Tomorrow I have a job interview.
I’ve spent hours over the last two weeks putting together the written assignment that was set out in the interview invitation. I’ve thought about things I’d do if I worked in the job. I’ve dug out my smart clothes. I even made a plan to wait around in the city for 2 hours afterwards so that I could go and have dinner with my girlfriend who works at the same university.
Today I cried. I don’t want to go. I am anxious about a new situation and I feel under-prepared. I’m tired. I resent having to drive to the city and back twice this week. I resent that attending the interview is going to take my whole day. I resent that I have to put in all this effort an not have a guaranteed outcome. I resent that if it goes successfully, the prize is job where my anxiety would likely result in me sitting and crying every week when it’s time to go and do the teaching sessions.
People have advised me that that won’t happen, because it’s not the same as my PhD / associated teaching work. But that’s not the problem. I am problematic. In school, in university, in my PhD, in my teaching, in my casual job…I have pre-session-cried far too often simply because I am overwhelmingly anxious about having to attend a specific place at an externally-defined time.
I don’t know how to fix that.
Avoidance has been the typical strategy. I know that it is bad to always avoid things when I have the urge to avoid everything. I know that I need to engage with the world more, even if that’s just to ensure that I continue to get opportunities to engage with the world.
But it is not getting any easier. Take orchestra for an example – even after over 2 months of attending (with no bad outcomes) every week, I was still crying in the car park.
Motivation is important, but anxious doubts can easily creep into that. I want that job. It’s an ideal location (I could fit back into my burgeoning social and love life), it’s “only” 3 days per week but good salary (financial stability for the first time in 2 years AND I could still have time to do a lot of stuff I’m worried I’d miss), it will add a better institution and more ‘respectable’ teaching experience to my CV (and stop the ever-expanding “gap” between “real” jobs), give me real-life interactions with students, give me colleagues to talk to, a decent pension scheme, access to an academic library, and nobody (including me) can think I’m lazy anymore.
But. I’m scared I’ll hate it. I’m struggling to define what I like to do and what I want to achieve. I don’t want to have to move house again already. I’m not ready for another supervisor relationship. And I can’t promise that I can handle showing up at the same time every week without having a fucking breakdown.