26 February 2006

conference dodge-ball

so the conference is over, and it all went well--the panel was a success, I got to see friends, I managed all the shopping I had to do, and even fit it into my bag for the trip home (we'll see if it makes the weight limit, but that's another matter). So the conference is of course about various successes--the panel I co-chaired went well, despite my stress about it completely falling apart; Debby and I took a pic holding our new book, which is very exciting, and I met with and met various people who were just great.

and so it was a small small part of my conference, but I did want to mention the peculiarity of having been on the job market every year since 1997: I know half the people at these conferences because they interviewed me and rejected me (or very occasionally I rejected them). this creates the "dodge-and-weave" form of conferencing, where you attempt to assess who is in the coming crowd before plunging in, artfully averting your eyes from anyone who might look familiar and, as in the case of my behaviour last night, hiding behind a large pillar until they pass by.

In effect, I have the upper hand/high ground in these situations. that is, I know from being on the other side that one feels incredibly bad about rejecting people, particularly people you spend a long time with over the course of an on-campus interview. so I know they feel worse than I do, and in fact I have the fabulous combo chip-on-the-shoulder/10-year-high school reunion phenomenon of: yep, look how fabulous I am now, and you rejected me. your loss, heh heh heh. but then I don't want to have to be nice to folks that, frankly, wasted my time, or treated me poorly on the interview, or just in general are related to a moment in my life when I was trying to fit myself into something they wanted, and in the end, they didn't want what I tried so hard to give them. and so I dodge. easier than addressing them directly. ah well. as Sam and I joke: one should ask which schools I haven't interviewed at at some point, rather than which ones I have....

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