Wednesday, September 21, 2011

On the back burner

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately.

Mostly about my future.

When I finished my M.A. year, I was burnt out. Personal and academic stress wore me out that summer. I earned my B.Ed. to please my parents and because I didn't know what else to do with myself. I taught high school after that because I needed a job and I didn't know what else to do with myself. I was then both burnt out and miserable. Somehow, through a series of coincidences and some incredible luck, I came to apply for the job that I have now. This is my fifth year at this job.

Over the years, I've had a lot of questions about my plans for school and when I would be going back to do my Ph.D. For a long time, I couldn't face the idea of returning to school, but eventually I began to soften as I realized that I miss my intellectual pursuits. When I got this job, I thought to myself, "This is the universe speaking. You are meant to go back to school." Some of my friends and colleagues put forth compelling arguments about the experience of graduate school. It all seems so exciting.

But I can't do it.

I love the idea of pursuing a PhD, but I can't commit to the reality of it.

A PhD gets me nothing but the glory of the intellectual pursuit. In my current job, where I am hired at the Instructor level, I don't need a PhD. If I got one, it would make no difference to my employment situation: no raise, no change in responsibilities. If I wanted to pursue a job with a higher status, I would have to give up what I have now--and what I have now is pretty good. I make more than most adjuncts do, with pension and benefits to boot, and I have a decent amount of job security. I've gotten used to making money, to paying back my student loans, to eating decent food, to owning a house. I also have other things to think about: the possibility of having children, for one; travelling, for another.

I would love to do it some day, for its own sake. In the meantime, I have a life to live.

1 comment:

Castor Rouge said...

But I can still call you Professor Don, right? I really enjoy that.