Procyon (procyonid) wrote,

2016 is over

I don't do a "year in retrospect" post every year, but if there was a year that merited such an entry it was surely this one: without a doubt 2016 will be one of the most memorable years in my life (and probably a lot of people's lives). The year was turbulent, to say the least, filled with highs and lows, successes and failures, hope and despair.

I suppose I'll start with the positive. After two previous years of complete failure on the faculty job search, I finally got my first interview invitation (ultimately interviewing at six different schools in four countries, a tally most people would be envious of). One of those finally did lead to a permanent job offer, which I ultimately accepted: next year will bring job security, numerous new career opportunities and exciting challenges (student advising, teaching, opportunities leadership roles, increased respect and status, new colleagues) and the luxury of thinking long-term about my research plan. I had a lot of really nice trips: five furcons (FC, NFC, BLFC, EF, MFF), a week in Iceland, a week in Colorado, a week in Norway, plus several visits to both California and New Mexico. I finally felt socially engaged in Copenhagen and have made a number of contacts in the furry community across Europe, even as I remain as close to my US-based friends as ever thanks to the instant popularity of Telegram. Neither I nor anyone in my family had any significant health problems or other serious troubles. And despite all the interview time and stress, and despite all my traveling and off-time, I was spectacularly productive at work, belting out five first-author papers.

But needless to say there were difficulties, too. My six interviews came largely courtesy of broadened standards in the locations I decided to apply to, and the entire process was wracked by stress. The North American positions took a month to get back to me after my visit and all said no in the end (well, except Connecticut, who simply never bothered to inform me that I didn't get the job. Jerks.) The two European jobs promised a 1-day turnaround following the interview but instead took a week. In the meantime I spent numerous nights with severe insomnia, wondering whether I had made a catastrophic career error in following the academic path as far as I had, or wondering if there was something personally wrong with me. The post I finally got was far from my ideal and will involve moving to a not-very-interesting location in a medium-sized drab UK city. As I was wrestling with whether or not to take that job, the Brexit vote occurred: devaling my future salary by 15% overnight and casting the economic and scientific future of the UK into uncertainty. I became more animated about the 2016 US election than I have on any other political issue in my life, donating hundreds of dollars to the Democrats, pleading with everyone I knew on every medium that Trump was a menace and for the love of god it was June/July/August already please shut up about the primaries and DO SOMETHING prevent this world-wrecker out of office. And then Trump won anyway, courtesy of the exact fluke scenario I had worried about for months. A whole new chapter of political horror awaits us in 2017 and beyond, all the way from resurgent racism/anti-intellecualism right on up to the suddenly not-so-remote possibility of nuclear annihilation (courtesy of an ignorant hothead in office) or global climate catastrophe in my lifetime.

Tomorrow we turn the page and face a new year - an act that, for better or worse, is only symbolic. There are plenty of signs that 2017 will be a bumpy ride as well. We'll see how it goes, I suppose.
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