Monday, December 17, 2018

Torturing Myself With Thoughts of What Might Have Been

I really need to get more capes into my closet. Maybe that will be my New Years resolution this year?

I need a fun and easy to attain one because, in all truth, the last couple of days have been rough.

As many readers may know, I have a PhD in British history. While I was earning said PhD and in the few years immediately following my graduation, I very much wanted to enter academia and be a professor (or at least I thought I did - 8 years of grad school has a way of brainwashing you a bit). The problem was and is that there are almost no jobs opening with any regularity in my particular field and there are literally 300-500 other people with PhDs applying for each opportunity that does come up - and every year another 500ish people graduate and add to that number exponentially. I dedicated myself to the process for a couple of years and had some offers for 1-2 year postdoctoral and visiting professorship jobs (and that’s normal and the way it works for most people in my field – you do a few short term contracts, get more teaching and publishing and researching experience under your belt, live an itinerant lifestyle for a few years as you move all across the country for different jobs, etc) but it was frustrating and demoralizing and I was in my mid-30s and married by that time and wanted some career stability and to do things like afford to travel and buy a house and have a kid.

And then an opportunity for a non-academic job that complemented my skill set, had opportunities for advancement, was close to family and in a place where my husband could also work (getting a work visa for your non-academic spouse so they can work abroad is actually really tricky, meaning you’re often on one income if you are married to a non-resident), that had great compensation that would allow me to have a lot of financial security and freedom, and that seemed challenging but also fun came about. And I went for it. And I loved it and love it still and succeeded at it. And I was happy. I even kept up with academic stuff. I taught part time a little and wrote and published a book and published an article and did 2-3 conference talks each year. But, gradually, I got further and further away from academia and focused more on the new career I had and on growing my family.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret those things for a second. But throwing myself wholeheartedly into them was a bit easier when I looked at the job listings for historians of Britain and the jobs just simply didn’t exist. But over the past few weeks, a couple of jobs in that field have opened up (one of them at the University in my city where I did part-time teaching) and it threw me into a pretty huge crisis of confidence as I tortured myself with thoughts of what could have been if I had just stuck with it, been patient for longer, waited a few years to have Eleanor, etc etc. Ugh. I’m slowly digging myself out of it but it’s been a wild ride. I have to say though, I feel a lot better for just putting that out there and exorcising it from myself.

leggings: ASOS / sweater: Simons / cape: BB Dakota


Closet Fashionista said...

Capes really are the best! So fun and cozy!
And yea, it's always tough when you're trying to find a job and there are soooo many other people applying. I ended up in a pretty random job in the end and I do enjoy it and hope that I can keep it up and not have to find another "real" job, haha.

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Mica said...

First, I love that cape!

Secondly, it is so hard when you look and think about 'could have beens'. I had a chat with the head of our department (boss of my boss) the other day and she was asking about the kind of roles I was aiming for and if I was still thinking my previous plan when we had discussed it before. There are a lot of turning points and decisions you make in a career and neither is right or wrong, the choice is always the best one for that point in time.

Hope that you are having a nice week so far! :)

Away From The Blue Blog

Cee said...

Oh gosh. Life really is full of these kinds of, "What might have been?" moments, isn't it? And yet, somehow, they never get any easier to move through when they do come up. I know exactly where you've been, although my hindsight is of course related to our time in Paris as opposed to my career. I was quite a lot younger when we lived there and much more inexperienced; I wanted to be able to stay after Ian finished school but really didn't properly research how to do that and just, sort of, hoped for the best rather than taking steps to make sure we could stay. I would do things differently now, but I know I was just out of my depth then and unable to see where to begin - plus we owned a property in Canada. Looking back, I often wonder what might have been, but I also know that life would have been much harder and much less comfortable than the one we have now, which I genuinely love... even though it isn't happening in Paris.

awhite said...

First of all, you look so lovely (and badass!) in this cape!

And isn't it just crazy where life takes you- or doesn't take you? You can really get sucked down a rabbit hole wondering what might have been if you did x or y- I have been there, lady! I'm glad you exorcised it a bit- and it's completely natural to look back and wonder if you made the right choice.

Le Stylo Rouge

Lorena said...

Don't go down that road. I too have many "could have beens" at the end there is nothing you can do but wonder. I like to think I always made the best choice with what i had at the time and that if I had to go back i would do the same.

Lydia said...

You never know where your life might take you, and I think you made the best choice you could have at the time! Now you have a house and Eleanor, and all that stability and freedom. Who knows if you'd even be in this location right now for that job if you'd taken the other path earlier. We can second guess ourselves to death, and wish things were different in the past, but that just becomes way of not letting ourselves be happy now.

JennaStevie said...

Looking back and wondering what could of been is such a mindfuck. It's so hard to know whether or not we've made the right decisions or if things would have turned out differently. When I do that a lot it makes me so unhappy in my current situation, which is silly when the current situation is so good! You're right where you need to be & who knows whats down the road for you :)