Monday, November 5, 2007

random and inconsequential job market observations

1) Is it just me, or are a LOT of the affirmative action forms this year asking candidates to identify themselves by name? So much for anonymity. I wonder if they are tracking who responds and who doesn't, or merely trying to give candidates the impression that they are in hopes of inducing more of them to cooperate.

2) If I'm not out of ink, I'm out of paper. And about to be out of envelopes. And if I'm not out of staples, I'm out of paperclips. And I left the damn binder clips at the office AGAIN. This is not a good game for disorganized people, is it?

3) Is there anything more disheartening than applying, yet again, to the school where you didn't get an interview last year? Maybe it shouldn't be disheartening, given that I have a) a diploma in hand; b) a shiny new article coming out; and c) some actual experience as full-time faculty at the type of institution where I'd like to end up, and therefore can reasonably expect to get interviews that I wouldn't have gotten last year, but still, it always feels like I've already shot myself in the foot before I begin.

4) What's up with schools that have stealth requirements in their applications? Like, the MLA ad asks for letter, vita, recs, and transcripts, but then when you go to their web site, the expanded version of the ad strongly suggests that they also want course syllabi and evaluations; or the ad asks only for a letter and vita, but it also says somewhere in the fine print that "recommendations should demonstrate excellence in teaching and scholarship," and you don't know whether to send your letters of rec or not. Or they ask for a "dossier," and you have to figure out what they mean by "dossier," and three weeks later you get a testy note from a secretary asking where your undergraduate transcripts are.

5) This business of looking at department web sites, by the way, is SO not good for those of us who are easily distractable. (Oh, look, they have a pretty building. Hey, I didn't know Edward Albee was still alive. Ooh, department Christmas party pictures! Cute baby! Huh, I wonder what this "poetry blog" thingy is. [Half an hour later] Uh, was I supposed to be applying for something?)


Susan said...

On #3, just comfort yourself that the people who discarded your application last year because you hadn't finished your degree won't even remember it.

Fretful Porpentine said...

True -- although technically I had finished the degree, I just hadn't graduated yet. (Fall defense, spring graduation, in order not to lose my teaching contract for the second semester.) But it turns out that no one will believe you've finished the degree until you have the paper in your hand anyway, so I shouldn't have bothered scrambling to have everything done by October.

heu mihi said...

#1: Hey! Yeah! Now that you mention it! That's weird.

#2: I don't have a home stapler: I have to take the one out of my office. Guess what I never, ever remember to bring home with me.

#3: I'm applying for one job where I *did* get an interview, and I would *love* the job, and I don't know what to think. So I'm not thinking.

#4: My guess is that there are just some improperly edited ads out there. I did recently email a search chair to find out what they wanted (they asked for "applications," full stop), and received a very helpful and prompt email in reply. So there's that route.

By the way, why does anybody want undergrad transcripts? at this stage?

#5: I'll just say it--looking at department websites is my least favorite part of this process. I feel anxious and distracted enough as it is. Uck.

OK comment now rivaling post in length--

Fretful Porpentine said...

By the way, why does anybody want undergrad transcripts? at this stage?

Dunno, although in my experience, the schools that have asked for them have been either a) public institutions where there may be some sort of one-size-fits-all bureaucratic requirement for state employees; or b) tiny little liberal arts colleges where they may be trying to find out what else you can teach. (Though the second reason is kind of silly, because hell, I took all kinds of classes as an undergrad that I'm certainly not qualified to teach. Intro to Anthropology, anyone?)

And I looove looking at departmental web sites, but for all the wrong reasons...

Bardiac said...

On #1 - the EO/AA forms at most schools go straight to a special office, and that office is really really concerned about legal stuff. The department will never see those forms, I'm pretty sure.

On #3 - If the department is bigger than four people, then the search committee is likely to be different this year than last. And you're looking way more mature as a scholar with PhD in hand, a visiting job, and such. Good work!

On #4 - if you only knew what idiots are involved in writing and placing ads, the confusion wouldn't surprise you at all.

Good luck :)

Fretful Porpentine said...

Thanks for the good wishes, Bardiac (and for clearing up various mysteries -- your posts on what the process looks like from the other side have been really helpful!)

undine said...

I'm seconding what Bardiac said. There's probably a whole new committee, so good luck!

About #4: MLA charges the big bucks to place an ad, so it has to get whittled down to a minimum of what's legally permissible. The notice on the web site is more of a wish list, but I think that whatever's in the MLA/Chronicle ad is all that they can reasonably ask.

Fretful Porpentine said...

Ah, thanks for clearing up yet another mystery, Undine.