We're beginning to freak out around here. After I left my tenured academic position when Lilly was born, I was fortunate enough to receive a fellowship from an organization for non-fiction writers, which, added on to Leighton's student loan, has been sufficient to sustain us -- till now. We have about three-four months to live off of, and no income in sight. Leighton's still working on his thesis with plans on submitting this spring. In addition, he's applying for jobs like crazy, a process that started last fall when we returned from Europe, but no luck yet.
It's really discouraging and scary, the lack of jobs to apply for and the numerous rejections for positions he's way overqualified for.
One of us HAS to find income, and since my book on feminist porn is still being reviewed by a publisher in Norway, I can't count on any income from that direction either.
So I've begun to look and apply for jobs. First step was figuring out how my background and qualifications can translate into something applicable in a non-academic position.
Talking with Leighton and friends has been helpful in figuring this out. I love to read and learn and then communicate just what that is to others in writing or through talking. And I'm good at processing a lot of material quickly before distilling the main points. Most importantly, I want what I do to matter. I want to read and write about stuff that is important to a lot of people, not just a couple of scholars.
Hence why I'm currently looking for jobs as a policy analyst position within organizations whose goal it is to affect positive change in society. Most recently was one where I'd be working part-time on a contract basis with a new project that will look at Higher Education in Minnesota.
I sent in my application before the weekend and my problem right now, is that I concluded my cover letter by stating I would follow up "next week." Which is now. All the books say you're supposed to say you'll do that, and then do it. But I can't find any specifics on HOW to actually do it. The job ad doesn't have a phone number, just an email address, so I could email. But what do I say? The point of course is to increase the chance of getting a phone call and an interview, but see, this is where I (again) freak out.
Fellow stay-at-home moms and dads of toddlers will relate. The constant foggy feeling of mush brain. Inability to complete sentences. Difficulty in recollecting things, let alone words. If you receive The phone call, you're supposed to sound professional or remove yourself to a space where you can muster the ability to do that, and I'm either constantly surrounded by a toddler who HATES it when I'm on the phone and makes this loudly and obnoxiously clear to whomever I'm on the phone with. Or, should I be so lucky that she's napping, I'm either avoiding picking up the phone or answering calls in a hushed mumbled voice.
There's also the fear of GETTING the job: will I regain sufficient brain capacity to perform to satisfaction?
I get some reassurance from the fact that I seemed and performed more sharply when Leighton and I took turns writing and being with Lilly last year. And nights are so much better now (I mean, for Lilly they're great, now if only I could manage my insomnia).
Now, I have composed a follow-up email of sorts. It's still sitting in my draft folder and I don't know what to do. If you don't follow up when you indicate you will, you lose credibility. But I fret.