This One Goes to 11

As I’ve mentioned around here before, I’m in the midst of a promotion review, and am in the anxious waiting phase: everything I can do is done, things are taking place behind the scenes, and I’m trying not to think about it. I was having a conversation with a couple of friends last night, and one asked, “are you nervous?” And I immediately said no. Oh, no. Well, not really. Not very. Maybe a little. Honestly, I’m not sure. I don’t think so.

I’m also in the middle of scoring a bunch of applications for a Thing in My Field. We have a five-point scoring scale. This will shortly become relevant.

So I go home after that conversation last night, and go to bed a little too late, and then wake up at 4 am — literally, 4 am — with my heart pounding, having launched myself out of a most disturbing dream:

I was sitting in some faculty meeting in an enormous 70s-style science auditorium, with the seats with the curved wooden backs and extremely raked seating. There’s no one sitting to either side of me for several seats, and no one in the row behind me. Until a full professor whom I like a lot but haven’t had much contact with lately (but who came up in conversation in a whole other context a few days ago) sat down in the row behind me, several seats to my right. And said:

“Hello, Kathleen. You know we’ve been discussing your case.”

At which I thought, hey, that’s great, I forgot she’d be involved, she’ll be supportive of me, awesome! But she leaned slightly toward me and added:

“You know anything two or lower is not a passing score.

I was too stunned to respond — and couldn’t have, anyhow, as a disembodied voice somewhere to the left of me immediately chimed in:

“For her, anything ten or lower is not a passing score!”

And then I woke up, heart pounding. Thinking, well, okay, I guess I am a little nervous about it after all.

I had a hard time going back to sleep afterward, perhaps needless to say. The vast majority of the review thus far has been extremely positive, but there’s one smallish bit of it that was, well, not. And my assumption was that the disembodied speaker to my left was a representative of that not, determined to ensure that there was no room on the scale for me to pass this review.

But a conversation I had with someone this morning leads me to believe that the disembodied voice (which came from slightly behind me, as I was facing right when it spoke on my left) may have actually been me. My unconscious, at least. Not being afraid I wouldn’t pass the review so much as not being satisfied with merely passing, needing somehow to blow the top off of the scale, to make that last little holdout bit of this process see my awesomeness, too. That I won’t be happy unless, as dooce might say, I am named the valedictorian of promotion reviews.

There are only a few weeks left. I really don’t know how it’s all going to turn out, but I’ll know soon enough. In the meantime, I’m going back to scoring those applications, and to believing I’m not nervous. And to finding a way to be happy with passing, if I do, wherever on the scale I may fall.

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