Friday, December 7, 2007

Motivation Going, Going. . . Gone.

Fuck it. I've got mountains of grading. A dissertation to finish. Interviews to prep for. (Because, in a totally out-of-character move, I've decided to be optimistic and assume that the fact that I haven't yet heard from anyone doesn't mean I won't hear from anyone.) A job talk to prep. (Because, WTF, if I'm going to try out this optimism thing I might as well go hog wild and assume that I'll get at least a few on-campus interviews. Also a pony.) Haven't even started xmas shopping. (Remember that episode of Family Ties where APK is overtaken by the spirit of the season at the very last minute but the only store that's open is a pharmacy and so he gives everyone cough syrup and shit like that for xmas? Yeah, that's gonna be me.) Sickeningly large piles of dirty laundry. Haven't been to the gym in like a week and a half.

But fuck it. I'm taking the day off. Spending the day in bed with a pot of tea and three months worth of Harper's. You suckas can be all productive and hardworking and effective if you like. Me, I've got some lying around doing nothing to take care of.

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, a mental health day. Good for you. You'll find that you're more productive than if you would have kept slogging through. Old movies work for me.

2nd year phil grad said...

As the Red Sox fans say in Boston, "Keep the faith."

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I had a whole weekend of that last weekend.... better to declare one day a day off and splurge than to spend the weekend finding other ways to avoid doing what needs to be done.

Anonymous said...

Going NUTS waiting for word ... Wish life were like TiVo: able to be paused, repeated, and FAST-FORWARDED!

wikimonger said...

Here is me smiling big. I just got my first interview!

Here is me scrunching my forehead, scratching my face, squinting my eyes, taking deep breaths. Oh crap! I just go my first interview.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, wikimonger! Do tell: where's the interview?

undetached rabbit parts said...

I have no motivation left whatsoever. I just can't bring myself to prep for an interview when I don't have any yet. I'm impressed that you could even entertain the thought of doing so.

I went to some of the department web pages of places that I failed to get an interview at and at some of them, I have published more in the last 4 years than the entire faculty combined. My teaching is strong too. I just don't understand why I'm not getting interviews at some of these places. At this point, I'm having a difficult time even taking this process seriously. Next week should be fun...

Anonymous said...

undetached,

I hope you are not falling into that category where teaching institutions see your pubs and think you really don't want to teach and the reasearch places think it is not enough.

If you want one of the teaching jobs you need to meet some people from a school with that profile and have them look over your material to make sure it is sending the right message.

Anonymous said...

The first stage of wiki obsession is checking it regularly. The next stage, which I've just fallen into, is leaving the history page open and refreshing it constantly.

*sigh* what a senseless waste of human life am I....

Anonymous said...

I love it when schools seem to F#@# with you--here's a chunk from the standard acknowledgment email I got from the Berkeley position:

"We do not plan to conduct extensive interviews at the APA convention this year, but will be inviting a small group of candidates for campus visits at the start of our spring semester. Candidates who do not receive invitations to campus should not assume that their applications have been unsuccessful."

I love how they are encouraging optimism, even if you find out you're not going to an on-campus. Even Oprah would give up hope in that situation...

bbm said...

Anonymous 12:25,

If you're a senseless waste, you're not alone. I'm doing precisely the same thing.

Others?

Anonymous said...

"candidates who do not receive a job offer (ever) should not assume that their applications have been unsuccessful."

bbm said...

Incidentally, out of curiosity -- and the hope of self-preservation -- does anyone know whether it's common/typical/unheard-of for committees to contact applicants over the weekend? I'm hoping it's not the done thing, so that I can justify not hovering over the wiki all weekend ...

Anonymous said...

bbm,

I have received an APA on the weekend. I have also have received them well into the evening on a weekday. However, not at this point, but closer to the APA. Remember procrastination doesn't end after grad school.

undetached rabbit parts said...

"undetached,

I hope you are not falling into that category where teaching institutions see your pubs and think you really don't want to teach and the reasearch places think it is not enough."

I think that is probably it. My school isn't quite ranked high enough for the research positions, but my pubs are actually scaring the teaching places away. If this is it, it is a shame (because I really do like teaching, well, most of the time). I suppose I should have been clearer about this in my application.

