It is not a plight reserved only for Public Historians, though I was attempted to make that statement in the title. Most of us ambitious come to this point, at the intersection of rejection, anticipation and triumph, where so much is happening so very quickly that you are missing all the action while you are busy waiting for your life to start.
For this Public Historian/Medievalist, confident in her own abilities yet no stranger to rejection, I find myself poised on the edge of such a moment.
I graduated from the Public History program at Western in October. Technically the program finished in August, but I was able to prolong my internship at L'Anse aux Meadows into October. Now, like many trained professionals I want a job in the field I am trained for, though my main criteria for employment is that it is challenging and that I enjoy it.
When we met for graduation in October not one of us from the graduating class yet had a job. Not surprising. Nor is it surprising that some of us have found work in the field, some of us have found other kinds of work, some of us are still looking and some are now doing more school.
This week I am expecting to hear back from three jobs. One I interviewed for in November. They said the decision would take them a few weeks. Ha! Fair enough, as long as you judge weeks in 'government time.' One I interviewed for last week seems really interesting and would also be in my field. One is Blockbuster, where I have worked before. And I do love movies, so I would be happy there, but it rather pales in comparison.
I have also applied to PhD programs. Like employment, the waiting is what kills you as they leave you in a state of limbo. I have had one rejection letter so far, which is not all that disheartening, because that is wont to happen. But it rather adds to the sense of sitting around and waiting for your life to start.
A sensation that is mitigated by the many triumphs I have had this year. My article 'Putting the Vikings on the Canadian Map' was published in the special project Mapping Medievalism at the Canadian Frontier due to the tireless efforts of Dr. Kathryn Brush of the Visual Arts Department at the University of Western Ontario. One of my life goals of seeing my name in print for something I wrote is accomplished. I am also going to be delivering a version of the paper in a lecture for the Society for the Public Understanding of the Middle Ages panel at the 2011 International Congress of Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo Michigan. Look for me, 8:30 am Sunday morning. It is an international forum for my work, so that I can start trying to build a reputation.
As I say, my life is at a crossroads, and many things that may happen this week are going to start pointing me down different paths. It is a place most people are going to end up on their road. I just hope to be strong enough to be able to wait for the rejections that will point me to my eventual triumphs.