One of the frustrating things, I discovered, about being an assistant professor is abbreviating one's profession. I don't really want to write down that I am an ass professor (I'm not that self-deprecating!). And asst professor doesn't adequately distinguish between being an assistant and an associate professor. So for the last 6 1/2 years, I've not been able to abbreviate my job.
However, as of about 45 minutes ago, I can now write assoc professor (with tenure). Yes, I've finally received the official notice that I have been promoted to associate professor with tenure as of July 1. I'm a Big Ass now.
This has been a hellish process. I have not been able to blog about it as I would have liked for fear of being dooced. But the nice thing about tenure is that they can't fire me now unless I skip my office hours or sleep with a student. Unless, I'm a man. But that's a whole other story.
I fully realize that the tenure process is rough on everyone. But no one who knows my situation would deny me when I say I've had it rougher than most. Let me let you in on a few secrets. My miscarriages have run about lockstep with most of the really bad things that have happened at work here. A false correlation? Maybe. But I have yet to have the pleasure of saying, well, my job has problems, but at least my family is growing. (Or vice verse, but truly the former is more important).
I will hopefully reveal a bit of my anger over this tenure process with a story: Over the Christmas holidays when we went to Omaha for a wedding, we had to fly through Chicago. As we landed in Chicago, we hit some turbulence, and my morbid mind immediately thought "We're all going to die." And then I followed up with a scenario in which the Charlotte Observer profiled all the local residents who died in the crash. In this scene, they are interviewing my chair who says "Yes, she was in the middle of the tenure process. It's very sad. We've decided to award her tenure posthumously." A millisecond later, I imagined my bony, charred arms rising from the grave to give a two bird salute to this man.
To say that none of my good friends or family would be surprised to see a whirligig of birds being flipped from my raised and rotating arms would be an understatement. Indeed, my favorite response when people ask me about my future plans at work is to say "I really want to apply environmental psychology to virtual communities. I see myself really making new inroads into the theory of online behavior. Actually, I envision a lot of bird flipping."
But enough of the negative. I can only bitch about this so long. I have tenure. I am an associate professor. I'm going to go home and drink champagne. Finally.