Monday, November 12, 2007

I Think I Lost It, Let Me Know If You Come Across It

Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick, thinking about publications and Leiter's rankings is freaking me the fuck out. (The Future Dr. Mrs. Dr. PGS can attest to my mood over our lo-mein.) So how about a little levity? Levity for you, that is, because this story is just going to freak me out more.

Let me give you some background. When people in my department send out applications, we have to give the department secretary a stack of addressed envelopes, so she doesn't have to do anything besides photocopy our letters, put them in the envelopes, and drop everything in campus mail. If we don't give her an envelope with an address on it, she doesn't send letters.

Fine. But this weekend, one of my officemates told me this story. The secretary cornered her last week, showed her an envelope, and asked her if it was hers. The secretary figured it might be, because it was addressed to a school doing a search for something my officemate does. My officemate didn't think it was hers and, thank god, realized it was probably mine, since we're applying for jobs in some of the same areas.

But then my officemate asked the secretary where the envelope came from. Apparently, it came from behind the fridge in the department kitchen. Yes, behind the fucking fridge.

How the fuck did my envelope get back there? The kitchen's nowhere near the office. Was the secretary taking my envelopes for a walk when she was looking for a snack? I mean, I guess that envelope got found, so those letters are going to go out. But are there more of my envelopes lost around the department? Do I need to start looking under the microwave to find more? Or behind the toilet in the women's can, in case the secretary decided to take a pile in there for god knows what reason?

I swear to fucking god, this is not what I need to be worrying about right now.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, but that was hilarious! The fridge, are you fuckin' kidding me! She found it there? Maybe someone's trying to sabotage you!!! I hope your envelopes arrive safely. LOL!

Anonymous said...

Oh, shit PSG, I don't want to jeopardize your pseudonymousity, but I just found an envelope behind the fridge in my department – could that be yours?

Fuck. It'll be ok. Fifty envelopes – a couple of screw-ups won’t make that big a difference. Right?

Anonymous said...

I recently got an email from a department saying they received my application, and then, "If you have not heard from me by XXX, you should assume that you are no longer being considered. I am sorry that we are unable to re-contact those candidates who have not been selected for an interview." I've also gotten letters from schools saying they didn't have my references, which they sent out as soon as they received my application. Yes, I put in the request for my references at the same time as my application, so I know you don't have those yet. I'd think maybe they could update me in a couple of weeks, when my references should be there. But departments tend to only make contact once, and in the case of the first school above, tell me to assume no news is bad news subsequently.

Here's how this connects with your refrigerator debacle. It could cost university 5-10k maybe to set up an online system where applicants can check the status of their application, which departments update daily/weekly as materials come in. It's not rocket science. But schools are still stuck in a 1950s mentality where it's too expensive to communicate with candidates unless they're finalists -- and as your blog has already discussed, when they do adopt online application systems, they pick ones that are designed for corporate or at least staff jobs, and totally inadequate for hiring faculty. If schools systematically had online systems in place, you could find out who hadn't gotten your app and have your department resend; as it is, your only way to know is to find your envelope behind the fridge.

Maybe university presidents have determined that faculty are trouble-makers, and are developing systems to make hiring them impossible? I'd believe just about anything at this point.

Anonymous said...

Staff at my school are still struggling with Word. I'd hate to think what they'd do with an online application system. Yeah, it's a great idea. But first we'd need new staff.

-- That Guy

fellow grad student said...

Yet one more reason to cultivate good relationships with those that don't directly influence your career.

I don't suppose there's some institutional solution like electronic submissions (which a lot of schools seemed to be moving towards when I was applying a few years ago) that would inform you of what information they still needed...