Today is mine and the J’s two year anniversary. This marriage has lasted longer than either of our previous marriages, so we’re celebrating super hard today! 🙂 And I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive husband/partner if I had created him (or her for that matter, I guess) myself. I am so grateful that he just kind of goes along for the ride with me, lets me uproot him and his life to follow me around the country so I can have the job I want. He’s the most supportive person, in all areas of life, whom I’ve ever been with. While I know he’s lucky to have me, I am definitely as lucky and as grateful to have him.
So, since today is our anniversary, I figure it’s as good as time as any now, since we’re embarking on a new phase of life here (now that I can do so with a little bit more room to breathe), to tell you the news because I overnighted the contract yesterday, but still haven’t told my boss yet (hint, hint)…
I got a new job!! In my Home State! At a research oriented school! With research support! And my own office! With a window! That I’ll never have to share!! Ever! And I will have only the occasional comp/writing class! I get to teach literature like 99% of the time rather than 25% of the time! I get to teach grad classes! I’ll be on a graduate faculty! I’ll get to live like less than 5 miles from campus, in a house! I won’t be stuck in a tiny third floor apartment! I won’t have to cross a bridge twice a day and pay a toll or pay $4.30/gal for 87 grade gas! I’ll have a big library with collections of cool stuff! I won’t have to hire/fire/interview/observe adjuncts and do scheduling and stuff! And I’ll have an administration, who as far as I can tell, doesn’t believe in a “customer service”/”the student is always right” model of education just to keep students happy so they’ll keep paying tuition! I’ll have fewer preps! I’m supposed to get course releases in my second and fifth years to keep my research on track! I don’t even have to petition for it! There’s a gym with, by the end of summer, three pools! And a huge workout facility that for a year costs the same as two months of membership with less stuff where I live now! With a bowling alley in the gym! There’s a giant park in the town with camping and a lake! And bike and running trails! And I’m only an hour from my grandparents!! And I’ll have a livable wage! In an area with a low cost of living!! To put it this way–my new salary? To have the same “lifestyle” in my current place, that I would have in my new place with my new salary? I need to be making (depending on precisely which area around my current job I live) anywhere from $82-106K/ yr. That’s right. My new salary is worth, on average, about $90K where I live now, and I make nowhere near that before taxes, and about 35% of that after taxes. So we have more breathing room! And there’s nowhere near the winter that Home City and Fancy Town have either!! And we’ll get to drive to my family’s for pre-Thanksgiving rather than fly! And I can have Thanksgiving with the g’parents for the first time in like seriously 15-20 years! This is the first time in a really long time that my dad has said he’s proud of me. I got a congratulations for finishing the Ph.D. and for this first job, but he is glowing with pride over this new job. And it has the J’s program of study, too. At all three levels! And he won’t have a two hour commute every day for his last two years of school to finish his degree! And because they have his degree, he won’t have to do a “dual” program! That means he’ll probably finish in 3 years now instead of five!
This is already pretty long, but here’s how it happened.
Remember that teaching award that I didn’t win? (Which I did not deserve to win–Super Fabulous Awesome Colleague most certainly deserved it, but I still wanted to win). Anyway, the morning after, this very much “dream job” ad was posted. Just the right size, just the right teaching, just the right amount of research, perfect location. But I think had I won the award, I wouldn’t have considered applying for the job because I would have been really happy that morning. With some encouragement (after I almost chickened out because I thought “no way am I qualified for this. I look like shit on paper”), I applied on a lark. The day after I sent my materials they said, “we’ll let you know at the end of May if you’ve made the first cut,” in a nutshell. the next day they called for the phone interview. Fast forward a week-I had the phone interview and thought I bombed it. I thought I sounded boring and uncreative and inarticulate. I got stark raving mad drunk that night and was a complete grouch for the next week with a lot of crying. They said, “we’ll let you know in two weeks.” Two weeks came and went. Three weeks came and went. That was the “thing” to which I was referring when I said I had to just give it up and move on with my summer. And most people who knew agreed that after three weeks, I probably would have heard something. I was fairly despondent about it. Then four weeks to the day after my phone interview I get an email saying I made the short list and before they bring me in for the campus interview, they want to make sure if I’m still interested in the job. Holy crap! So that was when I posted about my weekend getting obnoxiously busy because that was a Wednesday; they flew me down last Sunday. Of course there were four hours of delays. I got to the city five hours after I was supposed to have arrived. I still had to finish my lecture (they wanted a lecture for a class in lieu of a job talk) and my teaching prep for the next day. I crashed. Got up at the butt crack of dawn (sun comes up early there, so that means I can get out the door and run outside before 6 am if I so desire) to finish my lecture. I was sure at that point that I either had 2 hours worth of stuff to talk about or 20 minutes. I even had a “filler” back up plan. So a week ago yesterday I had my campus interview. Totally enchanted with the town (I hadn’t ever been to that particular city, but I knew the area on the east and west sides of it). Turns out the woman who picked me up from the airport (who has been amazing) was at the school as an undergrad the same time my dad was there! By the time dinner was over, I felt that I could not have done anything better than I did. One of the best teaching days I’ve ever had in my entire life. I felt really relaxed during the whole interview. They were easy to make conversation with. I did a lot of laughing. And I was even really ballsy and told the dean that while I didn’t wish anything ill against my competition ( it came up that I was the second and final candidate brought in), that I wanted them to offer me the job and if they did, they would not be disappointed and that I was staying put. I said, “I’m a sure thing. You won’t be disappointed.”
So less than 2 hours after I had gotten off the plane to come home, they called and offered me the job, and I accepted gleefully.
Did it break my heart to call Super Fabulous Awesome Colleague and tell him the news that I was leaving? Deeply. One of the worst phone calls I’ve had to make, although I know he’s happy for us. Will I miss the fabulous friends I’ve made where I am now? Painfully so. And is it going to suck to have to tell the rest of them? Most certainly. Will I miss them? Absofuckinglutely! Will I miss where I am now, where I live now, the life that I have now overall? Will that be hard to walk away from? No. It will suck to have to tell my boss, but I’ll get my shit together next week so that by the end of July all my ducks are in a row and ready to go. We are going back this weekend to start getting things put into place and stuff and pack up the apartment, give notices, begin to say our goodbyes. Can I help but to be really super freaking excited about moving home? No freaking way man! We didn’t think we were going to have this opportunity until about 5-10 years down the road, that I was going to have to go back on the market again in the fall to find something in a cheaper place and closer and try to be happy elsewhere or start making our way back. And it happened. It has everything we both want and need. Even the National Guard unit there is *the* unit in the state that does what the J is trained to do. This is a great opportunity for us. We’re so freaking excited!!