Thursday, July 3, 2008

My intuition was correct.

In other words, the meeting of which I've been afeared this past week turned out to be underwhelming, as far as sources of potential terror go. Pretty collegial, actually. I think I've gotten a little less on-edge around Adviser Guy--at least I feel freer to be my normal sarcastic, misanthropic self. He seems to find it amusing. Which of course makes me wonder, is this something he appreciates in everyone, or is this part of the process of Golden Child-ification where I do no wrong, or does he find me more amusing/less threatening because I'm a woman, or all of the above?

Yeah, it's sort of stupid. It's better to be liked by the ones in charge than not, so I guess I should shut up and enjoy the fact that my dark humor's appreciated, and that more generally I seem to have become one of the favorites (typing that makes me feel sort of gross, but I'm not the only one who's noticed it, unfortunately). I'm just left wondering what will happen if/when I piss him off. I have no reason to believe he easily dumps students he finds promising or that he's fickle...

On second thought, actually there's some anecdotal things. He doesn't seem to appreciate the decisions of women students (perhaps men students, too, but the anecdotes in question don't involve men) who end up choosing a more family-centered life, like taking a job at a less prestigious university to be close to loved ones or putting their own career on the backburner for a bit to accommodate a spouse's or whatever.

I don't think I'd necessarily make similar decisions (life being what it is, though, that could change). My current ambitions are pretty much in line with what I imagine his ambitions are for his students, him being a professor at a fancy-pants university--I'd like a job at a research university that has a good name for itself, sufficient resources, all that. I'm not so hot on teaching, I don't think. But then again, I've never taught, so who's to say that I won't end up liking it? Who's to say what I'll want, six years from now?

It's this uncertainty that makes me wary. I feel like I won't become a black sheep as long as my ambitions for me and his ambitions for me continue to match. And there's a good chance they'll continue to do so, all the way through the time I go on the market. But the prospect of my life goals' changing, as scary as such transformation can be on its own, has much more dire consequences if the favor of my adviser depends upon their continuing to look a very particular way.

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Reductionism who in the what now?