MLA when you have tenure is enormously different from MLA without. It’s actually very ego-boosting. I was at the Chicago MLA a decade ago when I was on the job market, and it was not a good experience. Everything was set up to make one feel as unwanted, disposable, poor, and contemptible as possible.
It’s kind of nice to come here in a different capacity. I spent a bunch of time today fielding messages from people who are asking to meet (publishers, graduate students, association people). And I’m not asking anybody for anything at all.
The MLA has chosen to remove itself from organizing the job market, so there aren’t masses of job seekers freaking out over impending interviews. The general environment is very upbeat.