Friday, February 22, 2013

A Job Misery Potpourri.

A one year contract comes to an end, and all talk of renewal, and what a wonderful job I do has vanished like free beer around undergraduates. I have less than 3 months left to find something, anything. I was not expecting this.

I've applied for a temporary teaching certificate for 6th to 12th graders in my undergraduate subject. I've sent out applications to sketchy for-profits, counties smaller than where I grew up. No bites. My family lives here, and my parents are getting older. I don't want to leave.

I find myself wondering if is time to go back to being a secretary.


I was an internal candidate and clearly they decided not to interview me. They have not told me I am out of the running, but they avoid me and one of my colleagues did interview. Makes me wonder if people I know won't hire me, how do I get people that don't know me to hire me?


We interviewed a candidate recently. He’s a big guy wearing a dress shirt that seemed a bit too small. While giving a presentation about his research his middle shirt button popped off. Funny huh? Turns out he wasn’t wearing a t-shirt underneath. His shirt stretched apart to reveal a forest of dark belly hair. The audience stared. The candidate gulped. I announced that if this went any further, I’d want some bow-chicka-bow-wow music to set the mood. Everybody laughed and the candidate continued his presentation. We still stared at him for the rest of the hour and didn’t hear a damn word he said. He’s at the top of my list.


On a Skype interview yesterday, the candidate twice made the joke, "I like Skype because I don't have to wear pants." He made it once early. Nobody laughed. He made it again at the end.


A candidate wrote a lengthy thank you note, which is fine, but that contradicted three pretty important claims he made during the interview about his actual experience in a sub discipline we need covered. That's not fine.


A VAP job I applied for and campus interviewed for 2 years ago had listed the job again 1 year ago. The first time they hired a grad student from the same institution. Then the second time the job was listed I got a phone interview. They hired the grad student this time tenure track. This year I applied again (yes, I'm stupid), and got another phone interview, with the same committee and same questions. They hired another grad according to the wiki. I haven't got my rejection yet, but I've already got my letter ready for their position next year, too!


  1. Oy! Much of this sounds painfully familiar (well, not the wardrobe malfunction, but if he could power through that, he might well be a strong candidate).

    To candidate #2 (we need identifiers here; this is in response to "if people I know won't hire me, how do I get people that don't know me to hire me?"): as in dating (especially, I'm reading, online dating), there's a "grass is always greener" element here: it's easier to fantasize about how superhumanly awesome someone you've mostly met on paper is than to face the reality that we're all human, and anyone hired is going to have hir strengths and weaknesses (which tend to be abundantly clear in those with whom we've shared committee meetings, bathrooms, and early morning/late night encounters during the darkest days of the semester).

    To candidate #1: if you'll find someone who'll pay you better for exercising the organizational, writing, and diplomatic skills as a secretary (probably some sort of executive secretary/administrative assistant) than for exercising them as a proffie, I say go for it. Just make sure the job includes reasonable hours and/or enough vacation time to do whatever part of the academic job you actually like now and then.

    And to the final candidate: yep, just keep sending it in (changing as little as necessary). You never know; if the grad students aren't working out well, maybe they'll get smart and hire you (on the other hand, if the grad student they hired to the TT is on junior research leave this semester, maybe the job will stop popping up for a few years, at least until (s)he gets -- or is denied -- tenure).

  2. Yo, #2. It's been my experience that we like hiring people from the outside. The inside folks may have a comfort level, but they also have committed enough silliness and snowflakiness that we take our chances with someone who's been a part-timer somewhere else.

    And for that last candidate. DELETE THAT FUCKING FILE.

  3. Another reason not to write a thank you note: If you're going to take back the shit you already said!!!

    I know people lie in interviews, but at least stick with it!

  4. I like this format. People often tell short, interesting and/or funny stories in the comments that they don't want to post. This gets the stories on the main page.


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