Thursday, January 24, 2008

If You Don't Love Me, Lie to Me

There's a thread on the Chronicle forums right now that's covering a lot of the same ground I've covered in conversations with various people on the job market over the last couple of months. Do you think the wiki's a good thing or a bad thing?

I like the wiki, because how the fuck else am I going to get any information about jobs I've applied to? Search committees sending effortless, but timely and considerate updates? No, seriously. How the fuck am I supposed to find out about jobs I've applied to? But the haters say the wiki's bad because all it ever gives you is bad news. Now, to me this sort of has the air of George Costanza avoiding his girlfriend because he knew she was going to break up with him and he figured if he avoided her she'd never the get the chance. But whatever.

My point here is, I'm starting to think you can actually tell something interesting about a person by how they feel about the wiki. What it comes down to is this. Which would you rather not have: bad news or false hope?


Kalynne Pudner said...

Oh, boy, I am going to be slathered in ridicule for this comment, but I've finally given up hope of figuring it out by contextual clues in the posts:

What exactly is the "wiki"? And why is it a credible authority on the jobs you applied for? Is it just the Chronicle forum?

I was thinking it might be listed in the "Glossary of Obnoxious Jargon," but everything there is obnoxious jargon I actually know.

Pseudonymous Grad Student said...

Kalynne --

My bad. I got lazy with my links. Anyway, now the links are added, so you can click through and behold the wiki in all it's glory.

James said...

I am in no reliable position to judge this sort of thing, but it at least appears to me -- having read this blog last year and seeing various comments on this topic -- that the wiki, regardless of whether you think it is good or bad intrinsically, is changing how honest the schools are in their dealings with us. Sure not all of them, but I've been pleasantly surprised by the percentage of schools that have been updating me in my personal rejection status on a timely basis (shortly after I figure it out using the wiki). If the wiki gets some schools to hand out more honest information, how bad could it be?

Anonymous said...

I think the wiki gives plenty of false hope as well as good news - especially at the flyout and offer stages.

Currently, the wiki lists about 100 jobs at the APA interview stage.
Leaving aside the few non-US institutions, that number is ridiculous.

I'd guess the vast majority of those places have contacted one or more candidates. (Notice how the updates have slowed drastically of late - just about nobody's getting a first-round call now).

The reason for this is obvious. Only 2-4 typically get that initial call, and odds are good none know of the wiki or bother to update it.

Without the wiki, one would harbor little hope as February rolls around.

cgi overrun said...

For me, the wiki was a bad thing at the pre-interview stage. I applied to a lot of jobs, and there would be days where I'd go 0 for 6 or 0 for 7 on getting interviews, and that was tough to see. But when it came to the on-campus interview stage, that's when I wanted to know either way (good or bad...all bad in my case).

Anonymous said...

To be successful, most any blog needs precisely what you've here provided: more George Costanza references!

"oh [the wiki's] got cache, baby! it's got cache up the YIN-YANG!!!"

Anonymous said...

I've basically stopped checking the wiki after the APA. Maybe that's because I got so few fucking interviews that it's no longer worth it, or maybe it's because now I'm liable to just learn when other people have been offered the jobs I wanted. When I know who they are I can google them and maybe learn something, but finding I'm out of the running just doesn't do me any good.

That said, I just checked it based on your post, for only the 2nd or 3rd time this month, and I see that relatively few offers have been made so far. So maybe a bi-monthly glance would do me good for the next, well, two weeks. Then Leiter will open up his list of people who've accepted offers, and I'll start checking that instead.

Anonymous said...

I like the wiki, for the reasons PGS has articulated. Search committees are NOT forthcoming with information in many cases, and they just expect us to sit back, cool our heels, and chill while they do whatever it is they do (sometimes at a glacial pace).

Anonymous said...

I LOVE the wiki

A. I've told people on search committees last year - "Look, it's going to be up on the WIKI - you'd better call people today and tell them where they stand"

B. It's not ALWAYS bad news. Fly backs showed up on the wiki. A few days later, I got a flyback.

C. If a couple of weeks have gone by - It's bad news. However, that allows you to consolidate your efforts to the schools that haven't posted flybacks yet. I do a lot of research on the schools I get flybacks for - no point in wasting my time on a school I know I'm not getting a flyback for.

D. Analogy: Some say that the anticipation of pain or possibility of pain(over a long period of time) is more psychologically damaging than experiencing the pain.

I'm no cognitive scientists (here's to armchair psychology) - but it seems like it's worse to sit around for weeks (even MONTHS!) agonizing than it is to just get the bad news out of the way a few weeks after the APA.

Continental Pissant said...

The wiki may be incomplete, and not a comprehensive tally of everything taking place, yes. But other than the personal contact network, it's job candidates' only way of knowing what's going on.

Departments tend not to be any help. This week I wrote the two departments that interviewed me, asking where they were in their process, and whether I was still under consideration. The first one hasn't bothered to respond. Here's the response from the second one:

"Thank you for your interest in our position. The search committees
have not made any final decisions yet."

Kind of says it all, doesn't it?

Now imagine life WITHOUT the wiki; I would have virtually no way of knowing anything whatever about what is or isn't happening.

The wiki may not be perfect, but my world, at least, is a lot better with it than without it.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the wiki, I agree that it is helpful for the most part. However, it doesn't have the kind of finality that I require for my psychological well-being. I am waiting to hear about whether two SGs have contacted folks for flyouts and I have a feeling that they will never be updated on the wiki.

Anonymous said...

False hope, for sure.

Anonymous said...

To 9:32 AM,
Why don't you name the 2 SCs you are interested in and see if anyone on this blog knows anything?
I posted a question on Iowa State and received an answer from someone who had phoned them-before it ended up on the Wiki. It's worth a shot...(I'd tell you if I knew something)

remus lupin, abd said...

Insofar as information like this can help you make better decisions (should I be focusing more on my non-market-related work, or on preparing a job talk?), it seems like the benefits outweigh the harms.

Anonymous said...

I'm a little curious why some people (or maybe it's just one doing it repeatedly?) abbreviate "search committees" as "SGs". Are we talking about surgeons general here, or is this an abbreviation for an actual alternative term?