My tennis career took a break, right after I was taking those lessons to bring the elements of my game together into a consistent whole. All I needed was a dependable serve and some practice in playing for points with someone of my own level. As most soon-to-be-parents for the first time, I thought I'd be able to go right back to all aspects of my life postpartum. Maybe not the next day after, but surely within two months, no? Well, I was no Kim Clijsters, and I lived in Edmonton, where the window for playing tennis extends for all of five months, if we're lucky (and, yes, I can and will blame Edmonton for its weather). Long story short, here we are in 2013, and I'm discovering that while my tennis shots have improved during the pause, I still got no whole thing I can call a game.
How does that relate to my academic life? We've talked before on Hook and Eye about how parenthood makes one more focused during work hours (paying for child care sure gives you perspective), so I've been quite good at getting publications. I love teaching, and my department shows its generosity in giving me varied teaching assignments, while my evaluations show I'm doing a great job at it. I value academic community and strive to make it come about in various ways, so that ticks the service box, too. However, I still feel like something vital absents itself in a way that makes the totality of these elements add up to less than an academic career. I know my case stands hardly as an exception.
Now that I've gotten to the point of identifying the issue, I'm going to try to understand it, in order to remedy it. There's probably not cut-and-dried answer to it, so am looking for my own answer to it, for my own version of the dependable serve or the ace. I'm tired of hearing "it's not you, it's the job market," especially since that consolation voids any individual agency. So: I'm on a mission of finding my game, and I'm open to its taking me to unexpected places. I'll keep you posted.
Et tu? Aimée and Melissa have already confessed to running metaphors for their writing, so here's an invitation for you, reader: do you have a (sports) metaphor that (even partly) characterizes your work or career? How do athletic endeavours (yoga, pilates, pick-up basketball, hockey, softball, soccer, etc.) make you understand yourself and your idiosyncrasies better? I'm dying to know and learn from your stories.