Thursday, January 3, 2008

I Ran 'Till I Thought My Chest Would Explode

Anxiety level update: I've been decompressing nicely post-APA, and for the last few days I've even had a cup of coffee a day without feeling like my heart was going to explode. But I just made the mistake of going for the day's second cup, to help me push through some paper revisions. And now I'm pretty sure I feel like John Candy did when he was doing coke, heroin, and meatball subs all in the same night.


P.G.O.A.T. said...

Speedball meatballs! Brutal!

Anonymous said...

What do people going through this process expect to make in an annual salary? I know it will vary, so I guess decent tenure track jobs that would come about from this process. Just curious.

strand said...

I believe you're thinking of Chris Farley. John Candy simply had a heart attack.

Pseudonymous Grad Student said...

strand --

Maybe you're right. But in Candy's case, I always assumed the heart attack in question was induced by speedballs. Maybe I just made that up, though, and mistook it for a memory? Wouldn't be the first time. . . .

strand said...

Belushi and Farley were both speedballing, as I recall--more of that insidious emulation thing Farley seemed to fall into.

Best of luck w/interviews.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:25 asked a question many of us are dying to see answered. Of my friends who got jobs in recent years (ahead of me in the program) one had a starting salary of $50K and another with $60K (both good public schools). Is that what the range is these days? I have a creeping feeling that these two are lucky, actually.

Asstro said...

An answer to the salary question:

A different answer: not a whole helluva lot. On the other hand, it depends on what you do and where you end up. Major research universities tend to pay better than middle tier schools, and, curiously, community colleges apparently pay quite well.

It's actually a good question. As soon as the lucky third of you get to the hiring phase, you'll need to know what your options are. Most of the time, you won't have many. But some lucky minority of you will have some decisions to make. When that happens, you have leverage. Best to know how to use that leverage.

Asstro said...

I'll follow up with this comment: I was actually on the luckier end. I had the good fortune to entertain multiple offers at once, ranging initially from $45 to $60K. I did, in fact, get into a bargaining situation on several of them, albeit over a few thousand dollars here and there, as well as over research budgets and other benefits. There's a whole discussion that needs to happen around this, though perhaps not yet. Mid-Feb is a slightly better time for it.

Short version now: Abandon correctness for a moment and acknowledge that some schools are viewed as better than others. An offer from PoDunk U, for instance, is often viewed as less attractive than an offer from BigShit PhD school. But don't get the wrong idea. That's only half of the picture. All SCs also acknowledge agent-relative reasons (oh, what the fuck, it's a philosophy blog, right?) that influence the value of an offer. PoDunk MA institution may be more attractive to Gum Chewer McHickitude who hails from RedNeck City than even a generous offer from NoseThumbing U.... unless the price is right. Yada, yada, yada. Each school will adopt a strategy to win their candidate and so won't offer more than what they understand as the less attractive school, both in their own eyes _and_ in the eyes of the candidate. Because each candidate will have slightly different reasons for preferring one job over another job, SCs, chairs of departments, and deans will all need to weigh this when coming back at candidates with better offers.

You get the picture. Basically, all of this to say that if you think you may be one of the few in a position eventually to bargain, it may be wise to (cautiously) reveal some of your hand during your fly-out. Yes, you'd love a job at Hotshit University, but PoDunk, where you're also interviewing, has palm trees, sandy beaches, and smells of your mama, whom you love.

tt assprof said...

Some things to keep in mind when it comes to wages.

(1) Compression. Especially at state schools in states that poorly fund higher education, there is a phenomenon known as "compression."

Compression means that you barely receive cost of living raises and nothing else.

So often, a tt assprof four years in, will make less money than the new hire. In esp. terrible cases, an associate prof. will make less than the new hire.

What is deceptive is this. Often state schools will offer more than a comparable private school at the starting end; but, thanks to compression, that will be more or less where you'll be stuck for a very long time to come.

At the stage around which you are offered a position, you might want to ask about that.

(2) Last year, one place offered me $46K, and another offered me $58 K.

Big difference, right?

But at the 46K place, with that money, I could have bought a house right away.

