Monday, December 17, 2012

don't worry: i still remember .. and i understand completely.

less than half of december remains. i guess it means the end of the year is truly upon us .. and for many of you, the season of job applications is partially over [1].

of course, the pessimist in me would point out the many deadlines yet to come .. and how there is really no rest for temporarily-hired persons in maths.

what a life!
after grading batches and batches of final exams,
doling out grades for the course,
answering upset student emails [2],
maybe a free afternoon to spend revisiting an idea,
getting back to co-authors ..
.. after that, it then becomes time to finish another 30-50 job applications [3]!

so to those of you on the market, this is to say: i'm sorry. yes, it's not my fault, so it's not really an apology .. but i know your pain, have felt it, and you know how i feel about it too.

i remember how it feels to worry so much about the future that you cannot even concentrate on what really matters to a mathematician ..

.. that matter, being mathematics, the freedom of calm and contemplation ..

.. so maybe this is my way of dealing with a mathematical version of survivor guilt. at any rate, i'm saying sorry in the sense of "i'm sorry and for what it's worth, i wish you my condolences for your loss" ..

.. especially to those of you whom i know well, and you my peers too, and know that there is very little difference between you and me (apart from a choice of specialisation in our field).
i have a small temptation to visit san diego for that very same dreaded jmm, but not for my own end. (i have a job and i don't need another one.)

rather, after the day is done, i'd divert you to that happy brewery in escondido, buy many rounds for you (and some for myself), and end at the beach where we'd stare down the moon and sun.

it would be a fine evening;
it's the least i could do.
i guess i have my own (small) dilemmas. my own time as a postdoc is waning .. which is rather tautological to say: it's always been waning with time.

soon, this postdoc will end and i'll have to grow up, become a professor ..

[1] if my memory serves, then tenure-track deadlines are generally before the new year. as for why, it's (probably) because of the charliefoxtrot known as the joint meetings, which are always in january and where the pre-interviewing begins for such jobs.

[2] i don't think this is restricted to the united states. despite the finnish national character of sisu, some colleagues of mine have noted the same from their students .. though maybe not in email form.

[3] for those non-mathmo's out there, yes: 30-50 sounds ridiculous, until one realises that a lot of american universities use mathjοbs, which effectively forms a standard template. i've also heard it common to use an automated script for cover letters, which changes the mailing address and "To the ______ committee at ______ University of ______ .."

1 comment:

mmailliw said...

Ironically I'll be there myself, although NOT applying for math jobs this time around. I still have that same stress you describe, though... for entirely different reasons!