“I Know I’m Unlovable”: Desperation, Dislocation, Despair, and Discourse on the Academic Job Hunt

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Failure, according to the academic canonical narrative, is anything other than a tenure-track professorship. The academic job hunt is fraught with unknowns: a time of fear, hope, and despair. This personal narrative follows the author’s three-year journey from doctoral candidate, to visiting assistant professor, to the unemployment line. Using a layered account and through a Foucauldian lens the author examines the academic success narrative, delving into the emotional bipolarity during the job search, and the use technologies of the self. It concludes with a reexamination of academic discourses and the canonical narrative of academic success as well as an appeal to continue to do good work.