Grrrr. I feel academically isolated and in a hopeless situation.
Why am I academically isolated? My contract ran out at the college I taught at last year and it was not renewed. Not a surprise there - I don't have a terminal degree. I didn't take a job elsewhere because I still need to finish my dissertation and I love living in this town where my husband makes enough to support us. We live very comfortably in our own house with nearly everything we need in walking distance. We are also virtually equidistant between our families. This means the quality of life is very good. So, it just didn't make sense to take another visiting position. So, I am working on my dissertation from a university that is on the other coast. It may as well be in Timbuktu. I can't have regular meetings with my advisor. Access to researchers to try to get something collaborative going is challenging. If I want to launch a new research project, I will have to do it online because I have zero access to lab space unless my alma mater and former employer grows some new generosity streak. With some finagling and sweet talking (begging) maybe they would work something out with me.
Why do I feel hopeless? In a nutshell, I have a great teaching CV. I taught at two excellent small liberal arts colleges while still ABD - something that virtually no one does which makes me special. My student evaluations range from average to outstanding depending on the class. But, I have a virtually non-existent research CV. I have given talks and poster presentations, involved students in my research - even got three of them into conferences to present our collaborative work, but I don't have a publication yet. Without that, I won't be competitive in academia.
My strategy of contacting people I'd like to work with hasn't really panned out.
One, who is on my committee and who is well established in my field (a student of the founder of my field), doesn't have time for me outside of reading my dissertation when it's completed. She offered to read and comment on a complete manuscript of my MA research but then when I emailed it to her she wrote back and said that she is about to take over as one of the editors of a journal (the one I would like to publish my research in) and doesn't have time.
The second - who is also in my field, is less well known, and is a student of my advisor, wants to rewrite my MA research and submit it to a less prestigious journal. This seemed like a good idea until I realized that it's possible he may be credited with the idea. A second author on my paper could be perceived as having done 50% of the work when really he did 5% (or less!) So, I'm just skeptical of turning my original idea and work over to someone else who could then get substantially more credit than he deserves. My work really is original; it's not another example of derivative work with a 'new' twist. Maybe I will end up going with this option in order to just get it published. I'm just not there yet because I don't think I've tried hard enough to turn it over to someone else. I have left this door open though, and have asked to be brought in on a project he's working on if I go that route.
My third strategy is to find someone outside of my immediate field who is more mainstream and also recognizable to collaborate with on a line of research that is different from my MA and PhD work. I really need to branch out. I have some ideas for other research - some of which requires equipment I don't have (!) - and could start it up on my own in isolation, but I really need to work with more established people to make sure I don't take wrong turns, screw up the design, or fail in the publication process. I would like someone to walk me through the whole publication process and serve as an advisor in that capacity. My own advisor has not done that. She writes textbooks and is near retirement. Nevertheless, when I asked her to provide comments on my manuscript before I send it out to a journal, she wrote back and said that she is focusing on her textbook and starting new collaborative research with other people and just doesn't have the time. She could have said that she's been as helpful as she can be already and that I should ask someone within my field who has more expertise on the topic to provide comments. I would have understood that but instead I got the blow-off from my advisor who then sent me into a tizzy of thinking she will not be helpful when it comes to my dissertation. So... I had a meeting with my real mentor who pointed out it's in my PhD granting institution's best interests to make sure I get the degree. She told me her dissertation (at the same place) was a total mess and she still passed, so there's always hope. I walked away feeling better about that. I will get those three little letters, but without publications I won't be able to do anything with them.
A while back I wrote to a recognizable researcher in a field that's mine but more mainstream, i.e. social psych rather than EP. After several email exchanges clarifying what our roles in this collaboration would be I ferreted out that he wants me to conceive the idea, conduct the research, analyze it, and write it up. Then he would re-write it and we could publish it together. I could bounce ideas off of him but his role would be minimal. Yet, he'd be second author. Again, I'd do all of the important work, but he'd get substantially more credit than he's earned.
This morning my wonderful husband, who's been with me all along bouncing ideas and troubleshooting and enforcing breaks that I'd otherwise not take, listened to my latest rant and offered that it sounds like this guy "wants to wave his dick over it & slap his name on it."
So now what do I do?
Do I turn over my ideas to someone else who may get me published? Do I start up a new project in which I do all the hard work and hope the guy works with me throughout so I don't screw it up and is still around to get it published in the end? Can I do this at the same time I am working on my dissertation? Do I sya thanks but no thanks to these two guys and look for someone else who is willing to do more of the work? Or is this the best I can hope for? Is this normal in academia?