Now why would I do that? Don't I already have the next four years planned out? (Visiting gig at Northwestern this year, three-year super-adjunct position at UIC after that.) And yes, yes I do. And I think the UIC thing is actually likely to be a really good job for me, relieving me of time-consuming administrative duties, letting me teach cool classes, while still hopefully having some time for both writing and baby. The salary is oh, a little more than half what I would get in a tenure-track job, but the teaching load is 2-2, which is a distinct improvement over the 3-3 at Roosevelt.
(For non-academics, this is two classes in the fall and two in the winter; teaching load is a critical component of any academic job, because a heavy load means less time for research/writing/publishing/life/etc. High prestige places (and sciences) tend to have lighter loads -- Kev has a 2-1 load. Lower-prestige places have heavier loads -- one college I interviewed at had a 4-5 load, and they were really pleased that they had just had it lowered from 5-5. I taught 4-4 (plus 2 in the summer) when I was an adjunct at Utah, and I actually did manage to get some writing done that year too, but a) I had no kid, b) I was teaching the same class over and over (freshman comp) which required minimal prep. Anyway -- the gist of this is lower teaching load = great good, worth seriously factoring into the job-seeking process. And tenure-track jobs tend to have lower teaching loads than visiting positions or full-time adjunct jobs. Thus endith the lesson.
So anyway, I think the UIC gig will be good, possibly really good or great. The program offers a Ph.D. in Creative Writing, which should mean relatively advanced students to work with, also good. I get to teach some lit. stuff for the Gen Ed. folks, which is always fun. And of course, it's in Chicago, which is where Kevin has his tenure-track job and we own a condo. So why would I even bother to look at the job list? I'm not planning on going on the market again, at least not anytime soon...
But. But but but. When you get a Ph.D., the carrot that dangles in front of you is that elusive tenure-track job, the kind Kevin actually has, with a light teaching load, lots of research support (i.e., time to write and funding for travel to give readings and attend conferences), the eventual title of actual Professor (as opposed to Visiting Prof, or Instructor, or the very random title I'll have at UIC, Assistant Clinical Professor (it's a long story)). And even though I'm not certain I actually want the tenure-track job (which sometimes comes with a lot of departmental politicking, and time-consuming administrative work, and and and) it's hard not to dream the dream. Maybe a job will open up in Chicago this year. Or maybe a job will open up somewhere else right next to a great job for Kevin. Maybe in the Bay Area, so we can be close to his family, or the East Coast, so we can be close to mine.
It's so tempting, I can't help but go look. Am I nuts? Is the tenure-track dream worth pursuing?