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December 20, 2007

Plan D

I have always said it is a good idea life to have a backup plan - Plan B - in case the primary plan doesn't work out.

In the case of my current career planning, I have expanded my search for alternatives. Plan A remains finding a tenure college or university teaching job. Results to date are modest. I received one invitation for a preliminary interview at the American Historical Association conference in DC in early January. So, I will attend and will take advantage of the trip to do several other career-advancing activities: meet informally with another university, apply for a few other late-posted jobs at the Job Register, pitch my book proposal to publishers. (Two jobs for which I have applied have the potential to disrupt the logic of our weblog naming system - one at Harvard and one at the Shanghai campus of New York University. For better or worse, both are long shots.)

Plan B. I have signed up to do substitute teaching at two local private high schools. I enjoyed teaching bright, highly motivated American high school teachers in China last summer, and I am curious to see whether I would also enjoy teaching more typical high school students. If so, and if one of the schools is hiring full-time teachers for next year, that might be an interesting option for me. Also, in the meantime, I can earn a little extra money.

Plan C. Much of my dissertation research was on education exchanges between the United States and China. I am also an enthusiastic support of the role that such exchanges play in improving U.S. relations with other countries. I recently applied for several university-based administrative jobs in that field, but I realize that I am missing important qualifications. I came up with the idea of volunteering as an intern in a university's International Programs department. The director of IP at Washburn U, where I am teaching, has agreed to let me help and to teach me all aspects of IP administration. I will start in January.

Plan D. I will give A, B, and C another year to come to fruition. My friend Rich tells me that the number one thing I can do at this point to boost my attractiveness for teaching positions is to get a book contract, and I hope to achieve that objective over the next six months. If by early 2009 none of the first three plans are working out, Terry and I will probably move back to China and both teach English.

-- Norty

I won!

No, I didn't find my dream job - yet.

I have been playing xiangqi (Chinese chess) once or twice a week with Yongtao Du, a colleague at Washburn. Yongtao is from China and has been in the the States since he began graduate studies in the 1990s. Although he won the first six or seven games, each one was close, and I knew it was just a matter of time until my turn came. In mid-November, I finally won. Since then, I have lost several more games. We are on semester break now, and I am hoping for a better overall record during spring semester. -- Norty