Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sunday Comics

"Smoker." After a much-deserved Festivus hiatus, Soon-to-be-Jaded Dissertator's back, with this vision of the smoker.

(Click to make it big.)

33 comments:

James said...

You know, Pseudo Grad, part of me worried with the comments being moderated, the blog might die down. But you were up last night at 3 am (using the time of the blog) posting up the comments, and then made it back by 9 am to put up Sunday Comics...

I for one want to thank you for your dedication to this blog! I'm glad things like dissertation, possible fly-out prep, and sleep don't keep you away from constantly updating the comments!

And of course, if those things did keep you away, I'd probably be stuck spending more time on my dissertation, fake fly-out prep, and sleep...

Sisyphus said...

So if the robot gets a job will he transform into a cat, walrus, or godzilla-creature?

Or is that a sign he's got no hope because he's not already the right type?

Anonymous said...

Yup, that's what it was like alright! But . . . it's hard to imagine how the monstrous faculty could ignore our tremulous jobseeker if he was smoking a cigarette.

Anonymous said...

Nice comic. Looks like Return of the Living Dead landed at the APA. "Brains! Brains! BRAINS!"

Anonymous said...

just wondering, what animals are these in the (great) comic? walruses? cats?

will philosophize for food said...

"So if the robot gets a job will he transform into a cat, walrus, or godzilla-creature?"

I believe the successful candidate gets a monocle.

tt assprof said...

Some thoughts on rankings and placements from the last thread.

(1) I think Leiter's top-20 do have the best placement records, more or less.

(2) But things get murkier once you hit the bottom half.

(3) You have to keep in mind the Catholic network and the Continental network. These networks are significant enough that a lot of Catholic schools and Continental programs (which do overlap somewhat) that do not show up on Leiter do have good placement records.

Ever hear of AACU or SPEP? These are like parallel philosophical universes.

(4) Brand-name recognition. A number of schools outside Leiter-20 or outside Leiter enjoy brand-name recognition enough to have better placement than schools with perhaps better dept.'s without brand-name recognition. I have in mind, in particular, BU, Northwestern and Emory.

On a related note to (4), I once heard of a chair searching for a middling LAC who received specific instructions from their new dean to hire only from the Ivy League. So crazily enough, he couldn't look at candidates out of NYU, Rutgers or Pitt.

That's an extreme example, but my guess is there is a lot of such weird kinks in the process.

So to echo a comment from the last thread, just for extra-philosophical qua professional reasons, undergrads checking out grad programs should definitely look at the placement record of whichever grad program they're checking out. If for whatever reason, they can't provide year by year, grad by grad, record that discriminates between tt and non-tt placements, from the last ten or so years--that should count as a warning sign.

Anonymous said...

While we're on the subject of the smoker again, I just want to say that I bailed on the smoker, and have now got a fly-out for the one APA interview I had. I mean, I didn't do anything one was supposed to do at the APA, beyond the interview itself, and I have a 100% success rate going on from there. I just want to say this to discourage people, say PGS, for kicking themselves for not bringing their game at the smoker now they haven't been asked to fly out (yet!).

Anonymous said...

one thing that struck me at the smoker was how much it was like a lot of other cocktail-type events at large philosophy (or philosophy of science) conferences. the stakes were certainly higher; but, there are also supposed to be useful chances to "network" at these other events that I hear about from professors, which (in some utopia) increase one's chances of getting a job. given how much alcohol, on average, our field consumes, it's a little surprising that we aren't better conversationalists.

ML said...

I agree. Attending and charming people at the smoker is less mandatory than it used to be. If your interviewers request that you stop by their table during the smoker, then you should do so. At the end of the day, though, many people skip it and do just fine on the job market.

Anonymous said...

I too bailed on the smoker, and have a fly out.

Anonymous said...

Funny thing...philosophers are human beings too, with desires and moral weaknesses. A friend of mine at the APA ended up "hooking up" with some cute faculty member at a university that shall remain nameless. So that's an added benefit of the smoker...at least if you're a gurl. Too bad the university wasn't one of the ones she interviewed with. If it had been, she might have gotten a fly-out for a second rendezvous. Whatever it takes!

anon said...

But then there are less benign cases: a friend was hit on by a faculty member at a school she was interviewing with!

Anonymous said...

I wish the smoker was a true smoker where people still smoked..everyone had a few drinks..after a good steak dinner..a brandy..a job offer was made..and you went home to sleep.

Ahhh..the good ol' days at the Harvard Club in NYC.

Anonymous said...

Going to the smoker won't matter at all if the places you interviewed at don't go. Two of the four places I interviewed with weren't there. They didn't have tables. One had two faculty who showed up the first night to see their friends but didn't interview until the next day and weren't there the second night. The other was interviewing during the smoker the second night (and I interviewed the second day, so I don't know about the first night).

So it's well within the realm of possibility that going or not going is irrelevant. On the other hand, it's clear that lots of places expect you to go and will exclude someone from consideration for not going. So it's worth being there just in case unless you know the places you interviewed at aren't there. Even then it might be nice to commiserate with other candidates from your own school and to catch up with people you haven't seen for a while. Several students in my program were there, and they aren't even on the market.

Anonymous said...

Do I see a sleestack at the comic smoker? I suppose the APA reception can appropriately be characterized as a land of the lost.

Thanks for that!

Ug said...

Job Wiki's down again. Our "political" prankster has struck again. IP address:

68.229.49.30

The address traces to Las Vegas, Nevada, for what little that's worth.

Surely some clever reader can figure out how to revert to the last good edit. What petty pranks these are.

Anonymous said...

What is the magic number for oncampus interviews, doing well on each of them, and having a good chance at getting a job offer? 3?

Anonymous said...

There is no magic number.

chaka said...

