Questions of Motivation
Today was a crampy, yucky day. But I managed to get some stuff done anyway. And some of it even worked (yay!).
A little poem. Okay?
Lately I've been asked this bizarre question, and I don't really understand it because I've mostly gotten it from people with whom I've been discussing the issue of how best to go about doing faculty applications.
Here it is (drumroll, please):
But what ARE your career goals?
Um, I don't really get it. What do you mean, isn't getting a faculty position my most immediate career goal? And isn't that obvious? And isn't that enough to keep me busy for a while (assuming I want, you know, tenure in a few years)?
Am I supposed to say, "I want to win a Nobel Prize, and I won't stop until I do!" ???
What are they looking for when they ask this? Why does it feel like a trick question?
And because of the way someone asked me this question today (an older, male faculty member), it suddenly occurred to me that it is a trick question.
Do they ask this of the guys?
I've gotten this kind of crap in the past, but I never made this connection before. For example, I was shocked to find that even at my (relatively prestigious and competitive) college, there were accusations that the women were only there to get an MRS degree. I mean, AAAAGGGHHHHH!!!!!
So anyway, I don't quite know how to answer this question when they put it to me. For years when people asked what I wanted to do, it was sufficient to say, "I want my own lab." This seemed to go over pretty well at my grad school interviews, and with my thesis committee, and when I interviewed for postdoc positions.
So why now, that I'm looking for faculty positions, do I suddenly feel like I have to defend my right to, you know, pursue a career outside the home? Why do they even get to ask?
Is this the glass ceiling?
Is this the cheese dip? But I've gotta have... meaning. -Consolidated