Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Rocking the Passive Voice XIX

Okay, I didn't think I was going to write any more of these this season, since what the fuck else do I have to say about all the PFOs I got last year? And this one isn't even mine, but I'm two beers into relaxing after a day of interview prep and this is just way too awesome not to pass along, so what the fuck.

In comments, Anon. 4:04 says,
One of the mailed [PFOs] referred to the "APA meeting in Washington DC this year" -- it's lovely to know that it was just cut & pasted from last year's PFOs.

For the civilians reading along from home, the APA is in Baltimore this year. It was in Washington last year. Whoever wrote this piece of shit PFO recycled their department's old copy to make a "new" letter and forgot to change the name of the city. Holy fuck, that is one weak-ass PFO.

26 comments:

phd in hand, good publications said...

I agree, that's a shameful PFO.

Sorry I can't let it go: for those of us without anything lined up yet, is it time to give up? I'm not going to Baltimore without an interview. Anyone from a section I department care to give me hope? What about those crazy Canadian departments that don't find Baltimore in December attractive -- when do you plan to call (not that you'll be calling me)?

Anonymous said...

Can I just ask: what does "interview prep" consist in?

Pseudonymous Grad Student said...

In today's case, interview prep consist of ironing out kinks in my spiel, and messing around trying to figure out how I can streamline it. It turns out, if you do that obsessively, it can take all day!

Sisyphus said...

So, the APA happens the same dates as the MLA, eh?

I'd say it's too bad they're not in the same town --- we could all do some cross-disciplinary consolation drinking --- but I think the city we'd meet in would implode from the sheer volume of despair and nervous energy. Kinda like a black hole.

Anonymous said...

In case anyone hasn't already read this comparison of the MLA and APA annual meetings:

http://schwitzsplinters.blogspot.com/2007/06/condoms-and-alcohol-containers-mla-and.html

New TT Prof said...

I got a rejection last year stating that they were "pleased to have spent time speaking with me" and had something in the order of "tremendous respect" for my talent after our time together.

But they had never spoken with me at all. It was the first I had heard from them.

What made me so angry about it was that if I were to have made a comparable error in my application materials, it would have been thrown in the trash bin for it.

cst said...

I applied to a few jobs last year to test the waters. One place didn't send me a rejection letter until this September. What's the point of sending a rejection letter in September for a job that started in August? I don't know.

Anonymous said...

Sisyphus,

The other APA will be in Chicago with you, I believe. But then you'd have to listen to all the complaints about how no one respects philology anymore, and all the lit jobs go to the English department.

Other APAer said...

Yeah, and there will be even fewer condoms and more beer (or, rather, whiskey) bottles at the Chicago APA than at the Baltimore APA.

God, we Classicists can drink any other profession under the table. Especially amazing are the Historical Linguists. They are frickin' incredible.

easily entertained said...

I want to know if we're going to get live blogging from the APA. How hard can it be to sneak a Blackberry into the smoker?

lacanista said...

Ok, it is annoying to receive such poorly copied PFOs. But then again, it's annoying to receive job letters that say things like "I am applying for the positon at the University of X at Boulder" when the university in question is in another state altogether. We've had an insider joke for years about how we all can't wait to get assigned to teach at the "Boulder branch". (And no, we didn't throw the candidate's application out because of the mistake).

Anonymous said...

lacanista,

Yeah, I'll give you a mea culpa on that one. Every conference interview I've had, when I go back to review the cover letter I sent them, I found a typo. And that's despite three to four edits. Never done the wrong school name, I hope. Knock on wood. In all fairness, a form letter from a department that hasn't been updated from last year should have been seen by 6-8 pairs of eyes, but yeah, point well taken.

I'm willing to give depts the benefit of the doubt on what look like mistakes or oversights, but not so much on things that strike me as simply unprofessional or disrespectful. And I hope to receive the same from the other side.

It doesn't mean we can't laugh at each other a little, right? On both sides. And yeah, I'll bet I've put the wrong school's name on once or twice, despite my best efforts. I've sent a hell of a lot out over the years.

Anonymous said...

Remember your fashion woes: check this out:

http://thefashionableacademic.blogspot.com/

meghan said...

What the h*ll is wrong with philosophers? The APA needs to make a major push NOW to have each hiring school promptly post (either in a single place online, or on their individual websites) whether they will be interviewing at the convention(s), when they have contacted candidates, when they have narrowed the list to an on-campus short list, and when they have filled their position. This initiative could go hand-in-hand with a real effort to standardize language in job ads, and perhaps even to standardize, to a reasonable extent, expectations for what should go in application packets.

The job search will remain painful for most as long as there remains a big gap between the number of permanent jobs and the number of qualified applicants for those jobs. That absolutely does not mean that it is ok to stay oblivious to and cavalier about ways that those on the hiring side could ameliorate some of the extra random pain without much effort.

Anonymous said...

is it different in other disciplines?