Anonymous said...

oh yeah, refresh the history, baby -- oh, just got an email!...which had nothing to do with interviews, jobs, or even philosophy. This is completely maddening -- we should all go for a beer.

Anonymous said...

Question: I have noticed that there is a huge overflow for the APA hotel. Does this mean that there are many more on the market this year than other years. If so, do you think that since it has been a good year for jobs that the Lieterific schools have been pushing their students to hit the market? If there is a higher flow of top students on the market this means that things will be harder for folks like me who come from unranked departments. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

I have heard from faculty at my institution that there is in fact a larger number of applicants (and especially top applicants) this year than in some recent years. But there's also a lot more jobs (and especially top jobs) this year than in recent years.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 12:30 - I think Berkeley really means what it says. The department has made 5 or 6 job offers over the past two years, out of which it only got 1 actual hire. I think they want to avoid that problem this year, and may want to be able to make a last minute offer if the ones who first get the job offer all go to Princeton, Michigan, Harvard, and UCLA again.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I thought so. The higher number of jobs really just means that the top schools are flooding the market with their candidates. Therefore, it really will make no difference for those in the unranked schools, even though there is more jobs.

Anonymous said...

It may be a bit hasty to conclude from the fact that the APA requires more than one hotel in Baltimore that there are more job applicants on the market this year or that the top schools are 'flooding the market' with their fine quality product.

Here's a story that may help those of you who are sweating (although does anything really help?). Last year I heard nothing from anyone until suddenly around the 18th or 19th I got a call from a great school (very Leiterrific). That was my first call for an interview. I was about ready to kill myself by the time I got that call. But resist it, people! Don't despair yet!

Anonymous said...

I know that one super-Leiteriffic school has only five fresh candidates on the market, which is less than in any of the last four years.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:35,

Yes. You see, this glut (relatively speaking) of jobs this year was unexpected and the top-schools can only put so many folks on the market. Also, an unprepared candidate can be sniffed-out no matter where one comes from. I know of someone from a top-ten Leiter school who bombed on the market because they went on the market too soon. So, perhaps there is hope for folks like me who come from unrated programs but have experience and a new Ph.D.

wikimonger said...

My cell phone is close to my computer speakers. When it is about to ring, it causes my speakers to make a ticking sound. Sometimes it does this when the phone is not about to ring too. But when ever I hear the ticking my heart skips a beat. Maybe I should move the phone.

Anonymous said...

I kinda like the idea of Rutgers having a storehouse stocked full of frozen PhDs, ready at a moments notice to be released on an unsuspecting market. You all should check, if they have no belly buttons then they have been bred in tanks, taught almost no history of philosophy, are exceptional at math, and emerge hellbent on spreading their infectious naturalism by eating up all the jobs the less deserving would otherwise get. Mwahahahaha!

wikimonger said...

Anon. 4:05,

Sounds like a case for the X Files.

Philosophy Prof said...

I have been on the market a few times, and I don't think I ever got a call before December 6, and most of the calls were well after. Remember that folks are very busy at the end of the semester, and their lists have to be approved by a college office, and so it is often the case that calls can't be made until finals week or later. Perhaps a few departments (listed on the wiki) have their act together, but not most.

tt assprof said...

Dear Undetached, et al.,

(1) It's still early. We're not calling anyone until the 13th.

(2) Some teaching places, usually crappy ones, have low self-esteem people in it who can't bear to have anyone outshine them all day long. That's not you, but them.

(3) Today I went through files for the first time in my career. Lots of great people. I for one didn't even focus on where they came from, but what they've done, and what their recommenders say. My top choice is a guy from a low-Leiter place, who must be pretty young, and has cranked out 8 articles and has a forthcoming book. He's my top choice because it would be unjust for it would be unjust otherwise.

Ass-o-Matic said...

So don't worry folks if you didn't go to NYU, you can still get on AssProf's list by publishing 8 articles and having a book forthcoming before you are 30. It's that easy.

