Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Translations, Part II

It's been a while since I've done a job market post. The news is mostly good, but unbloggable. So, in lieu of actual information, have some pointless snark.

The MLA or phone interview:

"Tell us about your dissertation."

I don't remember which one you are, and I can't look it up because my daughter used the cover letters to line the birdcage.

"What attracts you to Podunk Land-Grant University?"

Are you fleeing a scandal, or are you just very fond of mud flats?

"Oh, I think mud flats are fascinating!"

I want a job, dammit. I don't care where.

"What are your greatest weaknesses as a teacher and as a scholar?"

Please eviscerate yourself for the search committee's amusement.

"I'm a perfectionist."

I'm a bullshitter.

"Here at Malcolm X College, we are very interested in diversity. How would you support this important value of ours?"

Do you freak out around black people?

"Here at Lars Oleson and Olaf Larson College of Minnesota, we are very interested in diversity. How would you support this important value of ours?"

Please don't be white. If you have to be white, please don't be Lutheran.

"I think diversity comes in many forms. You can have geographic diversity, socioeconomic diversity, diversity of interests and experiences. At a college in Minnesota, to take a hypothetical example, a Southern person might be very diverse..."

I am a heterosexual white person. I cannot help you. But I do know how to make red velvet cake!

"How do you see yourself fitting in with the mission and values of our college?"

Do you accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior?

"How would you teach an Intro to the Humanities lecture course, covering art, music, literature, and theater from 800 BCE to the present, incorporating multicultural perspectives, to a group of 50 to 75 remedial students who don't want to be there?"

Are YOU Jesus Christ and our personal savior?

"With a population like that, my philosophy is that you meet the students where they are, and take them where they need to be."

I'd show a lot of movies.

"Do you think all English majors should be required to take a Shakespeare class?"

The other committee members and I are on opposite sides of a bitter dispute about this. Whatever you say, it will offend at least one of us.

"What do you like to do for fun?"

Are you a weirdo?

"I do a bit of creative writing."

I write fanfiction. About my dissertation texts.

"Have you got any questions for us?"

You MUST MUST MUST ask a question! Otherwise, you will never find the Holy Grail! But it must be a safe question. Oh, and you don't get to find out which questions the safe ones are until after you're hired, but don't let that stop you.

"Tell me about your students."

I am boring, but at least I won't embarrass you in public.

"You can expect to hear from us by the second week in January."

You will never hear from us again.


Sisyphus said...

heh heh.

Fretful Porpentine said...

Glad you found it amusing, Sisyphus. I swear, this whole profession is surreal beyond words.

Bardiac said...

I have no clue what to make of the diversity question. I think I'd answer by talking about Peace Corps experiences and such. But it seems to want a group identity sort of answer, doesn't it. Ugh.

Good luck :)

Fretful Porpentine said...

I suspect that the diversity question means very different things at different institutions. But yeah, I'm never sure what you're supposed to say, other than, "Sure, I'm in favor of it."

Renaissance Girl said...

funny. now i'm dying for you to write fanfiction. maybe a novelization of _titus andronicus_?

moria said...

Way to go, FP. On the snark, but also on whatever the good news is about!

Fretful Porpentine said...

Renaissance Girl -- I think someone braver than I am would have to write that novelization (though Titus from Lavinia's perspective would be one hell of an interesting novel).

Neophyte -- Thanks! And good luck to you.

heu mihi said...

Ugh. I have a phone interview in 74 minutes, and now I'm all psyched out. Ugh! I hate phone interviews!!

Fretful Porpentine said...

Oh dear, I think it might be too late to wish you good luck ... but good luck, anyway. And sorry for psyching you out!

Dr. Virago said...

Please don't be white. If you have to be white, please don't be Lutheran.

Oh, this made me laugh mightily!