fersakyn: (sad kitty)
[personal profile] fersakyn

My last entry was more than a year ago, kind of on the eve of relocating to Taiwan and starting my first "big-girl" job (i.e., first full-time position; I've worked part-time gigs since I was legal to work).

It's not even that I didn't have anything to say. I think somehow I just felt too disconnected from many things (ha! no, really???) to write in my blog.

So, highlights: I've lost around 10 lbs with the relocation. Some of that was the initial jetlag + acclimitization to the HORRID humidity, but then I got used to the portions of food in Taiwan -- which are HALF the size of the portions in the U.S. Indeed, a friend visited me, and was constantly like, "Wait. That's it???" when we went out to eat in restaurants. I had to keep doubling food orders for the visit. :)

I'm slowly working on how to teach American literature to non-native speakers of English who have no real idea of American history or culture (seriously, watching Gossip Girl doesn't count; in fact, it's quite detrimental). I'm still working on my own research and academic writing -- yay, I was able to secure two grants from the major grant-funding institution in Taiwan! Go me!

I briefly dated (disastrously!) a coworker. Geez, what a schmuck! Total jerk. He said we were "dating" and even had the gall to call me his girlfriend while never calling me, texting me, or even emailing me. I never saw him socially unless I practically forced him to go out, and his excuses were all, "But I don't want my mummy to hear me talking to you on the phone!" or "I'm sorry but I have a lot of grading to do this week" etc. Seriously, what is up with the universe that such a horrible person has such a gorgeous face? Yes, I admittedly was shallow, and paid dearly for it. In my own defense, I held out for six weeks of this treatment not only because of his pretty face but because I thought we had enough commonalities (both PhDs, both academics, both assistant profs, both fluent in English) that a relationship seemed a no-brainer. Obviously not.

Other than that disaster, I've made friends with a part-time teacher in my dept. and I reconnected with a friend who coincidentally also returned to living in Taiwan around the same time that I relocated. We had met initially YEARS ago in a Chinese language program and had kept sporadically in touch. However, that's not much of a social life. I'm friendly with the dept. secretaries, but I can't really be friends with them -- the whole hierarchy of employment precludes it. And other than THAT GUY, everyone else in the dept. is either married with kids, a priest, or has settled into singlehood (a few decades older than I) <-- yes, bad parallel construction. I know, I know...

Now, I am tentatively applying to jobs in the U.S. this year. One of my colleagues fed me this line about "protecting the interests of the dept" when he turned down my request for a letter of rec. I find this reasoning highly suspect since he's not chair of the dept, and therefore it's not his job to "protect" the dept. Whatever.

Some of the impetus to find different employment stems from the increasing insanity of my current chair of dept. She's totally driving me crazy! She keeps writing these grants to fund different sub-programs in the dept, but then kind of arbitrarily puts some teachers in charge (including me). All this would be fine, BUT THEN she has consistently, a few months into working out and applying the new program, intervened, insisting that we so luckily-chosen teachers are not following the guidelines that we must follow. WTF? Did she start out with telling us what these guidelines are? Oh hell no, she tells us when we've already had time to try to figure out what we should do and have things in place already. I'm one of the teachers under TWO of these grants that SHE wrote, and she's now done this to me several times. Oh, btw, here's another person to add to the roster, no matter that you've already divided up the workload. Oh, btw, here are some more admin details you need to fulfill. Oh, btw, there are DEADLINES you have to meet.

This on top of the university's worrying trend towards increased religiousity. It's freaking me out, quite frankly. In college-level meetings that are mandatory for full-time faculty, we now have prayers given by priests as part-and-parcel of the time we gave up for the meetings. And these meetings are not about issues that need consensus or voting or any sort of action on the part of the teachers. No. We get to sit there and be lectured on the Catholic mission of the university. Seriously??? When I initially started, these meetings were actually functional; we had to vote on issues relating to employment benefits, retirement packages, policies on student conduct, etc. This shift has happened within the last YEAR. It's SCARY. No slow build-up, just BANG.

I want to leave.

I know that I was lucky to land a full-time position my first year out with my PhD, but I'm not very settled here, and the trends in my dept and the university scare me. However, the economy has not gotten better in the last two years, and trying to get a job in the U.S. is pretty chancy right now. Sigh.
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