(Gasps, shakes head in wonder) Wow, Ron, tell me more.

tt but looking said...

tt assprof: "My top choice is a guy from a low-Leiter place, who must be pretty young, and has cranked out 8 articles and has a forthcoming book."

Oh please, let it be me.

I might be interviewing you at MLA said...

"My top choice is a guy from a low-Leiter place, who must be pretty young, and has cranked out 8 articles and has a forthcoming book. "

I noticed him to and pointed him out to a few people in my dept..we really want to talk him - I've suggested we contact him and fly him out directly..by passing the MLA ritual hazing.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit I really like Berkley’s idea – who ever posted this (anon 12:30) – THANK YOU!!!!!

I spoke with my chair about this late this afternoon, and we’ve decided not to do our interviewing at APA.

None of us were thrilled about traveling right after the holidays…one of us is going sailing in Mexico and another person in the dept is going to Florida…rather than drudging thru interviews…we will just contact folks directly – and we can do the interviews after the new year.

friend of grads said...

Actually, Berkeley's strategy to skip the APA was pioneered by Princeton, though presumably for different reasons. See this thread for discussion about whether interviewing at the APA is worth it.

See especially Gil Harman's reference to the social psychology literature and his comment that "the candidate’s performance in an interview or fly-out is both a very unreliable indicator of later performance and also very vivid. So adding interviews and fly-outs to the hiring process adds expensive vivid noise!"

It would be nice if Leiter or our good hosts at PJMB would revive this debate, seeing how popular this blog has become. For my part, I agree with Harman. Even setting aside the waste of time and resources, these attempts to "get the measure" of candidates under such dehumanizing conditions should be abolished entirely.

skeptic said...

I heard from a prominent psychologist at my school that the psychologists who pioneered this idea later came to abandon it themselves!

Does anyone have a psychology connection to bug about this?

for chrissakes make this stop! said...

Suppose the following:

1. You are ABD in a joint Ph.D. program (Philosophy & Literature) at a certain Big Ten school that is most definitely NOT revered by Leiterites.

2. Although your home department is philosophy, the joint program requires you to teach English composition (which you do, grudgingly, for two years, all the while turning ENGL 106 into a writing intensive PHIL 101 course).
Your only teaching experience in philosophy is as a teaching assistant at the Ivy League school whence you earned your M.A.

3. Your AOS is social/political phliosophy, ethics, and 19th and 20th century Continental. You have 3 or 4 AOCs in core areas.

4. You have two articles published in peer-reviewed journals, but the journals in question are not particularly reputable among hyper-Anglo-American-Leiterite types. You have a slew of articles in graduate philosophy journals.

5. You've given what amounts to a fuck-ton of presentations at conferences.

6. You have 3 really strong references from 3 big wigs in the rarefied realm of Continental philosophy.

Which of the following is the most likely scenario:

1. No rush to get that dissertation done, buddy, because you're spending the next year in adjunct land (if you're lucky). [And all that money you spent on plane tickets to Baltimore, etc., is down the drain.]

2. You might land a full-time job at one of the 200 community colleges you applied to.

3. If you make a short list anywhere, it will be some no name teaching school. You'll be temporarily excited at the prospect of having at least ONE APA or phone interview, only to have you heart broken when you're not invited to campus.

4. You'll land that awesome job at Fordham and never look back.

friend of grads said...

The "interview illusion" is well-discussed in the psychology literature - most recently by David Myers. For a brief discussion of his conclusions, see here.

The phenomenon was apparently coined by Richard Nisbett at Michigan. Other psychologists who have researched the issue are Mark Zanna, Robin Dawes, and Frank Bernieri. I see no evidence of an abandonment of the view in their research to warrant skepticism here.

Anonymous said...

I have applied for 70 jobs. 20 of those have been been heard from about APAs or phone interviews. Out of those 20, I have 4 interviews. Given these factors, it would appear that I will get 14 interviews. If not, it could mean that those who contact early have a commonality than those who contact later. For example, it has been observed that the schools on the west coast are late in contacting candidates. Does anyone have any experience with this (like, you received all of you contacts early and hardly any later)?

market fodder said...

Thanks to friend for those links. I agree that this topic deserves a thread of its own somewhere.

