what if i fall, what if i don't?

I've had a rough few weeks. I have felt a bit lost in the whole job search process. I lost my perspective. It's tough to maintain perspective in the midst of the whirlwind. Logic seems to have very little place when the stakes are high, at least for me. Logically, I know that the job search is a lot like dating. You think you might like what you see but it's hard to know for sure with the little information you're given. You put yourself out there, hoping they find something in you that makes a good fit. You wait. Sometimes, you hear nothing back at all. Other times, you go through a couple of meetings, interviews, information gathering and then hear nothing. Sometimes you begin to fall in love and then you aren't chosen. It's like the Bachelor series only with bigger egos and Ph.D's. Most of the time, when you aren't chosen it has nothing to do with you, personally or professionally. It's typically about the school and their expectations. It's difficult, though, not to feel rejected, not to wonder, "why didn't they like me?"

I am applying for about 20 positions. I know that's a fairly conservative number but I don't have the energy to apply for 30 or 40 jobs in which I'm not completely interested. I concentrated my efforts on 20 schools and positions that seem, on the surface, to fit the kinds of work I want to do. They range from small liberal arts schools to regional state campuses and a few R1 schools thrown in to see what happens. I would honestly be thrilled at a job offer from any of the schools on my list. However, I am nervous about whether or not the conservative approach was the best one, in this case. Trusting my own instincts about the process is a challenge. Reminding myself that I am just as capable as other candidates and that not being selected for an interview or for a visit does not reflect on me as a teacher or scholar, will get increasingly difficult. Since so much of my research and teaching focuses on technology it's easy for me to understand that that emphasis can have a polarizing effect and may work against me in some cases. I hope it works for me in others. The hardest thing is having no control over the process and just waiting and hoping something happens, the right something.

Clancy's advice made me step back from the whirlwind and try to look at it from a new perspective. I think that while her experience may not be reflective of all candidates' experiences on the market, it does help to learn that most all candidates feel the same way I do right now. I suppose that should be comforting.

I mailed about six applications today; there are 5 or 6 left to work on and then the real waiting begins. Will I or Won't I have any MLA interviews? That is the question.