... and that news is that I will NOT be FGS's next academic dean.
However, the person they did hire is the fabulous internal candidate, so I'm completely fine with this outcome. I spent some time yesterday and today practicing my facial expressions in the mirror in case they told me that they were hiring the darling of the administration, the one who pushes my buttons, but in the end I didn't have to use those practiced expressions because I'm genuinely happy for my fabulous colleague.
I also experienced a sense of real relief at not getting the job, because for the past few days I'd been dwelling on the parts of the job that I wouldn't want. I'm quite sure I was doing this in large part to protect myself from disappointment, but I think that the sense of relief is real. Yesterday I had another annoying email from the head of the middle school, a woman I really don't like or respect (and neither do the MS faculty), and I thought, "You know, I would give a lot to never have to have a conversation with that administrator again," which suddenly struck me as a good reason not to be in an administrative role and have to go to meetings.
I've also spent the last week making a concerted effort to have fun in my classes, which wasn't really happening in January and February. Partly that's just the annual winter blues; partly, of course, it was that I had applied for this dean position and was imagining a life in which I'd have very little grading, which was super appealing. But intellectually I quite understand that, if I were a dean, the time I earned back from the endless grading would be spent instead on endless meetings.
It was actually a very nice conversation that I had this afternoon with the head and assistant head of the school. And I got to say out loud that, although I'm quite happy that my colleague N. got the dean position, I am getting increasingly restless and bored, that year after year of doing the same thing is just not enough for a goal-oriented person who wants to be working toward something, and that I was sure that I wasn't alone in this and that FGS leaders should perhaps think about ways to offer new challenges to mid-career people so that we don't leave out of sheer frustration. (And then I mentioned a much beloved teacher who did just that a couple of years ago, going to a different school because there would be new challenges there.) And the head of school said that she considered that the two of them now had a job before them of thinking of an interesting challenge for me by the end of the school year. And after the meeting, I said the same thing to my department chair, who noted that the fact that I was clearly emotionally just fine after not getting the job meant to her that my "path" is leading me to "other, no doubt more interesting places."
The question is: Where ARE those more interesting places? The part of me that was relieved this afternoon and that looked around my classroom happily, knowing that this would continue to be my realm, was balanced a bit by another part of me that thought, "Hello, boredom, my old friend."
So here's my plan: I have literally almost nothing planned for this summer, and I'm keeping it that way, because I think a healthy dose of real boredom -- not "I'm bored because there's all this grading to do that I'm trying to avoid" but really, seriously bored because there's nothing on my agenda for weeks at a time -- will help me relax and figure some things out.