With all the angst and whingeing about my current job, I was slipping back into nostalgia, imagining what my life would have been like if I had landed that much sought-after permanent academic position. Just when my wallowing in self-pity reached and all-time nadir, I saw an academic job posted that was a) in my field and b) in my home town.
"WTF??? There must be a catch" I thought, and turned my back on the siren call.
Later, I started thinking "hmm...maybe that's the answer to my current doldrums"
Then, the clincher - I make the phone call to relevant wanky-pants Professor, who carefully avoided answering any questions I asked, but did slip in to conversation that there was someone already doing the role, but for one reason and another they had to advertise.
To translate, this actually means: "You haven't got a hope in hell".
That's ok, because I know the person who has been doing the job, and they definitely deserve to keep it. I wish them all the best and keep my fingers crossed that the Department does the right thing by them and actually gives them their own job back. Sincerely, I do hope that for this one person who has worked so hard to do the academic thing, that they get recognised for the hard work that they do and live happily ever after.
Sadly, I also know that there is a not inconsiderable risk that some stellar international superstar with a ludicrous track record you won't believe may in fact be so despearate themselves for any kind of position that they would be prepared to move to soemwhere they have no interest in being simply for the sake of their career. In which case, the current person who has been doing an EXCELLENT job will be out on their arse, without a backward glace, because there is no way in hell they would have the track-record, seniority etc to match.
When I got off the phone to Professor Wanky-Pants I was actually shaking, sweating and quite pissed off.
I know that this whole advertising a position that someone is already doing is quite common in publicly funded institutions, but what really pisses me off about the whole academic process, is that the person already doing the job could so easily be out on their arse because of the woeful international job market. Through no fault of their own, they will be edged out of a posiiton that has been presumably working for them ok, because someone who is much more senior will be even more desperate.
Yet again, all of this just confirms for me that getting out of academia is a good thing. I am ok. I am earning a living wage and I am off that awfully desperate treadmill. Professor Wanky-Pants has done me a totally unintentional favour and reconfirmed for me that I am, in fact, not missing anything by leaving.