I beat myself up a lot about what I should have accomplished, where I should be in my career, how much more I could have done if only x, y, and z (all internal causes: if I could have overcome this or that circumstance or rise to the occasion or simply be better, in all respects, every day). It is the definition of vacuous perfectionism and the solid basis to my robust impostor syndrome. All academics suffer of some form of it (or at least, 99% of the female academics I know, ahem–we all know about the gender imbalances accumulated under a patriarchal [scholarly] system in which mediocre men are supremely confident in their abilities and brilliant women are taught self doubt from a very early age).
Well, it’s time to turn this around. As a slew of good news rolled over me at the end of the year, perhaps it’s time to take stock and admit I’m nowhere near as incompetent as I once thought I was, and while brilliance remains elusive, solid accomplishment does not. In that spirit, here are some of the professional accomplishments I am proud of this year:
- published two articles in two good journals, Medical Humanities and Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, and got a revise and resubmit on a third one (still working on it);
- one of those articles (on orthorexia) got some major press (for me, at least) – I was interviewed and/or quoted in several international newspapers, including The Times (London) and others;
- oh, I was also interviewed on NPR about the passing of Grumpy Cat (wild!) due to a paper on memes I published a couple of years ago;
- presented at 1 international and 2 national conferences; a fourth one I had been accepted at was unfortunately canceled due to a hurricane, but the work was still done;
- got a total of 3 book contracts (edited collections) (ouch, in terms of workload the coming year – fortunately, one is almost done, the other two have just been signed in December);
- got a special issue editing gig for a journal in my field (work is underway);
- initiated and have been working as co-PI for a sizable grant for a big project in my field (will submit in January 2020);
- my first monograph (with Carol Berkenkotter) was finally printed this summer and we just got the first review on it (it’s good!);
- related: one major (major!) figure in my field blurbed said monograph and wrote me separately to say how much she enjoyed it;
- also related: a new dissertation copiously cites and builds on our work in the rhetoric of psychiatry/archival asylum work (proof of relevance!);
- with my team, we won a significant teaching award at our university (article to come!);
- final proofs are close to done for my scientific communication textbook with Kelleen Flaherty (OUP); the first blurb is in and SUPER-enthusiastic (they really loved it!), which made my heart sing;
- I got a new gig as the new blog content editor for a major journal – won’t say which as I’m waiting to sign the final contract, but I’m pretty excited about it.
In non-professional memorable moments, I got to go to Barcelona, Crete, and Hawaii, in addition to my yearly trip to Romania, and I loved all these places SO MUCH. Must return!
There was bad, too, of course (but enough about my personal life). And those book proposals took a lot out of me, especially one, a labor of love, that went through multiple revisions and rejections that spanned almost the entire year, to the point that I was a millisecond away from giving up. Glad I didn’t! Overall, however, I’ll mark 2019 as a solid year of professional accomplishments that set me up with work for at least 2 years to come (oh, I’ve also got some articles in the pipeline just begging to get out, some of which were started/drafted this year as well).
Not bad, 2019, not bad. Onward!