Or maybe I smell

I described an event a few nights back to my roommate as feeling like I'd attended my own autopsy. Really, the last few days have felt that bumpy.

There's a point, I suppose, after you take a job but before you've left for it where everyone has to give up on you. I suppose I've hit that point, and it's been strange trying to deal with it. A few nights back, I attended a party one of my colleagues was throwing, and throughout the time I was there, I actually found folks I work with moving away from conversations with me. And when conversations did happen, they almost invariably began with something like "So, traitor, have you found an apartment at your new job yet?" As I entered the kitchen - where folks in my discipline invariably gravitate to at any party - I heard someone whisper "Do you think you'll take Curmudgeon's office?" To my credit, I didn't interrupt or immediately think about pranking the person who gets my little slice of poor ventilation. This, though, seems to be the tone of things for my remaining weeks.

I suppose it's a blessing that I've stopped getting asked to faculty meetings, but it's another strange symptom of things. But it's a little odd that people actually get quiet when I round a corner or stick my head in the doorway. It's like I'm being forced to be a short-timer: if I can't do the right thing and lose all interest in things here, interest will be lost for me.

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5 Responses to “Or maybe I smell”
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Notorious Ph.D. said...

Remember me talking long ago (I think this was around the time of the Gumdrop Unicorn controversy) about jobs as covenant marriages? Well, permit me to shift the metaphor a bit: this sounds like trying to negotiate an amicable breakup. You may generally like each other, but so much has been so suddenly severed, and so many topics are off-limits, that all you're left with is talk about the weather (or in your case, the housing market) and awkward silences.

March 23, 2009 at 2:50 AM
ash said...

That sucks and I am sorry to hear it. When I left, it was like a conversation just trailed off. There was no real closure. I was there...and then I wasn't. No matter how ready you are to leave, that's just weird.

But part of the problem is that you are among folks who either want to be there for life (and thus can't fathom why you would be anxious to get out) or who also want to leave, but haven't been able to land another job (who might be somewhat envious). So even if they are happy for you, it's probably still weird.

March 23, 2009 at 6:07 AM
Belle said...

How odd. I can think of various reasons for treatment like that: jealousy, envy, wistfulness, worry - I have a great imagination. I've seen it happen chez nous as well. Wazzup wi'dat?

March 23, 2009 at 9:45 AM
Dr. Curmudgeon said...

To be fair, I think some of it has to be in a sort of survivor's guilt moment with this department, where I'm simply reading more into things sometimes (but only sometimes).

I do find it funny, though, how many conversations begin with some sort of weighted idea of abandonment so that there's no way to not feel a little guilty.

March 23, 2009 at 10:59 AM
amakakeru said...

I'm glad I missed all the awkwardness when I left; I was on family leave that term. Kids are great that way.

I'm with ash too: there's definitely a split between the transients and the, um, lifers there.

March 24, 2009 at 5:43 PM