On a lighter note, although I don't have a clue how to behave for my interviews, at least I know what not to do. Check out this guy. Friggin' awesome.

Anonymous said...

Four interviews already!? Mama mia! Did you print your cover letter on gilded paper? What's the secret? (Or are you the same guy from an earlier comments thread who scored four interviews?)

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:41,

No, I'm not the same person. I am not from a Lieter ranked dept. I do have some publications and it looks like my diss. may become a book. However, I think that it is important to tailor each cover letter for jobs that you really think that you are good match for. (It also helps to have an AOS that is bread-and-butter for all departments.) For example, I sent out cover letters where I spelled out exactly why I'm a good fit. However, it could be a fluke and I only will receive 4 interviews altogether. We'll have to see.

Anonymous said...

Still rolling on the floor laughing at that video! Great way to ease the tension on this depressing Saturday morning after a week of no productivity. The overdressed, underdressed, not dressed part had me in fits. Each time I see an interview posted in the wiki that I don't get next week, I'm going to watch this again to lift my spirits.

skeptic said...

Thanks for those links. I found this interesting meta-analysis, which suggests the complexity of the issues involved. It also mentions several studies aimed at consolidating results on interview validity and, from a very cursory glance, it looks like interviews are not as reliable as some other measures BUT not worthless.

I think we should be careful about jumping to conclusions here.

Beyond employment interview validity: A comprehensive narrative review...
Richard A Posthuma; Frederick P Morgeson; Michael A Campion
Personnel Psychology; Spring 2002; 55, 1;

wikimonger said...

If I was on a hiring committee where one was not only looking for a great scholar and/or teacher, but also for someone who would be nice to have around for the next 5,10, or 20 yrs, I couldn't imagine making that decision without meeting with a person one on one.

Who could?

Another asstrophilosophist said...

Response to Chrissakes:

You'll probably fare pretty well, seems to me. Though Leiter has been tremendously influential in persuading a sizable portion of the philosophical community that analytic philosophy is the only relevant methodology, his perspective is, ultimately, fairly insular. There are quite a few openings for people with your background. Just a quick look at some of the placements of non-Leiter ranked top Continental Schools will reveal this. Check out Stony Brook, Emory, DePaul, or Vanderbilt, for instance.

With your interdisciplinarity, you'll place well, particularly if you don't limit your search to Leiter-specific philosophy programs. Look to programs where interdisciplinarity is part of the game. You'll be happier there anyway. Whether Fordham will take you is an open question, but that will largely depend on whether you do the kind of Continental philosophy that tickles their faculty.

Your problem will also be that you're ABD. That doesn't bode well for anybody, no matter how well formed their CV.

undetached rabbit parts said...

"Though Leiter has been tremendously influential in persuading a sizable portion of the philosophical community that analytic philosophy is the only relevant methodology..."

I think you are attributing a little too much power to Leiter. The guy is influential, but come on. I'm pretty sure that "analytic philosophy" (whatever that is, and even assuming that such a thing exists) came to prominence in England, America etc. before the first PGR came out. And aren't there people in highly ranked departments that work on "Continental philosophy" (Hegel etc). Can't we just let this analytic/continental split die already? It's so 20th century.

another asstrophilosophist said...

Now hold on a second. I didn't say he invented analytic philosophy. I just meant to suggest that Leiter has a lot of people talking about rankings now, where that probably wasn't so much the case before. This, I think, also has a lot of candidates worried about their standing among their peers. You can't explain half of the comments here without reference to the rankings.

Candidates are going on and on about their school's rankings, and about how they're worried that they won't get a job because they're only in the top 25. Fact is, people from Leiterrespectable departments get jobs, sometimes even at Leiterrific departments; and people with backgrounds in philosophy and literature get jobs, sometimes at Leiter ranked schools as well.

There are a wide range of programs out in the world, many of which aren't ranked by Leiter; and many of which make perfectly wonderful lifetime careers for serious and smart philosophers. A reader of Leiter might be led to believe that the only "true" approach to philosophy is to do it the way that some of the "leading lights in the analytic field do it", as they are the ones who have ranked the programs. But clearly, there are many full programs dedicated to philosophy and literature, for instance, and there are undergraduates who want to take classes in philosophy and literature. There's a market for all of this stuff.