Anonymous said...

hear, hear, Meghan. Though given the difficulty some departments seem to have in conforming to a standard ad, I don't hold out much hope.

Put the whole process online, I say.

Anonymous said...

I think that search committees should be supplied with those little dials that advertising agencies give to their test audiences to gauge reactions to various ads. Hook this up to the web and you could see in real time how your application is being perceived. You could, in real-time, watch the interest level go from neutral to slight to none, all in the space of thirty seconds...

Sisyphus said...

easily entertained said...

I want to know if we're going to get live blogging from the APA. How hard can it be to sneak a Blackberry into the smoker?


Ooh ooh I second this! I also want someone to smuggle in a camera (how badly _do_ mobs of philosophers dress?)

VAP said...

So one of the good things about this blog, besides the anonymous venting and bitching, is that it allows grad students and job seekers extra data. Earlier in the year we had a dicussion about whether personalizing cover letters was worth it. Now we all have some data on this issue. Anyone care to share?

In my case I sent out about 60 applications. About 20 of which were carefully crafted for a particular job. Thesae were all very good jobs that I thought I had some shot at. I am 0-for so far on those jobs. The two interviews I did get were for places I put no time whatsoever into the letter. Just my basic 3 paragraph (intro-research-teaching) form letter. Both of these jobs are 3-3s in pretty desirable places. So it seems like I wasted my time, but it may be a fluke.

Sorry for the threadjack

Anonymous said...

What the hell is a CGI Overrun and what has it done to my wiki? I need my fix, man.

James said...

As long as we are complaining about random stuff, anyone else find it strange that Columbia is just today joining Section I (application acknowledged) of the Wiki? That was a strange feeling to come home to an email from Columbia, not knowing whether to brace for excitement - or more likely inevitable disappointment from one of those early rejections - only to find out that they are just now asking for my race and gender!

married to philosophy said...

Sisyphus said:

Ooh ooh I second this! I also want someone to smuggle in a camera (how badly _do_ mobs of philosophers dress?)

Some very badly.

The first APA I went to (with my husband, a philosopher) was in Boston in 1999. Because his dissertation director, who dressed like he'd just stepped out of GQ, was my major exposure to the discipline up to that point, I had an extremely skewed idea of the level of sartorial achievement to which philosophers aspired.

I had helped my husband with picking out his suit, shirts and ties, and he had warned me not to overdo it in the process, as he didn't want to stick out because he looked too good. I thought that a bit ridiculous and that surely a nice suit and a carefully-selected tie would be par for the course.

The first night of the conference, I was walking around the smoker with another philosopher's wife when we spotted a guy in an outfit that included two different plaids. Loud ones. She and I elbowed each other and tittered once we were out of the be-plaided philosopher's earshot. I told hubby about it when we came back around to his school's table.

Later in the evening, hubby and I were going up in the elevator when the door opened on the mezzanine level and Dr. Two Plaids got on with several colleagues. I shot hubby a look. He looked at Dr. Plaid's nametag in the elevator's mirrored wall and shot me a look back.

When Dr. Plaid et al got off the elevator and we resumed our upward journey, I said, "So what was that all about?"

He replied, "That was PAUL TELLER!"

I looked at him blankly.

"He's one of the foremost philosophers of science in the country."

I continued looking at him blankly.

"You might have heard of his father, Edmund Teller? The Manhattan Project?"

"So it doesn't matter that he can't dress himself, then."

"No."

languagepolice said...

There was a fun thread on the topic of 'rejection letter genres' at the Chronicle of Higher Education forum site (I can't bring myself to say "fora"(or "hu" for that matter)).

I posted this last year, but I thought I might mention it again. I applied for a job , but the search was canceled. When HR sent out the email to the applicants to tell them, they used a previous cancellation letter as a template. The way I know this is that the letter indicated it was a Psychology position that was being canceled.

A few minutes later, the HR robot discovered its mistake and corrected the error...on just the first mention of the department (lower in the body of the email, the Psychology dept was mentioned again).

A few minutes after that, I received another email, this time addressed to someone who might well have been next in line alphabetically from me...

Made me glad the search was canceled!

Anonymous said...

Here's one that seems odd ...

A department I have an interview with sent out an email about how great it is to teach at this institution.

They cc'd instead of bcc'd the email. We now can look up all the other interviewees. I'm stunned. Anyone ever have this happen before?

Anonymous said...

I've heard of it happening to a fellow graduate student in my program. The email was to all applicants about that department's progress in reviewing the applications. So there were hundreds of names in the email list. Turns out one of them was from a tenured professor in our own department looking to move on.

Sam said...

The world keeps finding whole new ways to reject me. Case in point: my #2 Dream Job (at Simon Fraser) was just canceled due to lack of funding.

Guh.

And my #1 Dream Job (Alberta) has already scheduled on-campus interviews apparently. I say "apparently" because I didn't get one but someone on the wiki did.

Today sucks.