January, I discussed the detailed tenure and promotion process most academicians go through to move up the limited career ladder. I was being sly (and somewhat disingenuous) in my discussion as I was going through that very process. On January 31, I submitted my application for Associate Professor with a 46 page essay (which you can read here if you are incredibly bored or are looking for a sleep aid) along with supporting material. After 3 (!!) long months, I learned last Friday that my application was supported and I will start the 2011-2012 year as an Associate Professor.
The first emotion I felt when I opened the letter informing me of the news was not joy, but immense relief. The waiting and waiting for the decision had certainly taken its toll, as I grew frustrated by the lack of news. But relief sooned turned to thoughts of "what now?"
- Should I rest on my laurels? That'd be very easy to do...and I wouldn't be the first.
- Can I be content at the rank I have achieved, knowing the difficult road that lies ahead if I choose to pursue the next level?
- What will it eventually take to reach the pinnacle of any academic career - the rank of Professor?
- What will it take to demonstrate "sustained competence over time," given application to that rank is at least 5 years away?
- I have yet to start a family. Can I maintain the energy and devotion needed to continue growth and prominence in my chosen field, particularly if a child enters the picture?