All this to say: don't count yourselves out if you're not fitting into Leiter's little cookie cutter. It's a fine cookie cutter if you want to end up in that mold; but if you have other aspirations, try to put it out of your mind.

chrissakes said...

Response to Asstro:

Thanks for the reassurance. I'm defending my dissertation in late February, so I won't be ABD that much longer. Presumably that helps, right?

Sorry for bringing up Leiter. I've been given the general impression, which is partially Leiter-inspired, that it's more difficult to get a job even in core areas (like ethics and social/political) if you're coming at said areas from a Continental angle (although I also work on history of 19th and 20th century Continental philosophy). Now, at most schools that are mostly analytic in orientation, I have been told repeatedly that if it comes down to choosing between a guy who works on contemporary analytic metaethics and a guy who works on ethics in contemporary French philosophy, then the analytic guy will almost certainly get hired (ceteris paribus). I assume this wouldn't necessarily hold true in extremely pluralistic departments or at teaching institutions where courses in history of philosophy are especially important. I also assume that interdiscplinarity mostly counts as a plus for "Continental" candidates, whereas it might count against these same candidates in the case of mostly analytic departments.

By the way, has anyone from a "non-Leiterrific/respectable" school been FORBIDDEN by a placement director to apply to schools like UNC, NYU, UTA, Notre Dame, Pitt, and the Ivies? That was the initial situation in our program until a bunch of folks complained. Now the policy is that you can apply wherever you want, but the placement director reserves the right to withhold the "departmental endorsement" letter from dossiers sent to schools which he doesn't believe will ever hire a graduate from our program (whoa, that was wordy as hell, but hopefully you get the point). Perhaps this is irrelevant, but the placement director in question is a dyed-in-the-wool Leiterite who even serves as an advisor to the PGR.

another asstrophilosophist said...

Actually, I think your impression about Leiter-ranked (LR) versus non-Leiter-ranked (NLR) schools is only partly correct. It's probably true that two students coming from better and worse schools with roughly the same CV applying to schools with hiring faculty who value what Leiter says, all things equal, will hire the person from the LR school over the NLR school.

That said, there are a lot of qualifications in the above sentence, so I think there's a lot that's not equal.

For one thing, many hiring committees simply aren't looking for LR students. They don't want analytics and may think that their school and program would be better filled by someone with an interest in, say, Hegel. This is particularly true at smaller schools where the department is pluralistic and the hiring committee doesn't want to upset a delicate faculty balance. If that's the case, the LR student is probably up a creek. It's important to bear in mind that many hiring committees are _in fact_ looking for people with some sympathies to Continental philosophy, even though it doesn't appear that way...(Not only do faculty at pluralistic smaller departments, or even larger departments, sometimes want this; but in certain cases undergraduates actually demand it.)

It's also true that in some cases schools are concerned more with getting and retaining their top pick than with hiring the person who is most likely to have an ambitious and successful research agenda. So, suppose you have two candidates who write on exactly the same areas, one LR and one NLR. The hiring committee may see that the LR student has, arguably, a greater likelihood of either getting several other more attractive offers or of leaving the school in a few years (even if they don't actually have this likelihood). In that case, they may choose the NLR candidate over the LR candidate on grounds that she's a top choice, a good candidate, and is less likely to feel comfortable enough to venture out into the market again.

In my time I've certainly spoken with many students from LR candidates who _just can't be happy_ where they are because they think they're more talented than they're given credit for. They grumble about being in their spots, sometimes even when they have a tt job at a Leiter-ranked school. (I'm thinking of one person in particular.)

So, again, I don't think coming from a LR school is necessarily the picnic that it might appear to be to those who are at schools that are not as well stacked with famous philosophers.

Anonymous said...

