Moving on in my reflection of 2010 (part 1 is below), I reviewed the goals I set for myself professionally. Here they were:
1. Apply for tenure. As of August, I will have been a full time tenure track professor for 3 years, which means I'm eligible to apply for tenure. The process is somewhat convoluted and slow-moving, so I don't want to aim to actually get tenure in 2010. Tenure affords me many things: Greater job security, a (slightly) larger salary, opportunities to apply for travel funds, and eligibility to be nominated for a plethora of awards and grants that the college offers faculty.
2. Publish another short story.
So, how'd I do?
#1: Success! Turns out, since I teach at a community college, not a 4 year university, this process is very simple. I had assumed it was going to be a long, complicated business (as it is for those who teach at universities), but I discovered that it really just involved signing some papers, and viola! I now have tenure.
#2: Also a success! If you are interested in that sort of thing, you're welcome to go here and have a read. This story's publication actually has kind of a funny back story.
See, the magazine hosted a dialogue contest that began in late summer and closed in the early fall. It was a unique contest for a literary magazine; for one, the perimeters of the contest were rigid: tell a story using ONLY dialogue, you couldn't even use dialogue tags, like "he said." But for another, the editors notified writers of their rejection on a rolling basis, so if your story submission fell out of their top 5 favorites, they'd let you know you were out, and then they gave you another chance to re-submit.
The first story I submitted was initially a top 5 fav, but after a few weeks, it fell out of favor and I was out. I thought to myself, "No way I can come up with another story along these lines." But then, I did. I re-submitted. And I got what I call a "rave rejection." These are the sorts of rejections I get from literary publications all the time. They go something like this: "Loved your story! Great writing. But...sorry, no." So, imagine the above scenario repeating, I kid you not, 5 times! Yes, I got rejected 5 times from the same contest, and each time, I thought, "No way can I come up with anything like that again." But, then I would.
So, the above story was among the 5 rejected stories. None of my 5 submissions got within the "final five" of the contest; however, the editors liked this particular story so much (but not enough to be within the final five winners) that they asked to publish it in a regular issue of the magazine. And, recently, the magazine notified me that it was selected as one of their "editor picks of the year" for publication in their annual print version of magazine, which comes out in January. So, despite the fact that it wasn't good enough to win me any cash or bragging rights in the contest, it's still a story that got some recognition from the editors, and I appreciated that. As an aside, my mother hated it, and actually called me to ask if there was something wrong with me for writing such a tale.
Can't please everyone, I guess.
Anyhoo, my professional goals for 2010? I think that is an assured "success"!