Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sunday Comics

"She said you'd given up"
--By Soon-to-Jaded Dissertator

(Click to make it big.)

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

You really have something there, 'Soon-to-be-jaded' This has been one of the most psychically exhausting trials of my life.

I have a question for any experience TT people out there. Have you ever known a SLAC or SC to advertise a TT position and then only offer a VAP? I had an experience where it was advertised as TT, then after I did a fly-out they said that they weren't satisfied with the pool and are only offering a VAP. I turned it down and another one of the candidates took it. It was not a funding issue. Could this have been a bait and switch?

Bobcat said...

I think the reverse words in the word-bubble were absolutely hilarious.

Inquiring Mind said...

Agreed, bobcat. Who knew our bubble thoughts were reflective?!

This will make the problem of other minds so much easier ...

juniorperson said...

To anon. 8.16:

I've heard of this happening before. I don't think it's a bait-and-switch (although, of course, it might be), but just a case of a department not finding someone its members wanted to hire, for varous reasons. I suspect that this happens more frequently (tho' rarely even then) in smaller departments who are looking for a certain long-term colleague, and who are secure in their line's funding.

Having this happen can be horribly frustrating, but I don't think that it's malice on the department's part.

Anonymous said...

A question for the foreign audience out there.

Can someone tell me what is going on with either Leeds or University College Dublin?

Both haven't moved on the Wiki. But I thought the European schools would already have had on-campuses by now (like, e.g., Oxford or Tilburg); at the very least, a short list announcement.

Maybe I'm just confused about how the European timeline works.

Thanks.

Counting Chickens said...

How about an informal poll of how many interviews folks have and the general make up? For instance, I have three: one at an Leiter-nonymous R1, two at non-east-coast SLACs.

Others?

Anonymous said...

Seconding Anon 1:25's question: what's the schedule for jobs in Britain? Or Canada? Any SC members from outside the US who can tell us?

wikimonger said...

Applied to 15 places got 3 interviews. Hoping for a couple more.

2 non-east coast BA programs
1 non-east coast MA program

Anonymous said...

Not an SC member and not a philosopher, despite my addiction to this blog, but I am a Canadian in a glutted humanities field who's only applied for jobs in Canada as I'm not interested in leaving the country. This is also my first year on the market, but in my brief experience and with talking with some others, I believe that at least half of Canadian schools don't do conference interviews: they either do phone and then campus or go straight to campus. At least, the smaller universities do (i.e. non-U of T/UBC/Queens/McGill/Western). Canadian schools also tend to ask for everything, including ref letters, up front. I have one campus interview scheduled on the basis of just my materials, and silence from everyone else (positions also don't tend to show up on the Wiki unless they're at one of the aforementioned schools, either...)

As for Britain, I have no clue, sorry!

VAP said...

Leeds is having on-campus visits on the 14-15 of Jan for the open position. 7-8 for the science job. At least, that is what their website says.

Anonymous said...

what's the schedule for jobs in Britain?

It can be all over the place. I've definitely heard of flyouts in late April, also in late January. I think it often says on their website (and they bring all candidates in at once, so there's a specific date).

Anonymous said...

UK jobs that advertise this far out are doing it specifically because they are trying to allow Americans to apply. Less prestigious UK schools will advertise at the beginning of the Summer next year i.e. 2-3 months before start dates.

Thanks for the Canada info - was more or less what I assumed.

fellow grad student said...

or maybe the picture's from inside the mirror? anyone.. anyone..

Anonymous said...

To Anon 7:16

You claim that the UK jobs are listed this early to encourage Americans to apply, but the UK style of doing things works decidedly against this.

For example: if Leeds has people to campus on January 14-15, then this will be as a big cluster, and the offer will be made only a few days later.

The trouble is, the US on-campus visits haven't even started by that time. And typically, decisions will not be made by early March (or perhaps late Feb).

If the UK schools are willing to wait that long til their candidates have explored the rest of their options, then the schedule makes sense. But I can't imagine they will be willing to wait that long. So, unless a particular American candidate is just dying to go to (say) Leeds, and is willing to throw the rest of his/her possibilities out the window, it's not clear how much sense it makes.

Philosophy Prof said...

Does anyone have any thoughts on the smoker? (That is, besides that it should be banned. My best sense is that the reason that the Eastern APA alternates between just the few places is that it is illegal everywhere else.) Do people with SC experience ever find that the smoker makes a difference, or is the campus-visit list pretty much locked-in from the interviews? Would somebody not get an interview if they didn't attend the smoker?

