Monday, November 15, 2010

The difference between moving where one must and where one can

When I was a child my father was in the Air Force. As a result I lived in 4 countries on three continents before I was 7 years old. When I was little moving was something that happened every 1 to 3 years—we went when dad's orders to move came in, and we went where they told us to go; often with not much advance notice. Then my parents split, and the next couple of times I moved it was at my mother's whim when and to where. After I turned 18 I resumed moving every few years, and became accustomed to being the one in control of where I went, when, and for what reason.

It wasn't until my PhD was drawing to a close two years ago that where/when I moved once again became something over which I have little control. Two years ago, knowing that my funding had run out and that I really like the part where I can afford to eat, I begun to apply for every post-doc and teaching position I could find that sounded even sort of interesting, regardless of where it was located. One of those applications resulted in a job offer in Europe, and, as soon as I finished my thesis, off I went.

Now I am once again in the position of applying for every interesting sounding job I hear about. I have chosen not to apply to a couple because of location, but I have also chosen to apply for a couple for which my CV isn't a perfect match because the location is so appealing. In a way I feel almost like I'm a kid again, waiting for dad to get his orders that tell us where we are going, and when. I love moving, but 1.5 years in a large city, even one with lots of trees lining many of the streets (and, most importantly the street upon which I live and upon which my office is located) has convinced me that it would be nice if I could move someplace I would love. Somewhere with mountains, lots of nature/wilderness easily accessible.

Some of the job applications I send in are much like lottery tickets—they might not pick my numbers as the winner, but if I don't enter I haven't got a chance. Others I apply for because I know that my CV is a very good match for what they are seeking, and I feel obligated to apply, despite the location. Which will it be? When will I find out? Life is, as always, an adventure!

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