Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Dollar When I'm Hard Up I

Here's another thing I wish someone had told me about before the job market last year. It costs a fuck of a lot of money. For about two months last year, my spending was relentless. On a grad student's stipend, it feels like you're giving a pint of plasma a day, every day from the middle of October to the middle of December.

I don't know the exact figure, but I know I spent over $800 on the whole process last year. I know I dropped way over $300 on postage. That was over 80 applications sent, way too many of them sent late at night by priority mail. I also had to get a sport coat, since the only one I owned was this tan ultra-suede jacket from the 70s--a sweet, sweet jacket to be sure, but not exactly right for the semi-conservative job market. Throw in a new shirt, since I knew I'd sweat through my only other one, and a tie to go with the jacket and shirt, and that was another $250 at a Thanksgiving week sale. Then close to $150 for three nights at the hotel in DC during the APA--that was splitting the room three ways at the "cheap" graduate student rate. Then there was getting to and from the APA. And then all the little things, like APA fees and envelopes and labels.

I want to spend a lot less than that this year. I don't need another jacket. And I really, really don't want to send so many applications at the last minute.

But still, the costs are already adding up. Between some criminal fucking postdoc application fees and the postage costs of not being ready well in advance of a handful of early deadlines, I've already spent $132.22.


Sisyphus said...

Don't forget that if you get flyouts, you might have to put the whole thing on your card and wait until they get around to reimbursing you. At least, English depts. are known for doing this.

Anonymous said...


I'm jealous.

Anonymous said...

You know, some departments pay for the postage (ours does for three years or until you get a tenure-track job, whichever comes first). I think it's insane that some departments don't.

Pseudonymous Grad Student said...

Anon 11:28 - Do you know of people having to pay their own way for fly-backs and *not* getting reimbursed? Tell us more, please!

Anon 7:24 - Oh, yeah. I'm aware that some departments pay for postage at least for a while. Not mine, though. And yes, it's insane for a department to expect grad students and non-TT recent grads to lay out that kind of money every year.

Anonymous said...

It is especially silly for department not to cover job expenses since it is in the department's best interest to see their grads get good jobs. And I think having few financial worries about the situation would make it more likely that one would apply for all their jobs in a timely manner.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:28 here. I conflated reimbursing you for flyouts (they've always at least covered my hotel and flight) and reimbursing you for application costs.

My only excuse for that is that I'm overcome by photocopier fumes ($300 and counting in photocopy costs to date, and no, my department doesn't cover those.)

Pseudonymous Grad Student said...

Holy shit. I can't imagine how much extra this would cost if I had to pay for my own photocopying. That really sucks.