I have a lot of people to thank. Since I've told friends and family the news, they've said things like, "We're proud of your accomplishments" and "You worked hard for that" but the truth is that there were so many people and so many factors that helped me get the job that I can hardly take credit. Maybe I got the PhD, and maybe I tried my best to be an appealing candidate, but that's not enough to get a job.
First of all, I had friends who stayed friends with me even though I have been glassy-eyed with anxiety for about 6 months (ok probably a year). My husband didn't leave me, even though I brought up these anxieties to him day in and day out for what has seemed like an eternity. The people I worked with got me a temporary job so I didn't starve during all of this, which would've pushed me over the edge most likely. My writing group kept telling me to keep my head up; my religious friends continued to pray for me; my mom and dad remained positive even though all of my options took me far from them. And Tampa gave me a chance, even though I probably wasn't the smartest person they could've hired. I'm really still not clear on why I've been smiled upon in this way. I certainly haven't served in enough soup kitchens or stayed up with enough sick friends to earn the karma for it. I feel indebted. To everyone.
I also owe the people who rejected me. That sounds weird, so let me explain. I applied for 55 positions. I interviewed with 8 schools (which I can now name): Longwood, Corpus Christi, Wofford, Simpson, Kutztown, Edgewood, Ball State, and Tampa. I received offers for campus visits from Longwood, Wofford, Simpson, Kutztown, Edgewood, and Tampa. I accepted 5 of those invitations but only ended up making it to 3 campuses. I got offers from two schools, and accepted one. I am indebted to Wofford, particularly, who rejected me.
What I mean by that is that Wofford called me the day after I returned from San Francisco and asked me to visit on 1/5. I loved everyone there -- still do, really -- and loved South Carolina and decided if they offered me the position, I'd take it without visiting the others. This would have been stupid, but I didn't know that at the time. They chose someone else. I yelled at God. I was pretty angry with him; why show me a great place and give it to another person? Everyone told me things work out for a reason but you couldn't tell me that. I was angry and, naturally, insulted. I'm human.
But their rejection made me visit Edgewood and Tampa, where I met remarkable people. And I ended up taking a job where it's always warm, where the department is a great size, where there are more people near my age and with my interests, where there is more travel money, a larger salary, time off for writing my book, and something they call "relocation assistance." They're helping me move. I'll be working in a building that was a former hotel -- a magnificent building called Plant Hall where all of the offices have giant windows and a fireplace -- and I'll most likely buy a house on or near Davis Island, where, if you take your dog for a walk in the afternoon, you're likely to see dolphins. It's less than an hour from Disney, Andrew's favorite place in the world, which is also the home to a dear childhood friend who has been homesick for her friends for quite some time. And if I'd been offered the SC position, I would've worked every Christmas as part of a wintersession program -- which means when Andrew and I have children, we wouldn't have been able to let them visit their grandparents several states away.
Needless to say, I apologized to God for all the yelling. But really, I think he's used to it.
People are quick to point out the hard parts are just beginning. I have to sell my house in a market where no one has money, and I have to buy a house from far away. Andrew has to find a job, and we have to make all new friends and learn a new city. These things used to frighten me, but not anymore. If we can make it through the job process, we can make it through anything. And anyway, I'm slowly becoming resigned to the fact that someone's looking out for me. Maybe it won't be easy, but it'll be OK.