More than three people have forwarded the same job opportunity at a divinity school to me. Each time I’ve had to assess my qualifications for the job. And each time I come up short.
What publications do I have? What record of performance and productivity can I show? Can I claim “a broad and deep knowledge of the key textual sources of the Byzantine theological traditions”? I suppose I have some expertise in “the study of Byzantine visual and material culture(s) and aesthetics.” And I’ve tried attending to the “interactions and influences between Byzantine thought and culture and other religious traditions, language groups and geographical regions, historically and/or into the present.” But I know I can—and should—do more with this. My list of research projects is short but targets rather difficult topics. (Do I really think I can learn Georgian?) Certainly I have many ideas for interdisciplinary study. I outlined these in a letter to my alma matter and have more ideas in my notes.
I was reflecting on this job earlier today as I biked down to campus this afternoon. I couldn’t help but feel some of the beauty of this not-too-hot summer day is dimmed by my anxieties about finishing my thesis and fining meaningful employment.
Only when I feel truly free can I be truly productive as a writer. All other times I am anxiously fussing over files, paperwork, bills, and schedules. What would it be like to live without anxiety? How do people unburden themselves of these worries?
Can I actually meet these deadlines? Two chapters and a conference proposal? Will I make the sacrifices? What will happen to the other pieces of life that are left undone?