I am a big Erin Bartram fan. We have been on a panel together. She has written multiple posts here at The Way of Improvement Leads Home. I have learned a lot from her about teaching. Frankly, I can’t think of a person more deserving of a tenure-track teaching job in a college or university history department.
The academic profession needs to deal with her post about leaving academia:
Here is a taste:
It happened during AHA.
I was sitting at home, revising my manuscript introduction and feeling jealous of all of my historian friends at the conference, when I got an email telling me my last (and best) hope for a tenure-track job this year had evaporated.
I’d promised myself that this would be my last year on the market. Now, I’d promised myself that last year, and I’d decided to try again, but this time, I knew it was over.
I closed my laptop and walked out of my office. In that moment, I couldn’t bear to be surrounded by the trappings of a life that had just crumbled around me. The perfect reading lamp, the drawer of fountain pen ink, the dozens of pieces of scratch paper taped the walls, full of ideas to pursue. The hundreds of books surrounding me, collected over nearly a dozen years, seemed like nothing more than kindling in that moment.
I cried, but pretty quickly I picked myself up and started thinking about the future. The circumstances of the job I didn’t get were particularly distressing, so I discussed it with non-academic friends, explaining over and over again that yes, this is the way my field works, and no, it wasn’t surprising or shocking to me, and no, I won’t be able to “come back” later, at least in the way that I’d want to, and yes, this was probably what was always going to happen. And then I started looking forward.
Only now do I realize how messed up my initial reaction was.
I was sad and upset, but I didn’t even start to grieve for several weeks, not because I hadn’t processed it, but because I didn’t feel I had the right to grieve. After all, I knew the odds of getting a tenure-track job were low, and I knew that they were lower still because I didn’t go to an elite program. And after all, wasn’t this ultimately my failure? If I’d been smarter, or published more, or worked harder, or had a better elevator pitch – if my brain had just been better, maybe this wouldn’t have happened. But it had happened, and if I were ultimately to blame for it, what right did I have to grieve?
Read the rest here. Today I grieve with her.