Thursday, December 22, 2011

Anders from an Anonymous College Says, "Don't Trust the Job Wikis."

Three years ago I was a job wiki addict. Refresh. Refresh. Gulp of coffee. Refresh.

Then I got a job, and I thought, "Great, fuck that wiki. I'll never have to worry about it again."

Except now I'm on a job search committee for a broad field English position at a pretty good college in the northeast.

Someone said, "Hey, Anders can keep up on the wiki, keep track of what schools who are doing similar hires are doing, when they make their interview calls and so on."

So I did that. And I hated it. There were about 30 schools that had jobs JUST like ours, and I logged on every day, keeping track when they asked for dossiers, when the phone interviews (or Skype) interviews started.

We even moved up an important committee meeting by a full week because I reported casually that 2 schools near us had already contacted folks for samples and dossiers.

Anyway, despite the fact that we're not making our MLA interview calls to candidates until this afternoon, our job wiki page has received notes from "candidates" who claim they have already been contacted! It says:

MLA interview scheduled: 12/19, 12/20 (X2).

Well, it isn't true. And, there's a note in the notes section about an inside candidate for our job, and we don't have one. We have no VAPs, no part-timers who qualify, etc. Yet, there's a little conversation among some "candidates" about whether this is a real job search or not, and how terrible it is we're wasting everyone's time and money when we already have someone we're going to hire.

Not true.

It makes me think about my own wiki use, the hours and the fret and the anxiety spent on shit that may have been fabricated by naughty wiki users.


  1. Like everywhere else on the internet, I'm sure there are job wiki trolls getting their laughs by filling in lies. Anders, you could always put the truth on the wiki. I think the days of the search process being a closely guarded secret until a contract is signed are over.

  2. I have actually started to see search committee members popping up on the Job Wiki to make announcements/correct misinformation. They're always well-received, and a good antidote to the conspiracy-mongering that so often passes for information.

  3. Wait, there are liars on the Interwebs? You're crushing my spirit! Lying about an already-tough job market is seriously crappy behaviour, though. I don't think there's any remedy for it that doesn't involve countless hours of policing the liars. Even minor contributions to truthiness are always appreciated - keep fighting the good fight!

  4. Is your school one of a number wih the nearly same name? There are a handful of St. Marys out there. It also could be that some candidates don't get the subtle differences between the names. Just a thought.

  5. @CMP: Or the subtle differences between Texas and Canada!

    Aside: googling "Saint Mary's" led me to the delightful discovery that one of them actually named their faculty union "SMUFU". I can't help finding that funny.

  6. All my job-hunting experience is pre-wiki, but I must say it sounds like a mixed blessing at best (and also like one of those things that could be quite helpful or horrible, depending on what the humans involved do with it -- which, given how humans often behave under stress, isn't a particularly hopeful thought).

    But I had to stop by this post and say: that's a really, really disturbing Santa in the accompanying image. I hope nobody in a Santa suit tries to seduce me anytime soon (not likely, fortunately). I like the Santa in the banner, however: not jolly, but sort of sad but wise, no-nonsense, perhaps a bit disappointed but still generally well-disposed to others. Professorial and appropriate to the season (grading and holiday), in other words. Or maybe he's a rorschach test and I'm just projecting.


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