Friday, February 18, 2011

Sander from San Francisco Gets Sour.

Sander will be
waiting by the phone.
So I'm on the big campus interview. Oh, it's fun. I actually feel like things are going well. We're marching across a lovely campus. I'm meeting Fishfly majors, the past Fishfly director, and the Fishfly faculty take me out for a rip roaring evening of French food and giant carafes of wine.

Day 2 comes around and I've got 4 Dean meetings in a row. Oh, I don't know if they are all actually Deans or not. One's a VP of something. Someone's a provost. Some money guy. And a woman who I hear will be president of the college one day.

Fine. It's an hour with each.

Stay with me. 4 hours in a row, 3 different buildings. I finish the first meeting a little late because Dean #1 needs to finish a story about his campus visit at this college, 37 years ago. It's 5 minutes past the hour when I get out of there, and I'm 9 minutes late by the time I huff and puff into Dean #2's office.

The assistant fixes me with a look and says, "Dean Two has a busy schedule. Maybe you should have the job search committee reschedule at a time that is more convenient for YOU."

Yeah, sure. But Dean #2 hears me in the antechamber and comes out and welcomes me in.

"So," Dean #2 says. "Why don't you run down your bio for me?"

And I start talking about where I'm currently teaching, a monolithic community college in Dead End Metropolis, and he says, "No, no. Tell me where you were born."

Geez. How much detail does he want. I mention I was born in Kansas and he says, "I knew a girl from Kansas, long before my academic days. She wore wonderful hats and had a vermillion coat that her mother bought her in St. Louis that cost 40 dollars, and that's when 40 dollars was worth something. Not like today. Now I can't get my oil changed for less than a hundred."

Anyway, we do bio like that for 45 minutes and he jumps in after every minor detail I offer with a story - none as good as the vermillion coat thing.

I'm late for the Dean #3 meeting as well, but am welcomed in.

The room is boiling. I was in a sauna once in Finland that was a cool spring breeze compared to this office. I can feel sweat beads popping out all over my body as Dean #3 picks up a stack of paper that contains my vita.

"So, what can I tell you?" he says.

And I think, I don't fucking know. I don't know exactly what this Dean is a Dean of. I ask about the undergraduate students and the Dean holds his hand up, "That's really something that is difficult to answer. I haven't taught in many years of course, but they are certainly an ambitious group, and I'm sure you'll enjoy working with them if you're things work out. What else can I tell you?" And he puts my vita down on the stack.

So, I never asked anything worth a shit and I'm off to the soon-to-be-president.

This office is so full of silk flowers that I feel that I might be in a Hallmark store. The soon-to-be says, "I haven't read anything about you. Why don't you tell me why you'd like to teach here?"

For a second I'm tempted to say, "Well, because I'd like to make more than $11k a year." I'd like to say, "Because you have a job open." But none of that would work of course.

I try out this instead: "I'm really interested in how Fishfly University puts the focus on writing across the curriculum."

"Sure," she says, "but so do a lot of schools. What do you think of our plan to expand?"

And I'm thinking, expand what? I've read the last month of student newspapers, have scoured every webpage of their site. I remember nothing about expansion.

"Expansion of what?" I ask sheepishly.

"Haven't you been spending time with the Fishfly committee? Surely they've talked about it." She waves it off, picks up my vita and says, "Well, then why don't you tell me something about yourself."

"Kansas," I say. "I'm originally from Kansas."


  1. I hate job interviews that make me think, "What a zoo!" At least in this one, Tic and Tac didn't have one of their screaming arguments two feet away from you, during an official faculty meeting that was supposed to be for meeting you.

  2. Here at Humpshack U., we have a number of Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, Deans, Associate Deans, get the idea. Sadly enough, I had to make myself flashcards of these poor bastards just so that when I went to some fundraising bullshit ("And this is Professor Black Dog who studies Starvistan...where there are suffering snot-nosed children...give us money!") I would know who they were.

    You have done better than I might have in the situation, as I can certainly foresee being inclined to simply blurt out "What is it that you do, exactly?"


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