TT Newbie said...

This blog has proven invaluable for me, and very interesting. I am in my fifth year as an assistant professor at a largish, but not academically competitive, regional university in the midwest. I took the job largely because my wife is at a nearby nationally ranked university completing her Ph.D. (I am sorry to say it was the only job I applied for coming out of graduate school -- I didn't even have to go to the APA.) Now that my wife has defended, we are both on the market. I have many questions related to that, but I wonder if anybody has a sense of how to write or perform a research spiel when your research is no longer tied to your dissertation. My work has grown in many, and sometimes unrelated, directions. My publications are quite different from each other, and only one grew from my diss. How should this change my strategy for the interview? Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

RE: the smoker question -

In a comment on one of the other post threads, someone with experience repeatedly emphasized that you MUST attend the smoker (in a moderate but substantial way that does not over-do the attempt at interaction). However, the same person also went out of their way to say that you should "polish" your shoes. Wearing something respectable that does not offend anyone is one thing. But polishing your shoes? Anyone who judges me by my shoes or whether they are polished is an $#@$&*^% $#@!@$$ is my humble opinion.

bob said...

As this is my first time on the market, I can't comment on what the smoker is really like. However, I can say that one school that called me last week spent more time telling me about the smoker, that I needed to go to meet faculty and grad students, etc. than they spent talking about the actual interview. So it must be important in the eyes of some of the SC members.

And as for the comment on shining your shoes. Really, after all that we've suffered to get to this point, is it really too much to shine our shoes? I hope I get a job because the people like my work, but if something as insignificant as this could increase my chances, I'd be stupid not to do it!

Anonymous said...

One more smoker question:

If you have an interview lined up for Saturday, is it inappropriate to introduce yourself at the Friday smoker? Or should you wait for Saturday's?

tt assprof said...

Okay.

(1) TT Newbie: since I'm a tt noob myself, your opinion is as good as mine; but if you're five years out, I think it's totally okay that your current project is no longer dissertation-bound. I think it even makes a good impression if it's not, since it shows you are growing as a philosopher.

In any case, good luck to you!

(2) Anon 12:16. I agree with you that a lot of extra-philosophical superficial considerations are bullshit, but unfortunately they count, probably because we are human beings and human beings run on bullshit.

You don't need the shoes spit shined, but a dusty pair will likely be obtrusive, and that's just not the kind of of thing you want sticking out.

For some reason, a lot of people notice shoes. I have no idea why, but they do.

(3) More on the smoker. Like I said, I hate the smoker. I sucked at them. I've shot my self in the foot because of a couple of them. But you have to go. Let me reiterate some of the reasons why, and then some anecdotes from my personal experience.

(a) It shows you are interested in them.

(b) Everyone else is going, so everyone else is taking that opportunity to make that extra bit of impression.

(c) The SC is there, so I guess they expect you to be too.

(d) Often, like 80% of the time, the SC tells you at the conclusion of the interview that they will be there and they "hope" to see you there too. That is, they're telling you they expect to see you there. They may not even know why, but it's part of the shitty ritual.

(e) Sometimes they don't have a table. But that doesn't mean they won't be there. Because they're all socially awkward nerds, they can be in the middle of NYC and not be able to figure out how to hit the town for fun, so they drift back into the hotel and roam around the banquet hall.

(I mean, these are the kind of people who look for a TGIF in the middle of the East Village for Chrissakes! Have you more experienced folks noticed this, most APA people stick to about a two block radius of the hotel--so to the most boring and crappy part of town?)

And back at the hotel, they inevitably run into one of the people they interviewed, and maybe they hit it off--and you're not that lucky person. You have to go.

(f) Once at an APA I was introduced to a table of interviewers who were wasted. When I asked them if they expected folks to show up for them at the smoker, they were emphatic that they had to. That, if they didn't, they were automatically disqualified. And they were stinking drunk and ready to pummel. Most folks aren't that absolutist about the smoker, but I would say that they do represent the general expectation.

To repeat: despite the expectation, they themselves may not know why they hold this expectation. It's just a time-honored ritual and we're all sheep.

(g) Best method at the smoker is, if your adviser, placement director, someone else on your committee, or some other philosophically mentorish figure in your life, happens to know someone at a table and introduces you as "one of our very best students, probably the best this year, and I hate to see him go 'cause I've learned so much from talking to him over the years."

(h) If memory serves, I believe there are two smokers.

