I recently finished reading the new Jim Henson biography (which is excellent), and I was struck by how many projects Henson always had on the go. Once a project was finally coming together (like, finally getting The Muppet Show on the air), he was already planning, or perhaps rather, dreaming the next two or three ideas and started to divide his time and energy accordingly. It’s not that he stopped working on the previous project, but he was always thinking ahead, restless for what was coming next. It wasn’t out of ambition either, but just from a desire, he expressed, to “do good things.”
Anyone who knows me or has read my old blog knows that I have a deep love and admiration for all things Jim Henson. And despite having read just about everything I could get my hands on by him or about him, I hadn’t known that particular fact about the way he worked. And (and keep in mind I am in no way comparing myself to this great, great man) I felt a great sense of relief as I read about this tendencies he had, because it’s the same thing I feel all the time – a sense of restlessness and a constant need to move forward, find the next thing to work on or start redirecting my energies into.
I’d always been told that it was a weakness, that I was always too distracted, that I had trouble finishing what I start, that I did too many things, and none of them particularly well. In Jim Henson, this was a strength and I think it’s a strength for me, too. I just have to recognize it and use it to my advantage. It certainly has been (to a certain extent) for my academic career, allowing me to teach in a field entirely outside of my expertise, work on two book manuscripts simultaneously, edit books, blog, organize conferences, etc, etc, etc. While it could be interpreted as me being “unfocused” if you were to just look at my C.V., it reflects both the reality of how I work best, as well as my efforts to make the best out of a series of less-than-ideal situations.
But it is time for me, I realize to move on in this space; I have less to say about my teaching that I haven’t already said, I’m tired of being taken to task for talking about the labor realities in higher education, but I was struggling to figure out what was next for me in this space? And I’ve finally got it.
I’m going to start blogging about the process of finding an alt-ac or post-ac job, starting with trying to turn my C.V. into a resume and writing a non-academic cover letter, as well as how I’m looking for jobs, applying for them, hopefully interviewing for them, etc. I’m excited to write about the process, to get started on this next project, and to share the journey with you, my readers, who have stuck with me through all of this. I hope it’s useful.
I hope it bears fruit.