Wednesday, August 12, 2009

If only I had a giant, gummy-armed robot to signal these things for me

The last week has been tough. There's obviously a lot going on with my personal life. There's also a lot going on in my work life.

Individually, those two things would be manageable. Heck, if the two were entirely separate, I could probably handle both at once. But it's the feedback between the two that's killing me.

I'm going on the job market this year, and as I've already stated elsewhere, this is a make-or-break year for me. I refuse to spend another year of my life here with no clear benefit on the other end. The goober makes the stakes even higher, because...well...I would rather not be unemployed in Southeast Michigan. So I've been trying to maximize the time I have left, getting as much accomplished as I possibly can.

But the goober is now preventing me from getting very much done. I spend a significant part of my morning sick as a dog, and a significant part of the afternoon wishing for a nap. That leaves approximately 3-1/2 hours of productive work time a day--not enough to cap off one paper, write a second, draft a winning grant application, and revise my job market materials.

It's a Catch-22. I need to work hard to get a job for the goober, but the goober won't let me work hard.

And then there's the fact that I HATE uncertainty--hate it to the point that I might call it a core part of my personality. I'm the type of person who prints out reams of information about my destination before taking a trip. I'm also the new girl, cowering in the corner because it's her first time registering for classes, or taking an adult swim class, or eating in this particular cafeteria (who dishes my food? where do I pay? where do I put my tray when I'm done? ACK!)

My level of uncertainty in a job market year is already nerve-vibratingly high. I have no idea how my job market process will go. Will it be easy? Painful? Where I will be living in a year? Will Ross have a job there too? But the goober adds a whole new level of uncertainty. When will I start to show? Will I be able to get a suit that fits me at six months? Will being pregnant affect my chances of getting a job? Will anyone be able to look beyond a growing belly to see me as a researcher? What if the goober comes early? Or has health problems? Will I even be able to do flyouts in Jan and Feb? What if I end up on bedrest? Will they let me fly at 8 months pregnant? If I can do flyouts, what am I going to wear? (The business mu-mu may be my best option yet...)

The rational part of my brain assures me that all of this worrying is a natural part of the hormonal changes I'm going through right now, and that while those are all valid concerns, they are not something I can control, and so it's better to focus on the things I can control, like my grant application (which would free me from any job market responsibilities at all) and my job market paper (which is the thing that really matters right now).

But the irrational (nauseous) part keeps screaming DANGER WILL ROBINSON!!! DANGER!!!! and demanding saltines, pickles, and peaches.

Makes it rather difficult to ignore...


Althea said...

So, I met this bad-ass postdoc (seriously bad-ass, she got offered, like, all the fellowships the year I was applying for jobs), and she is, in fact, so bad-ass that she did all this while pregnant. I believe she had the kid on graduation day.

Anyway, the point of this is to relay two pieces of advice she gave me. One is to put yourself on the daycare waiting list as soon as you know where you're going, and the second is to buy plenty of maternity pants, because if you choose to breastfeed, you will remain kinda rotund. She said eight months later, the only pants that fit her were still her maternity pants, and that she wish she had bought more.

So, muumuu away.

Althea said...

Not that this woman is pregnant, but her pics might be helpful for the business muumuu type outfitting.