Wildcranberries in Chicago is doing 16 things including…

Survive in the academia for a while longer (whilst making it a more glamorous place)

6 cheers


Wildcranberries has written 12 entries about this goal

How to deceive myself for the greater good of humanity

(well, erm, mostly for my own good.)

I’ve been putting off and putting off asking Big Important Professor here if I can stay for another year. Because I was ashamed about not producing anything last autumn, and felt I’d need to have at least an article manuscript to show him so he wouldn’t think I’ve just been wasting my time here. My Todoist had “contact him” as a highest priority for February, and I’ve been rescheduling that twice already. But one of my nice female professor friends said – when I found the courage to express why the heck I hadn’t asked Big Important Professor yet – that knowing how busy he is, he’ll just be glad if he doesn’t need to comment on a paper and that I should simply contact him right away.

So, I meanly tricked myself today. “Just outline a few bullet points for the email, Wildcranberries,” I said, wiley as a coyote, “you mustn’t actually send the email today but sleep on it some more.” So I did that non-writing of the email, and actually noted to my delight that I did do quite a few things last autumn although felt like I’d done nothing: workshop-attending, auditing a class, being in a reading group, giving a talk and getting to know some nice good people. So I could honestly say that it’s now time for writing and that I’d love to get a chance to do that for another year. And, behold, in the non-writing, the email wrote itself, and all I needed to do was to click ‘send’. I love it when I outsmart my neuroses self.

I am cunning as a fleet fox. Or a complete rube. Probably both.

Oh yes, and just to remind myself:

Three ‘sorry but no thanks’ replies from grant-giving institutions in the last two weeks. ‘Tis the season to be disappointed.

However, this is a business of six to ten refusals to one yes. I only need one or two yes’s a year. And I’ve always gotten them in the past. And I like this new research proposal. My ex-supervisor, now research group leader seemed to like it a lot more than the previous one.

So, there is hope. I need to just get these new applications out, and then publishpublishpublish. My CV can’t afford another year without new journal articles. I need to find a way of working that lets me enjoy this, now that I’m finally out of the work slump that stole the whole last autumn.

Dang it!

I birthed – with the usual birth pains, both external and internal – a completely new research proposal that’s more well-defined, shapelier, prettier and shinier than the previous “interesting and innovative” but “over-ambitious” and somewhat rambling one. I calculated budgets according to the new somewhat incomprehensible guidelines that have caused much tearing of hair and scattering of ashes in Bohemia. Negotiated with the site of research. Spent 22 hours at the library the last night before the deadline. Submitted. Then resubmitted six days later when the science academy had fouled up the electronic applications themselves. Got ready to do the same again for the next two applications due this month. I’ve stayed off 43T and everything. I’ve been a good little academic in many ways.

But, I’m also sabotaging my applications. I have a huge psychological block about asking people for letters of reference, even people who have done it before. So, instead of asking in good time, I keep not doing it. I just only got an email sent I should have sent ten days ago, and this is really unforgivably late. I really need to work on getting over this. I hate to be a nuisance, and to be in relationships where I need to ask people for things. These are busy and stressed people. But it can’t be helped. I need to ask. So I need to learn to do this with less fuss and mental resistance.

Next Big Step: finally asking Big Important Sponsor here to write me a letter of reference (next application, not the one with the DL Friday, gah.) Eugh.

Temptation part 2

And now, my Sunday professor has just emailed me thirty pages of jobs I could apply for, with a promise she’ll send more on Friday when the next edition of the job newsletter (which I can’t access at the moment) comes out. I’m torn. Of course, in addition to being able to do research to my heart’s content, I’d also like a job at Yale or someplace. Damn.

I think I’ll go home, do some laundry and think about all this a bit.


I wrote to my boss at the research group back in Bohemia about my wish to stay here and possibly apply for jobs, and she said the project could ‘probably’ promise me a grant for the next academic year for staying here a second year as a postdoc. Which would mean that conveniently enough, I wouldn’t have to worry about applying for jobs right now – I could do it or not do it next year, when I hopefully would have a few more articles published. The gamble here is that if I’d become distinguished enough rather soon, I could be hired straight as an associate professor instead of an assistant professor. And I guess associates have more fun or something. Also, apparently Bohemia’s worried about brain drain and at least some people there think I should go back.

Yeah. All I need is actually doing some more of that pesky excellent research now. Probably the postdoc would be my best shot at freedom and a wonderful life right now… I’d still have 30 years of teaching after that. :P


People seem to think I should be out on the job market (at least I’ve been told so by three different full professors within the last four days).

I feel rushed, and not ready (application deadlines in a week or two at best, and I don’t have references, nor previous experience in applying for jobs in this job market.) I’m going to have to think about this seriously today. Would I like to live in Canada? In San Francisco? New York?

Everything really is wide open, and it’s frankly pretty scary as well as liberating.

Hey-ho, another postdoc grant application

I suppose it is a month since I did the last one; I suppose I should be grateful I had a month off this business. What I’m angry at myself for: That I didn’t use at least fifteen hours in the meantime for rewriting the research proposal after I got those extended comments from the anonymous referees last time the application didn’t get funded. I want to stay for another year. I feel I’m only just starting my adult academic life, and I think this is the place I need to be in order to do the best possible work I can do.

So, a promise to myself: for the next month, four hours a week spent on bettering the research proposal. The rest for actually doing the research, and for getting things published.

I have mapped out my territory

I have conquered – I now have my own locker at the library where I can leave books overnight. It’s mine; a home base, a trunk of secrets, a repository, a treasure-mine of excellence. I belong. This is my world now.

From wikipedia:

“Known for its rigorous devotion to academic scholarship and intellectual life, the University of Chicago is sometimes jokingly referred to as the school ‘where fun comes to die.’”

We’ll see about that. :D

Oh darn

stupid health insurance plan waiver. I was somewhat slower in organizing this than I should, and now it’s imperative I get it fast, really fast. The words ‘terminate J-1 status’ and ‘leave the country immediately’ were included in the email from the Office of International Affairs. I have ample insurance from Bohemia and have had it all the time, that’s not the problem – it’s that I cannot show proof of this directly to the OIA but must get a certain large US insurance company to send OIA the waiver. Gah.

Wildcranberries has gotten 6 cheers on this goal.


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