But at the 58K place, it seems there is no hope of my ever buying real estate without external funds (dead relatives or rich spouse).

Keep in mind the relationship between cost of living in the area and the numerical figure of the salary. When you take that into consideration, the numerical value may wind up meaning less than expected.

(3) What you also want to figure out is this. Usually, you're supposed to get a big bump in pay between assistant grade and associate grade.

But not all places are like this.

At some places, the big bump comes in between associate and full.

But, especially at poorly funded state and Catholic places, you don't get much of a raise at all between ranks.

For instance, in addition to cost of living adjustments, I can only expect a 10% bump once I'm promoted to assoc. prof. But I'm supposed to be lucky. Because a good friend of mine at a middling Catholic school got no promotion raise at all--just a cost of living adjustment.

At schools like this, the only way to get serious raises is through counter-offers.

(4) I've always asked how much I'll be paid when I get around to talking to a dean-level officer at a school, and here's the sense I have about the range of salaries to be expected:

Between $45K and $60K.

(5) Reality check.

My guess is that the average PhD candidate in philosophy receiving funding is making maybe 14-15K a year.

That's terribly little money, right?

But you're not taxed that much, so you get to keep almost all of it.

Now on the surface, if you land a gig at 50K, it'll look like you're making three times as much.

But after the taxes, it will be closer to twice as much.

And twice terribly little is still not much.

I still eat ramen. (Now granted, as it turns out, if you get accustomed to eating a lot of ramen, after a while, you develop a taste for it; and, sadly, much too often, it becomes a dish of choice.)

Anonymous said...

I am a visiting assistant professor, and I make $65,000, plus research allowance and benefits.

Don't get ripped off.

Anonymous said...

tt assprof,

You are so awesome.

Anonymous said...

People should start updating the Wiki. I know that several of the section II jobs have already contacted people for fly-outs (not me, so I can't update them).

Anonymous said...

So how does this work with contacting for fly-outs? Do they usually schedule them all at once, or does it take a while to schedule one before they move to schedule the next? Or does it vary? If a department I interviewed at is already listing as scheduling one, should I expect them to have probably scheduled all of them, and I'm out?

I'm also curious how many fly-outs most places who interview at the APA tend to give. One place I interviewed with told me how many they're doing, and compared to the number they interviewed the chances of getting one seem slim (1/10, to be exact). But I know my own department will bring a higher number and interviewed fewer people (with a rate more like 1/5 or maybe even 1/4 getting a fly-out). Is there a usual number to expect, or does it vary?

The Answer Man/Woman said...

1) If School X has already contacted someone about fly-outs and you have not been so contacted, then after a day or two grace period, you will not be so contacted.

2) Most places will flyout 3 candidates.

3) Your DVD remote is under the couch behind the chew toy.

that guy said...

In some cases, maybe a large number of candidates will rise to the top. That might mean more flyouts (say, maybe 1 out of 2 or 3); or it might mean that, even if you don't get a flyout, the department is still very interested and if the top 2-4 candidates go elsewhere they're hoping you'll still be available later. The problem is that there's no way for the candidate to know how many candidates the department is really interested in.

Anonymous said...

Just got contacted with an on-campus interview offer. They told me they're only interviewing two on campus for the position. I am told it is almost unheard-of to interview so few.

Prof. J. said...

Anon 3:28,

Congrats! I hope it's someplace warm.
It's not unheard of two bring in just two candidates, but it's quite unusual.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:28 p.m., any chance you could give a hint of where you're interviewing? (Just a hint?)

Kat Killer said...

Second the call for a hint!!!

Hey, you're anon anywho...

And the school would only have a 50/50 chance of guessing who you are...

Anonymous said...

i think places often bring in less candidates per position when they have multiple positions to fill. It definitely ups your odds, but if they aren't happy with any of the candidates I suspect they're also more likely to go further down the list -- so do well!

Anonymous said...

I know of one place with two jobs that's planning to bring at least three candidates per position. One of the members of one of the search committees is going to push for four out of the worry that the best candidates will get snatched up but will be worth inviting just in case.