal, but the author had “independent scholar” written under his name.

I asked my advisor what that meant and if I could still use it. He paused, rolled his eyes, and said: “That means he can’t get a job. Uggggggghhhhh….technically it’s fine, but let’s see if we can find a scholar who’s actually working.”

Let that sink in. His work didn’t matter. The fact that his work was peer reviewed and in a highly respected journal didn’t matter. He didn’t teach therefore he didn’t matter unless out of desperation.

We are inundated with the fact that the majority of scholars are adjunct–that tenure track positions are all but dead. Although adjuncting has been saturated by women and POC for decades, now everyone is in the pool barely making ends meet.

Yet the fact remains that one is not considered a real scholar with anything to contribute unless they have a tenure track job.

AND the essential benefits toward getting those very few remaining jobs that come from going to big conferences like this are not accessible to the people who need it most because the only real way to afford the ticket is to either have money from somewhere else or to have your school provide funds.

Rinse. Repeat the cycle.

So here I am. Again. Another wall, another closed door, another opportunity for me to feel so much less than.

On my best days I believe in the malleability of my degree and my contributions to the field. I truly believe I can still publish, provide new ideas, and push us all forward without having a teaching position. I believe that other options need to be available and validated in order for the field, graduate programs, and scholarship in general to have a viable future.

Unfortunately, I do not seem to be living in my best days this week.

Letters to a searching person

A few months ago the Mormon world became aflutter over the re-release of the book, “Letters to a Young Mormon.” I ordered my copy and it made me totally rethink my faith, how I approach it, and how I share it.

Basically, the author split up major topics of faith (like prayer, salvation, and heaven) and explained his own beliefs about them to his children/teenage self. It wasn’t about what official teaching is (although that’s there), but really about what HE, as an individual, believes and how he got there. It’s really an incredible revelation and something I would genuinely love to read from all of my loved ones to get to know them better.

What an incredible gift to get the answers to–what, exactly, do you think/believe and how did you get there??

That may sound like an easy letter to write, but it’s complex and intricate, emotional and deeply revealing.

I started to really think about this. I mean really spend time mentally writing myself a letter about what I believe and why as a 34 year old mom. This isn’t what is orthodox or technically correct, but where I truly stand after a lifetime of interactions, disappointments, poetry, books, travel, study, etc.

I quickly had to stop, though, because I realized how many assumptions this kind of exercise entails (especially as a Christian). So I had to step waaaaaay back and ask myself some fundamentals. Here’s a list of some questions I’m wrestling with:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

◦ How do you feel about this quote from W.E.B. Du Bois: “If by being a ‘believer in God,’ you mean a belief in a person of vast power who consciously rules the universe for the (human) kind, I answer No; I cannot disprove this assumption, but certainly see no proof to sustain such a belief, neither in History nor my own personal experience.

If on the other hand you mean by ‘God’ a vague Force which, in some incomprehensible way, dominates all life and change, then I answer, Yes, I recognize such a force, and if you wish to call it God, I do not object.”

◦ Is there a supreme being in the universe?

◦ Is this being omnipresent? Omniscient?

◦ Do supernatural beings and forces exist (even if there is a Supreme Being, or not)?

◦ Have you ever had an interaction with something not of this world?

◦ What happens when we die?

◦ Does Karma or eventual justice exist?

◦ Do other gods exist even if there’s a supreme being?

◦ What do you think about pre-destiny? Is some being behind it?

◦ Do individuals (some or all) have supernatural powers (dormant or otherwise)?

◦ How was the world created? Do you care?

◦ Why are you here?

◦ Do people reincarnate?

◦ Is the supreme being interactive with humanity?

◦ Do you believe the supreme being talks to you? Is it obvious or do you feel like it’s a code you need to unlock to hear/see/feel/understand?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I invite you to read “Letters to a Young Mormon” for inspiration.

I invite you to write these letters for yourself. Wrestle with exactly what you believe and why.

I invite you to share what you discover with loved ones. With yourself. With me, if you want a safe sounding board.

I invite us all to take the luxury, and yet necessity, of time to think, question, push, and discover who we are at this moment. This isn’t a binding contract. This isn’t how you will feel in a year, 5 years, 25 years…it is who you are now.

I can’t wait to meet me. I hope you feel the same way about you.

Welcome Back! The academy hates women with young children…

The last time I wrote in this space was November 2016. I think that pretty much sums up why I disappeared for two years.

Unfortunately, things seem darker in the world now and God forgive us for the damage we cause others and this planet because of our idolatry to violence, money, and whiteness.

As for me personally: I got my PhD, I learned I was pregnant the day before I walked across that stage, I left my job because childcare is too expensive, and I had a baby boy.

For better or worse I’m a stay-at-home mom now. Something I NEVER thought I would be.

Here’s why I’m back…

Since I graduated a little over a year ago, I have had three job offers…yet I’m jobless. My job search has been just one of many assaults from my peers with the message that I am not welcome–not because I’m a woman, or progressive, or have little experience, but because I have two very young children. In case you think I’m projecting, my firing from the third job was directly because I was pregnant. They didn’t even try to hide it.

I can’t say I wasn’t warned.

I had no less than 3 female professors approach me during my doctoral work to tell me never to tell anyone I was pregnant or had children “until your youngest is 7” (said one). Running around in my circles had naively persuaded me that those times were over…especially in progressive spaces. Don’t convince yourself that they are different. They’re not.

Even during the writing process I saw no less than three male colleagues put their families aside for “a few months” in order to finish. Yet I was constantly being told that I was being selfish or a bad mother for taking my weekends to write instead of being with my baby. Those three colleagues? All have tenure track jobs. I, on the other hand, have been taken off of one committee, two panels, one “think tank”, and have been fired from a job due to pregnancy/children.

But even if I COULD get a job (even an adjunct position), I have come to the realization that I’ve been sold a lot of smoke and mirrors.

Here’s what you’re going to hear regularly if you’re in academics: schools and departments are shrinking (if not closing all together), tenure track positions no longer really exist, get adjuncting jobs (as much as you can) and MAYBE one of them will hire you in some capacity, your adjunct position (if you can even get one) will pay you about $2,000 for a semester of work (trust me, it’s an INSANE amount of work), to barely have a livable wage (that only pays once the semester is over–try coming up with rent on that schedule) you need to piece together about 10-15 adjunct jobs a school year (most of them in geographical locations very far apart), offer to teach for free, you won’t actually get to teach or write on your topic very much if you get a position, etc.

I’ve been brainwashed into thinking this is not only ok, but my dream fulfilled.

What am I doing this for? Why keep begging a community that doesn’t want me and abuses their workforce to let me in?

That’s why I’m back here.

We’ve been told there’s only one way to succeed and be a scholar…but that one way isn’t really attainable anymore. It’s almost impossible to get, but you are inferior and flawed if you don’t get it.

The problem with brainwashing is that no amount of reality or positive thinking corrects everything (especially in your wider community), but I’m going to try anyway.

I have nothing left to lose.

Here. In this space. I am going to try to create something new and unique to me and my voice. I want to show that PhDs are malleable and valuable outside of the one path. I want to show other academic mothers that they don’t have to stay in a toxic, misogynistic working space. We can still publish, contribute, network, and be valuable members of the academy without that one path.

I hope this works. But I know it’ll be an awesome ride of it doesn’t.

I thank you, my amazing dialogue partners, for helping me create and think and grow.

Welcome and welcome back!