(i) Go to the one AFTER your interview and NOT before your interview. So if you interview with SC-A on Friday, don't go to them on Thursday.
(ii) Possible exception (a): your mentor can introduce you.
(iii) Possible exception (b): you interview on the day after both smokers. In this case, they probably won't expect to see you at the smoker anyway, but you may go to leave a very light impression of yourself as a really nice person.

(4) In my fantasy, I like to believe that at the very best places, or places where the philosophers have integrity and self-respect, nothing counts but your philosophical abilities. But most places aren't the very best, and this probably is just fantasy, and a lot of extra-philosophical considerations are at play at this stage.

Even with good faith, the initial cut of 10-15 candidates from a pool of 100-300, make them difficult to discern in philosophical quality, so arbitrary extra-philosophical considerations will play their role. The interview cum smoker is to help the SC determine, for the most part, whether they can live with you for the next n years. So whether you are a nice, civil person, whether you are a hygenic person, etc., will turn out to be more important than they probably deserve to be.

For example, I smoke. I'm pretty sure that the fact that I smoke has screwed me over on more than one occasion.

In any case, congrats to those with interviews, take heart to those with none (yet--still the rest of the week remains), and good luck to all of you!

lostmarbles said...

Last week I got an acknowledgment letter that has been on the wiki for quite a while as having made its apa decisions. Does this mean that they might still be selecting interviewees, or did the mailman just fall asleep?

Totally Clueless said...

tt assprof and asstro,

That advice is pure gold. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

Come on Augustana, Brandeis, Chicago State, East Tennessee, Florida State, Gonzaga, LSU, Macalester, Seattle U, U Memphis, U Texas, U Virgina, U Wash – get your asses in gear – we’re waiting…

Cranky pants said...

TO: Anon 1:45pm

Dude, check the wiki. A bunch of those places have already called.

Get to know your "refresh" button like the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

they've called SOME people. they haven't necessarily called EVERYONE they plan to interview.

crankier pants said...

cranky pants -- none of the ones I'm looking for are in section II.

Anonymous said...

Hey when Female Department Chair said on another thread that they wouldn't be contacting people until 'next Monday', did she mean today or next week?? No one's actually planning not to contact candidates until the 23rd, are they?

Anonymous said...

My PD has told me repeatedly that SCs are notorious for contacting people right before Christmas - so it's certainly possible FDC meant the 23rd. (Then again, my PD also said this week was supposed to be the "hottest" week. If today is any indication, you could have fooled me. The wiki wasn't exactly off the hook, ya know?)

Anonymous said...

sorry to sound very ignorant, but can someone give me a 2 sentence run-down on what the smoker actually is? i've only heard it mentioned in passing and i have no idea. plus: does one dress up for it, i.e. more so than the interview?

Anonymous said...

The "smoker" is just a crummy reception that happens on the evenings of both of the main days of the APA. Its a big room with tables set aside for each department that is attending. You go, you smooze a bit, you feel awful.

You should dress more or less as you do for you interview--though its permissible, I suppose, to lose the tie and go open-necked if you are a man. No idea what the equivalent thing is for women.

lostmarbles said...

The smoker is a reception that occurs at the end of the day in one of the ballrooms in the hotel. You typically need a ticket, and there's usually a bar set up in the room. There are numbered tables that schools often choose to have designated as theirs, and you are usually given a key to figure out which schools belong to which table. I don't know if you dress up for it or not. I want to bring my closet, but I'm a girl.

Himself said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"If the UK schools are willing to wait that long til their candidates have explored the rest of their options, then the schedule makes sense. But I can't imagine they will be willing to wait that long. So, unless a particular American candidate is just dying to go to (say) Leeds, and is willing to throw the rest of his/her possibilities out the window, it's not clear how much sense it makes."

This may mean multiple things that are compatible with my interpretation. It might mean they plan to snag an American candidate before hu can get any other offers. It alternatively might mean that they don't understand the American hiring cycle (as indeed I myself don't - I did my undergrad in the UK, and can assure you that most UK philosophers have 1. never heard of more than 5 US institutions 2. have no idea how US PhDs work 3. have no familiarity with US philosophy itself). What Leeds, Oxon, UCL do understand is that if they wait till summer to hire, all the good US candidates will already have a job set up.

wikimonger said...

On a side note. I got a letter from a position that was Asst. Prof. AOS and AOC open. In what I take to be a desirable area, although the teaching load was a bit higher than one might like. In the letter they said that they had over 300 applicants.

I actually thought there might be more than this. SC members, does that number sound about right to you?

Does this mean there are roughly 300 hundred of us out there looking for jobs?

Anonymous said...

