Colleague, by telephone: You must help me, as I am terrified. I am painted into a corner, it is not easy to move from here and I cannot afford to move soon. I need to make tenure, really need it. Yet conditions are such that one cannot work to it. And I have found I am powerless to change these conditions, or even to make others see a change is the answer, despite the fact that a change would clearly benefit one and all.
Z: All I can say is, I am glad to know I am not the only one with this problem. I thought it was my lack of skill, or some situation unique to me.
Looking back on this long-ago day I remember the terror and I think it all has to do with the earnest Advice. “If you do not do exactly this, you will die!” appears to be what we both heard or knew.
My book on this, if I actually write it, will have to do with the variations on standard strategies. It will also have a different point of departure since most others appear to believe the hardest part of an academic job is research. I keep thinking this is a book for graduate students and new faculty, like so many others, but I wonder whether it might also be for their advisors.
What I am tired of is the state of emergency. When do we sail in clear water, when do we get free of the wreckage, when do we hit our stride.