Speculating to Accumulate

There’s a blot on the horizon of this suburban life the shape of Millie and Phil.  Their arrival is imminent, and they’re here for a week despite being invited for three days.  I’ve been walking around for the last fortnight in a state of advanced dread, with the Darth Vader Theme from Star Wars as my ear-worm.   My defenses are prepped and primed: they include a large bottle of lemon vodka and a plan to simply hide for half an hour if the going gets too rough.

In the meantime, I have overcome a major hurdle.

I hit the Send button on my first ever speculative email asking for a job.   I only have half a job at the moment and even that might very well evaporate altogether in two months.  I would like a job in a narrow field of research and there aren’t many about.

Through the grapevine I heard about a possible opportunity, with a person I briefly met a couple of months ago, and who the Chief Brain knows quite well.  Drop my name, she said, and just write to him.  She was encouraging, pointing out that I have experience and knowledge that should stand me in good stead.

But first I needed to overcome the rising bile I feel at the kind of boastful narcissistic me me me that I believe is implied in such speculative communication.  The first stage was to update my CV, which by now I’m accustomed to doing.

For the next two weeks I sweated.  In my head I drafted and redrafted the email, trying to arrive at a form of words which would stave off the inevitable recipient’s reaction that I was not worthy of polluting their inbox, and which would result in their conclusion that I am an arrogant crackpot weirdo who emails even when there has not been a job advertised.

In the contest for the spot of Worst Case Scenario, it’s a toss-up between being secretly black-balled or openly jeered.  I would simply crumple if I got a snarky response.  I would probably start applying for jobs stacking shelves, and possibly as a prelude sit in the corner of a darkened room for a week rocking gently too and fro.

By the time two weeks had passed, I was hyperventillating at the mere thought of trying to write the email.  K-man raised his voice at me and asked me what I had to lose.

My dignity, my reputation, my chances of being seriously considered for any job ever again?  Apparently, he didn’t see the problem.

I consulted a friend who works in the area, who disclosed that she gets speculative emails all the time and doesn’t think badly of the person for sending them unless they clearly have no relevant experience.  Frankly, she said, I’d think it was weirder if you didn’t send one, given the situation.  For all you know, she pointed out, the Chief Brain has already mentioned it to the recipient and he is expecting an email from you.  He may even be becoming quietly offended that you’re not bothering.

Gah.  Somewhere between the devil and the deep blue sea, I located my courage.  So I did it.

Within 24 hours the big cheese had answered saying sadly there was no job at the end of his rainbow, but he would like to discuss my interesting PhD proposal.  He called it interesting.  We’re meeting in late August or early September.  To discuss the proposal I haven’t written yet.   This does mean I have proceeded to PhD Panic Status Amber.

My first ever speculative email might just, with a bit of luck, have resulted in my finding a supervisor.

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6 Responses to “Speculating to Accumulate”


  1. 1 Jen July 25, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    I’m sorry that a job didn’t pan out from your initial inquiry, but with any luck, this could lead to something else. I’ll keep my fingers and toes crossed for you.

  2. 2 Jenn @ Juggling Life July 26, 2011 at 4:11 am

    Hopefully this is a case of one door closing and a window opening.

  3. 3 Mrs. G. July 26, 2011 at 4:33 am

    Congrats on leaping over a major hurdle! I can relate to your internal mind f@#king.

  4. 4 clay ball July 27, 2011 at 2:17 am

    Congratulations! And, who knows, this may lead to a job in the future.

    Good luck with that blot on the horizon, too.

  5. 5 Modern Country Style July 29, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Well done for sending the email! I’ve been trying to get up the guts to phone companies about my blog….and, though there are some disheartening moments, the times when people seem to be glad I’ve phoned makes me feel as high as a kite!!

    I hope the meeting about your yet-to-be-written phd proposal goes swimmingly!

    Sarahx

  6. 6 wireless speakers November 28, 2013 at 4:38 am

    It’s enormous that you are getting thoughts from this piece of writing as well as from our argument made at this
    place.


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