A number of people have suggested on this blog that those without the PhD in hand (i.e., submitted) at the time of their application are at a significant disadvantage. My completely unscientific impression had always been that this was not a significant issue as long as ABD applicants were past some threshold of completion (roughly: 2/3 done, significantly polished). On what basis have people gotten a different impression? Would any search committee folks be willing to inject some reliable information here? Is there any difference in the way that this issue plays out for applicants from Leiterrific versus non-Leiterrific departments? One question I have is why search committees see this as important. Is the primary concern that their applicants may fail to complete their dissertation prior to the beginning of their appointment? Or is it just that less complete work is a less reliable indicator of future success? Or both? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I'm an ABD at the bottom of the Leiter ranked schools and I have two interviews set up. Is this unusual? I bet the top research schools probably care a lot about Ph.D. in hand right now. But, other than that if your director can swear that you'll finish before August, it is probably enough. I have another friend here that also has two interviews set up. We both applied broadly.

Liberal Arts Prof said...

Re ABD:

If you have a defense date scheduled, then in the eyes of a hiring committee, and for the purpose of this discussion, you are no longer ABD - you are treated as a newly minted PhD.

So if you director states in their rec letter that Harry is scheduled to defend on X date, that is good enough to move you out of the pile of great unwashed ABDs.

Anonymous said...

A distinction needs to be made here between ABDs, defense date set, and PhD in hand.

1) ABDs have almost no shot unless everything else is stunning. Why? Some places have admin requirements that courses can only be taught by PhDs (especially grad courses). Most importantly, way way too often, if ABDs get the job they are now faced with teaching at least a 2-2 and doing dept. work in addition to finishing, so the dissertation never gets done, they freak out because they haven't published anything in 2 years and the 3rd year review is coming up, so they bolt to start all over again or just get fired.

2) Defense dates don't mean much. Why? Because most advisors are quite willing to say that your slow ass will be done in May, but that doesnt hold water with most people anymore. Why? becuase too often they give your slow ass the job in April and come Sept, you still haven't figured out your last chapter. Increasingly, committees see having no PhD at the time of interview as being ABD full stop. So you get the same worries as above.

3) Have your degree. Simple, plain, no muss, no fuss. Advisors now more and more tell their students to wait until the have degree in hand.

At any rate, it is better to wait a year, then go on the market when you are at your best rather than stink it up one year the the next year hoping that people don't remember you stinkin it up the year previous. Plus, going on the market eats your time like fiend, so by not going on the market, your slow ass may in fact finish in May rather than making a filthy liar out of you, your CV, and your advisor.

Liberal Arts Prof said...

Sorry,
Meant to say "Defense Date Scheduled", which is a different beast than vague promises that Harry will most certainly be done in May.

Defense Date Scheduled means you have a particular date set aside on the department calendar, and that you dissertation is considered defendable.

Otherwise, yes, I agree with 6:06pm immediately above. Promises of completion aren't even worth the paper they are written on.

oldassprof said...

Chrissakes, someone in your position shouldn't be at a disadvantage. However, if I was reading your file I wouldn't care whether or not you had published in graduate journals (or spoken at grad conferences); they don't count, as far as I (and many others) are concerned.

And to the ABDs out there: my sense is that, at least at the top end of the market, being ABD is irrelevant. I was ABD when I went out (at a top-5 school). My committee cared about my writing sample, but didn't care much about how far along my diss was. The assumption was that if i got a job I would cobble together another few chapters and they'd sign off on them before I left town. Which is indeed what happened.

One place that interviewed me asked to see some work on a topic that was in an unwritten chapter. I told them that I could talk about it but that the stuff hadn't been written down yet. I still got a flyout.

Since then I have taken part in searches for my new employer; we've hired people from top programs and we have never worried about whether they were finished. We just assume that if we offer them the job their committee will sign off on whatever they submit. They're smart people, and they can do enough in five or six months to put together a dissertation that gets over the (really pretty low)quality bar.

What matters is that you have a couple of good chapters ready to go out to journals: the rest of the stuff is just a first draft of your future papers/book, so it doesn't matter if it's not excellent. The most important property a dissertation can possess is the property of being finished.

(Caveat: There are some programs which have a reputation for making their grad students go through multiple drafts in pursuit of perfection. They will not sign off on something that's no more than just good enough,and if you hire from them you should not hire an ABD because he or she won't finish quickly enough.)