A casual conversation with a senior colleague in the hall a week and a half ago has got me turned inside out. He is a relatively new full professor (which means he has not yet gone into hibernation like our older fulls) and he asked when I would be coming up for promotion. I told him that I was thinking about asking to go forward next year (which would mean, after the year+ process, I might be promoted in Sept. 2013). He asked about my current projects and suggested a somewhat different strategy than I have been pursuing -- including starting the process to come up for full in a few weeks, when the senior members of the department will meet to vote on such things.
I was very resistant, feeling that it would all be a bit safer in another year, once I had a book contract firmly in hand -- especially since there is no time pressure for this promotion, unlike coming up for tenure. He made the argument that I could do it now and be making full professor money with full professor privileges for doing the same work I'm doing now. Hmmm...
So, on top of other angst in my life, I threw "what to do with my career" into the mix. I actually pulled out my c.v. on Thursday and spent a long time tweaking the white space and thinking about the work represented there. Then I annotated it, printed it off, and stuck it in the box of my colleague. I challenged him to give me an honest assessment of what I look like on paper. After all, if people like him aren't eager to push my case forward, there is no case. I cannot be my own advocate.
Well, he thought it/I looked solid as is and would be "outstanding" if the "revise and resubmit" I already have from American Quarterly turned into an acceptance, something that could theoretically happen between now and the middle of summer when my materials would be sent out to external reviewers. So now he is taking my c.v. to my other senior colleagues in the discipline. But he is a persuasive guy with five times as much energy as any of the others. I can't really kid myself, if he tells them he wants to put me forward, the others will most likely say yes.
It is just now sinking in for me that the email I sent tonight, giving him the okay to put my c.v. in front of the others, is pretty much equivalent to me doing the formal ask to go forward... In other words, I think I just asked to be promoted -- after having not really thought much about it (or a particular time frame for it) until just this past fall. I've just been plugging away at this and that (which somehow added up to 16 conference presentations since 2004!), publishing things when the right venue appeared, and continuing to work in a very unsystematic way on a sprawling second book. Could that really lead to a promotion? Considering the agony of tenure/assistant professor promotion it is really hard to believe...
Size Matters - The Tweaking Continues
3 months ago