(Okay they are not all bastards. Just the institution itself, on a kind of meta-level. Long story. But. Awful.)
So it came down to a point where the funding for my current post was running out, and the best option offered to me for staying was: can you please write a new bid, with all that entails, and then talk Dr X into putting his name on it? In return for which the best-case scenario is that Dr X would get promoted, and I'd do 90% of the work and get another three years of repeatedly banging my head off walls before facing the exact same employment situation again. Or maybe I'd get pregnant again and they'd try to get rid of me sooner!
Sorry. Still bitter.
Anyway, that really did not sound too tempting to me. And working elsewhere... well, there weren't many jobs, and there were even fewer jobs I'd be a good fit for, and I got as far as interviewing on campus for one of them (which I'd have loved oh so much but, alas, was not to be). And there was this advert everyone was telling me to apply for which would have been a great fit in lots of ways, but then turned out to be: the deal is you come and work for us for 5 years, and at the end of that we might keep you on, but you'll have to be bringing in a lot of research income and covering your salary entirely while doing all the teaching we load on junior staff, and we aren't sure whether your field will still be in fashion then so we aren't going to commit to anything. So, another five years before, potentially, facing the exact same employment situation again.
There are many many things I will miss about academia. I worked so hard for so long, because I truly loved it: the research, the teaching, the colleagues, the students, the hours, even the culture (sometimes). I didn't want to be one of those female academics who had a baby and then left. And now I am, I suppose, and in large part it's because working 70-hour weeks is not something I want to do any more. I want a job where I can be ambitious and make a difference in normal office hours.
Plus there are so many ways I got so ground down by that job, enough that it's still difficult to go into because... just... ugh it was awful. (Did I ever mention the time someone else got a raise for work I was doing? THAT WAS FUN.)
ANYWAY. The happy news is that I now work (as of September, they're not paying me yet) somewhere totally different. And oh, it feels so, so good. Like a huge crushing weight has been lifted off me. Like I can breathe again.