Finally my promotion came through after being rejected three times during the last 5 years. It is a little bit ironic that my promotion was declined when I was most productive, ambitious, and dedicated. Now I am very laid-back and relaxed, and definitely not performing any better now than I was one, three, or five years ago. I always thought that I was victimized by the politics, and felt bitter over each of the rejections. This time I can’t help wondering why I was approved for promotion, even thought I am still the same but only older. I dawned on me that I might have benefitted from politics this time. It seems that everything gets its compensations, and in the end, it all evens up.
I don’t feel very excited about this belated promotion. But still it is the highest rank one can achieve in an academic setting. It was the hope of being promoted that had kept me in line over the years - publishing papers, writing grants, offering new courses et al. But now what? That is it? Am I done? Some of my younger colleagues congratulated me on my promotion, and in the meantime expressed anxiety about their own tenure and promotion. I was obliged to accept their congratulations, but at the same time I envied their youth, their eagerness, their mild anxiety, and their competitive spirit to get ahead and move forward in their career paths.
For the most part of my life, I have been mostly motivated by extrinsic factors, such as money, prestige, and promotion, and have worked hard to move up the hierarchy – from assistant to associate professor, and then from associate to full professor. Now I am at a loss and don’t know where to go. I know I can have an easy and comfortable life from now on, but that is not the life I want to live. I want to open myself to new quests and conquests; I want to acquire a fresh pair of eyes to see things I have never seen before, and a new voice to say things I have been afraid to say in the past; I want to discover a new path that was previously obscured and a new calling that come from the deepest part of my heart.
I am ready to enter another phase of my life and embark on a new journey of self-discovery. From now on, I will spend more time on what I really want to do, not what I have to do.