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Thursday, February 16, 2006
Lies, Damn* Lies and Statistics
At least once a day (and sometimes more often than that) someone asks me, "So, have you heard about any jobs yet?" or "How did your interviews go?" I am, of course, dying to tell them about my job, about how we'll be moving to New Town, and about how excited we are. But I can't tell them anything -- we live in a small town, and since T hasn't told his employers that we are leaving yet, we don't want the word to get around. So we lie. All the time.

Last Saturday was particularly difficult. We were at a meeting of our supper club, and the majority of the members are in the same profession as T is in and know all of the same people he does. Since we're all good friends (not close friends, but we do socialize a fair bit), we know quite a lot about each other's lives. Everyone asked me about the dissertation and the job search; they knew I'd been on interviews, but we'd told them that the interviews were just "practice" and that I wasn't seriously interested in any of the jobs because of the locations. I literally just made lies up as they peppered me with questions about the academic job search, telling them that we wouldn't hear about any of the jobs until late April. Later that evening, T let it slip that we'd been gone a few weekends ago, and naturally our friends asked where we went. It was an incredibly awkward silence as T and I glanced at each other, wondering what to tell them. We could, of course, have told them we went to New Town -- I mean, just because you travel to New Town doesn't mean you're going to move there! -- but we were stupid and said we'd gone to Metropolitan Area for a few days, which for various reasons didn't make any sense at all (and one of our friends called us on it).

Yesterday my neighbor called to ask me if I'd heard anything about the job search. Today my other neighbor called to ask the same thing. Our daycare provider asked me this morning. I keep telling everyone I won't know anything until the spring. It's getting difficult to lie all the time, and it's stressing me out a little. I also know it's stressing T out -- I think it is contributing to his funk of late -- and it's doubly hard for him because he's involved in a lot of long-term planning at work these days, planning he knows he'll never see come to fruition. I'm not complaining about having this short-term inconvenience -- it's just that I'm an open, honest person and I don't like feeling so sneaky all the time, and I really don't like lying to people I care about.

So, there are the lies. And now back to the statistics I'm finishing compiling for Chapter Four, my shortest chapter. As per my updates on my last post, I decided to postpone Chapter Three revisions until Chapter Four was finished; my topic is such that the statistics aren't too complicated because there isn't much available, so the chapter should be completed by tomorrow. Chapter Four has existed in pieces for several months, but now I'm finally putting them all together and adding a few new twists. It will feel good to put Chapters 1-5 in one document to see what this whole dissertation looks like so far!

*I should note that the title of this post was hard to type, since I don't ever use the "D" word. In fact, I don't ever swear. I've tried inserting an apt curse word into my vocabulary at particuarly opportune moments, but it always sounds stupid coming out of my mouth so I just don't do it. My lack of swearing is also attributable to the fact that, in second grade, a boy in my class and I made a promise to my elementary school teacher that we would never, ever swear. I don't know why we made that promise, but we did. So, I don't swear. The other boy who made the promise with me? He's a priest! And I'm not kidding!
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 2/16/2006 01:34:00 PM  
3 Words of Wisdom:
  • At 6:31 PM, Blogger ScienceWoman said…

    Not to ask the obvious, but...Why are you and your husband waiting to tell people about the impending move? Is there something going on at T's work that makes keeping the charade worthwhile? (Maybe you've told us, but I've forgotten).

  • At 6:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I hear ya on the lying and the awkwardness of long-term planning. I'm leaving for grad school in a few months, my workmates know nothing. I'll surely announce that I'll be leaving, but when? Too early and I risk being let go off early since I'll be gone anyways. Too late and I don't give them enough time to train someone and get that person up to speed.

    It's a balancing act I'm not sure how to win. In the meanwhile, I lie.

  • At 2:00 PM, Blogger Prof. Me said…

    SW: Yes, it's a situation with T's current employers. If we tell them too early, they could let him go early (why keep him on if he's leaving this summer?). We'll probably tell his employers in April.

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