Between 250-300 give or take. I received a similar acknowledgment letter for a similar position which claimed to have received 240+ applications by the closing date. Someone should tabulate the total number of open TT jobs currently advertised (including jobs with post-APA deadlines) and figure out the exact odds (ceteris paribus) for an individual job-seeker. Then we can factor in our own AOS/AOC to increase or decrease the margin. Fun!

Anonymous said...

Just FYI there is also smoker talk on the post just before this one.

James said...

My guess is that there are certainly more than 300, but from what I've heard, schools average about that many. Not everyone will apply to every open/open. Some realize they don't have a chance at a top school, and some of their numbers are closer to 200, and others won't bother to apply to a school they aren't interested in, and these might get about 300. For a medium level school (where we'd all be happy and we all think we have shots), I've heard the number gets to about 500.

Anonymous said...

300 is definitely too low. At the school you mention I suspect the teaching load was scaring people away.

In my department, candidates typically only apply to 2/2 or 2/3 jobs their first few years out--perhaps 3/3 if it's somewhere they really want to live.

I hear that Vermont a few years ago had 400 plus applications for an assistant open/open. But that makes sense. It's a 2/2 load, and everyone thinks they have a shot.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone with inside info (past or present) comment on the (in)frequency or likelihood of receiving a call for interviews after today from a department that has already contacted one or more candidates for interviews? How (un)common is it for SCs to space out their interview decisions/calls this late into the search?

wikimonger said...

"In my department, candidates typically only apply to 2/2 or 2/3 jobs their first few years out--perhaps 3/3 if it's somewhere they really want to live."

I think very few of us have the luxury of holding out the way your peers do.

The job I am referring to would be a great gig (3-3) in a great city. I am sure that it would be attractive to the vast majority of candidates.

Asstro said...

This is the week, to be sure. If it doesn't happen by friday, go buy a bottle of whisky and try to put it out of your mind. The latest I've ever gotten a call for an interview was December 24. I did, however, arrange and meet a disillusioned SC at the APA once, and got a fly-out, so there's always that possibility.

Anonymous said...

"For some reason, a lot of people notice shoes. I have no idea why, but they do."

Probably because so many philosophers stare at the ground (or at the sky, in the case of Thales) instead of acting socially well-adjusted. I mean, after all, we're not known for our social graces.

Anonymous said...

tt assprof,

I suppose the irony is not lost on you: you smoke, but that in no way helps you at the smoker. you should have been born about 50 years ago!

Anonymous said...

Yesterday was the second time I saw a job I really wanted an interview with appear on the wiki. I'm hoping they're spacing their phone calls out. The good schools are finally starting to fall, and I'm really starting to get worried.

On a positive note, it looks like more people are making use of the wiki and ditto feature. Nine people have posted interviews or rejections for Washington and Lee's open position. I think that's a record so far. Maybe a good example of a school that got shitloads of apps because it's just good enough, but not too good?

anoncandidate said...

Someone wrote: "Can anyone with inside info (past or present) comment on the (in)frequency or likelihood of receiving a call for interviews after today from a department that has already contacted one or more candidates for interviews?"

I have trouble believing anyone knows the odds, but I got a call yesterday from a place that first posted on the wiki on 12/12 and which I had consequently crossed off my list. So it does happen....

Anonymous said...

Christ...what a bunch of fucking little high school tards. Grow some fucking balls, be yourself, and fuck this lame APA-driven popularity contest.

If you have to attend some dinner so that you can get drunk with your would-be boss, if you have to dress up, if you have to do anything other than good philosophy to get a philosophy job, then you should ask yourself why the fuck you went into philosophy in the first place.

will said...

anon 8:48...hmmm...who needs to grow up? Name me one job in which all you do is what you love all the time. Every job has those parts, and really, dressing up and shining your shoes for a few days in hopes of getting a job with more freedom and security than almost anything else out there sounds pretty damn good to me. I'll do it and have no need to question why I went into philosophy...

cw said...

anon 8:48...being yourself is important -- so why can't i be someone who wants to do philosophy *and* have a job in academic philosophy? in any case, if you've got a ph.d. in philosophy and you don't realize yet that professional, academic philosophy is not thoreau at walden, well, then your department didn't do you any favors. is this professional turn unfortunate for philosophy? yes, in many ways. but it also has advantages, including regular paychecks and the possibility of supporting a family by doing something you love. would i change things if i could? sure. but i can't, not now and not alone. what you're saying is worth considering, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't shine our shoes either.

Anonymous said...

Can't we all just get along?