Four of them, to be exact. But this is a new blog for me, and it’s weird to see the archives all empty and to have no blog friends. Most of all, it’s weird to not share this blog with all my friends and family. But why did I start a new blog, when I already have one, you may ask? Anonymity. I am relatively open on my old blogs, and I do not hide who I am. I share pictures and details and I could never deny that that was me. But I’m getting to the point in my life where I’m starting to build a professional life, and I don’t want to be dooced out of a job, ever.
I’m getting to the point where I can’t be honest about everything that I want to be honest about and not worry that somehow it will come back to hurt me when a future prospective employer googles my name and discovers my history of bulimia, depression, the various difficulties I’ve had with school, or my liberal opinions on feminism and working motherhood. So I’ve decided it’s time to go anonymous. This leads me to a post I intend to write soon, on how I failed my doctoral qualifying examination and how I’m dealing with it. I wanted to write about this on my blog, the one I already have, but it occured to me that if I do, for all history any future department head could easily find out this rather unappealing discovery about my graduate school experiences. One part of me thinks, “Well, fuck them, if they can read what I plan to write and hold it against me, I don’t want to work for them anyhow,” and the other part of me thinks “There aren’t many department heads in academia I would want to work for, but if I want to be a professor for my own personal reasons, I’m going to have to continue to pretend I fit in and want what the other professors want.”
Which also leads me to a new link on my blogroll: Bitch, PhD. I just came across the site and haven’t read much of it yet, but just from the title I know I’ll love it. Like the author of the blog, I am a very strongly minded feminist in academia. I have a lot of interest and concern about what it’s like to be a mother in academia – there have been many studies that have shown that having babies before achieving tenure drastically reduces your chance of achieving tenure and your career trajectory in general. Tenure, mind you, doesn’t usually arrive until around the age of 35, so waiting until then to even start trying for children is a bit…ridiculous.
Which brings me to the question: why an anonymous blog? Well, because, like all academic types, I am paranoid. I am certain that everyone out there is as disorganized and lazy as I am, and I know that my own geographic discontent and frequent doubt as to whether I really want to be doing this are pretty common as well. But, as someone else once said, “I am busy trying to be the person my department and I have agreed to pretend I really am,” so I want a space to try to figure it out (geographic discontent means leaving your therapist behind) without having to worry about adding “indiscreet and self-sabotaging” to “lazy and disorganized” as self-descriptors.
That’s pretty similar to why I’m doing this, minus the comments on geographic discontent (I love NYC!). The more I learn about academia, the more I realize that appearances mean a LOT in the wonderful campus world. And the appearance that a successful professor must have, more often than not, is of the ideal worker: so excited and interested in her research as to not even dare think of using her time for anything else. I want to be a professor; I love research and teaching. But that’s not all I am; I am not the ideal academic worker. I am a family first gal, and if I’m going to write about that honestly, it may as well not be openly too, or I’ll be shooting myself in the foot.
So, anonymous it is. All names have been changed. I really do live in NYC, but I figure it’s such an incredibly huge area with so many schools and universities that I can still be pretty much anyone. I’ve decided not to hide my age either (23 at the time of this post), because I think that it’s relevant in many of my discussions regarding careers and baby fever. Also I don’t think it gives away anything, because 23 is a common age for someone in her first year of graduate school. My cats will be referred to as Fluffy and Feisty, and my husband, I think, as Husband. And me, I’ll be referred to as me. When I have kids, they’ll get pseudonyms too. But this way, I can be totally open and honest and I can develop relationships with other bloggers in the blogosphere, and no in my family will come across it and get hurt, nor will I have a problem when someone googles me and there’s over a hundred posts just waiting to tell them all the intricate details of my personal and professional life.