I’ve been thinking again about how hard it is–has been–for me to fight for myself. Professionally, I mean. Hard for me to toot my own horn. I’ve already written here of my discomfort with “selling myself,” but recently, whether it’s the brain meds or the therapy or the fact that it’s fall again and I have finally started to internalize that I earned that PhD, I’ve gotten strong enough or mad enough or desperate enough that I’m taking action.
I’ve been revising my CV, my coverletter, my teaching statement, etc. I’m acting like I am a professional, not a student or a puppyish apprentice. I’m bragging on myself a bit. And? And it’s kind of fantastic. Kinda like this was fantastic.
And just yesterday, I asked a colleague, a tenured man familiar with the ins and outs of our institution, about the possibility of getting funding (for conferences, etc.). I said that I feel like my insultingly low wages should be offset by some of the other benefits of institutional affiliation. I said that I’ve worked hard for this school, that I’ve brought new and exciting curriculum to it, that I’m an excellent teacher who really helps students learn. I told him I wanted to be nominated for such-and-such teaching award. I said “I deserve better treatment than I’m getting.”
And he agreed. And he gave me information, suggesting possibilities for funding (oy, the bureaucratic hoops!), and said he’d be happy to write me glowing recommendations for jobs or that award I so totally deserve. He even offered to collaborate on some sort of article about the class we’re teaching together.
I wish I could tell you what exactly has changed that I felt okay about it, but I don’t know. Maybe, now that I’m done with the long, solitary slog that is the dissertation, I’ve freed up emotional energy and will to fight again? Granted, asking is just the first step. I still have to do all this fucking work that may or may not pay off. But finally asking, and hearing “yes, you’re right” was positively elating, and has me ready to go out there and kick some ass.
All this to say that yes, it can be done. And it’s worth doing. You can do it. YOO KAN DOO EET.
Have you done it? Tell us how awesome it was.