Sleestacks make me angry.

James said...

Anon 9:37, by the way I do math, yes.

If they each invite out three candidates and you have three interviews, I think the odds go up to 100%.

But, I did major in philosophy so I could avoid math, so you might not want to trust me on this.

But those of you who have four or more interviews, you should just throw out the rest because the odds begin to go down if you have more than three...and this happens for reasons that are beyond me, but trust me, call those fourth and fifth schools and ask them to move on for your own sake!

Anonymous said...

"What is the magic number for oncampus interviews, doing well on each of them, and having a good chance at getting a job offer? 3?"

It depends on what you mean by "good chance" and "doing well on each of them", but I think the odds are better than you think.

Suppose we define "doing well" as doing well enough that the department will not move down the list and fly out additional people, and that you have no reason to believe you did any better or worse than anyone else who got an invite.

Let us also suppose that there are 3 initial fly-outs per position (typical for schools that interview at the APA).

Let x be the chance that a candidate offered the job declines it. Your chance then of getting an offer from any institution is 1/3 + (1/3)x + (1/3)x^2.

If x is 1/3 (a guess), then you have the following odds of getting at least one offer:

1 "good" flyout)~48%
2 "good" flyouts)~77%
3 "good" flyouts)~89%

Of course, x may be something very different than 1/3 (how could we know?) and you may not be in position to know that you did well enough that they won't move down their list past the initial invites.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:15,

What you say makes perfect sense. I also think that there are higher changes that something like 1/3 (that you propose) will not accept an offer give the working theory that there are a number of candidates with many many oncampus interviews (which, I assume is true accross the board rather than just among places with grad programs. Many rinky-dink places think that they can snag a really good candidate. From the hot candidate's perspective, they do oncampus interviews with places that aren't attractive to them because they need a plan B).

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:15,

It would seem that your chances of having the candidate in front of you decline an offer is best when you are talking about middle tier jobs. The probability of decline goes down from a middle point to better or worse places. This is true of the former because the job will be more and more appealing to a larger and larger number of candidates and true of the latter because the less quality the place hiring the more likely it will have candidates that have less job options.

Anonymous said...

While I'd like to quote the Schoolhouse Rock song ('3 is a magic number'), sadly it is not the case.

I had 3 flyouts last year, and none materialized into a job (granted, I was ABD then, and was still happy with getting that far). (Two places specifically told me I was the second place candidate & that they had liked me very much; one place I never heard back from at all)

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:15,

How did you calculate the percentage for 2 and 3 flyouts?

Anonymous said...

Right, remember that one cannot achieve %100, no matter how many on-campus interviews they obtain, right?

Anonymous said...

Do we take 'higher Leiter ranking' to mean 'better department'? I would be interested to see some discussion of that.

Anonymous said...

I like how when someone abbreviates your name to Pseudo Grad (as in the first comment), you go from being an fakely named grad student to merely a fake one. Use your moderation powers!

Anonymous said...

Anon. 12:54: check this thread if you want that discussion:

http://philosophyjobmarket.blogspot.com/2007/11/king-volcano-gave-me-numbers.html

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:53p made me laugh.

On another note, the probability discussion is not quite right. It's easiest to begin by calculating the probability that you will be first choice for at least one job.

Let's make the followoing (admittedly false) simplifying assumptions: (1) each school invites exactly three candidates to fly out; (2) each of those three accepts the invitation; (3) each of those three has an equal probability of being selected as first choice for that job; and (4) selections of who is first choice for each job are independent of one another.

In this case, if you have one fly-out, the probability of your being the first choice are (obviously) 1/3, or about 33%. If you have two fly-outs, the probability of your being the first choice for at least one of those two is (1/3 + 1/3) - (1/3 x 1/3) = 5/9, or about 56%. And if you have three fly-outs, the probability of your being the first choice for at least one of those three jobs is (5/9 + 1/3) - (5/9 x 1/3) = 19/27, or about 70%.

So here are the probabilities of being first choice at least once, under the above simplifying assumptions:

One fly-out: 33%
Two fly-outs: 56%
Three fly-outs: 70%

And for good measure:

Four fly-outs: 90%
Five fly-outs: 93%

Of course, you don't have to be someone's first choice to get a job offer, because the first choice might turn the job down. Conversely, being first choice does not guarantee you a job offer, either, because the department might decide not to hire anyone after all, or might go back to the candidate pool. But let's make the additional simplifying assumption that the "first choice turns them down" factor outweighs the "no offer to any of the first three fly-outs" factor, in which case the probability of getting a job offer is actually higher than the above numbers indicate.

Okay, this has nothing to do with practicing my job talk....

Anon 7:37p said...

Oops, I made an arithmetic error in the above calculation for 4 & 5 fly-outs. The numbers should be 80% and 87%, respectively -- not 90% and 93%. So, more fly-outs means a higher chance of an offer (obviously), but the probability increases at a decreasing rate.

Here's the general formula for the probability that at least one of two compossible but independent events will occur: prob(a) + prob(b) - [prob(a) x prob(b)].

You can also use 1 - [prob(not a) x prob(not b)]. This gives you the probability of its not being the case that both a and b do not occur; work through the negatives, and you can see that's the same as the probability of at least one of a or b occurring.

Anon 11:15a's first calculation seems right to me (granted his/her own, different assumptions), but the other calculations seem to be a few percentage points too high.

Ok, this still has nothing to do with my job talk.... but I suppose I can somehow rationalize it more easily than whacking penguins...

Anonymous said...

The second formula (1 - [prob(not a) x prob(not b)]) is much easier when you've got lots of variables, e.g. the probability that you'll get a job when you've got something like five interviews. You have five probabilities multiplied together and then subtract it from 1. That's easier than the much more complex version for five variables with the first formula.