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Today I went to a 3-hour workshop on how to go about starting an academic career: where to find job listings, what they’re looking for on CVs and interviews in this field, etc. (In case it hasn’t been clear, my intentions after getting my PhD are to set up as a research and teaching professor of linguistics and Germanic languages at a college in New England. How’s that for a career in a nutshell.)

It was immensely informative. Everyone knows the basic CV and interview tips, but discussing all the things I’ve been wondering about industry-specific detail was reassuring.Also scary as hell, because looking for a job is soooo much effort and so many applications and interviews, when in the end, all you’re really looking for is one single (permanent) position. Unless you’re one of my professors, who, forty years ago, applied for a job and got it. He’s the one we shake our fists at when we get frustrated. Except that he’s so sweet, you really can’t even grudge him his good fortune.

In the first 15 minutes, a term came up: networking. Networking is the most over-discussed, over-worked term, that whenever it comes up I want to hide in my office and read obscure languages until it passes. And considering how much I whine when I have to translate things with insufficient spelling reform, that’s saying something.

Except. Networking per se sucks. If I go into a conference with the intent to network, I get annoyed by the idea of forced social interaction. But meeting people with whom you have a lot in common and similar life experiences, who are working within a similar framework as you but on different projects? Discussing both shop and non-shop topics? Kind of fun. Kind of what a lot of people enjoy spending their life doing. Networking sucks, but having honest conversations with other academics is pretty much a cocktail party. (Cocktails optional. Coffee not optional.) At least, it is if you’re a woman who doesn’t give a damn about posturing and one-up-manship. Down with networking. Up with meeting interesting people. 

Even so, if you mention networking to me, there will be a pavlovian response, and you probably won’t enjoy it.

Also! I made a friend. Who works in my department, but on a different floor. It turns out I don’t actually hate people.

Well, not all people.

Definitely don't hate my husband, for example.

I definitely don’t hate my husband, for example.

UPDATE: My 288th post! It’s doubly gross! Ew.