Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Show me the money!

So I've been doing some rough calculations and I'm guessing that a fairly full scale application process is going to run in the ballpark of $600-$800 this year.  I'm sure the mailing will get cheaper when I'm not rushing things off to Nov 1 deadlines, but so far I think mailing out each app is going to end up costing something like $10-$18.  This includes sending out my basic app and then seperately sending out my letters.  (It should be noted the super awesome placement committee at my institution is probably going to find some money to reimburse us some unknown amount so that cost should come down). 

Does that sound normal?  Am I too worried about getting applications in "on time"?  Or more generally, outside of paper, ink and postage, what costs am I forgetting?

Regardless, landing a job would totally be worth $600..

-- Second Suitor 

39 comments:

message in a bottle said...

Yikes! I'm trying to get mine out a week ahead of time so I don't have pay so much.

Will Philosophize For Food said...

You're forgetting the cost of the APA itself. Between airfare, hotel, meals and copious amounts of alcohol to wash away the sorrows, one can spend close to $1000. Need a new suit? Shoes? Keep adding.

Anonymous said...

My postage usually runs between $1-$3 per application. I only send those overnight, express or whatever if it's a job I'd absolutely, positively love to have and think I might have inside of a 10% chance of getting it. Otherwise, even if it's a few days past their "soft" deadline, I send it regular post. If it's a hard deadline, I just scratch it off the list.

Anonymous said...

If you have your shit together, each app should cost you no more than $5.00 and that includes postage for both dossier and letters as well as copy costs. If you are sending stuff out priority, 2nd-day, or over-night, then obviously you don't have your shit together.

Broke-Ass SOB said...

Or more generally, outside of paper, ink and postage, what costs am I forgetting?

transcripts?

Anonymous said...

I have only sent two things by priority (=$4.80), the rest by cheap first class. But I guess I am a bit ahead of my deadlines right now. For me, the mailing is one of the cheapest aspects of this process. Far more expensive are plane tickets, clothes, APA hotel.

Anonymous said...

c'mon guys. new clothes aren't going to make one bit of difference here (unless your old clothes are far worse than i think they are). just save your money.

Anonymous said...

Transcripts! Jesus people haven't we gone over this. Send photo copies and if they offer you the job, then you give the real thing to them. And say in your letter that you will provide official transcripts if necessary. It never is for the interview stage.

Skeptinautika said...

Part of the issue with postage isn't just "cheap-ass first-class" vs. "priority/express/overnight" -- it's also the size of the dossier being mailed out. If it's sufficiently hefty, then the $4.80 flat rate for priority mail isn't such a bad deal (assuming that you're able to send the letters of rec cheaply). That shouldn't put you over ~$8/app, even with the bulkiest apps.

As for the cost of the APA itself, "holy shit" doesn't even begin to cover it. Plane ticket + "student rate" (ha!) room + new interview clothes & shoes + presentable-looking haircut + measly fellowship stipend = bankruptcy. (This is going to require a zero-interest loan from my partner, methinks...)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, student rate at the APA hotel if you're lucky. If you happen to be a post-Phd in a one year gig, then you pay the full rate. I know, I know, we get paid more that TAs, but somehow it doesn't seem like I have any more money. Maybe it's all the moving expenses.

Ken

Anonymous said...

A few things:

1. Don't send your dossier by anything other than standard first-class or priority mail. Anything else may gum up the university mail system. Overnight packages may be delivered to odd places on Campus, requiring a special trip.

If you are near the deadline, it doesn't matter. No department is so stupid as to throw out applications if they are a day or two late. And if there is such a department, it is populated by idiots or ruled by an unacceptably rigid bureaucracy. Hence, it can go fuck itself. You should not work there. You'd be better off as a toll taker.

2. Don't send transcripts. It's unreasonable to ask for transcripts, even copies. This kind of shit just isn't important. It's not an excuse to say, well the administration makes us. If the department can't conduct the search as it sees fit, without excessive administrative oversight, it's not a good place to work. I don't care how desperate you are.

3. Don't wear a suit at the APA. You'll look like a fool.

juniorperson said...

By all means wear a suit at the APA if you wish--noone will think badly of you for it. Anon. 5.09 is flat-out wrong here. FWIW, I've secured fly-outs and jobs wearing both a good suit, and the loudest tweed jacket you can imagine, so it doesn't make that much difference provided you're dressed within a sensible range. Far more important, frankly, is (a) whether you're comfortable, and (b) fit. That alteration tailor at your local dry cleaner? He or she is cheaper than you think, and is worth every penny! Plus, spending a lot of money on a suit can lead to you being anxious about keeping it clean, which is another good reason not to do so. You'll be nervous enough anyway.

Clothes shouldn't cost much, either--there are these places called "thrift stores", which are surprisingly good for interview attire. (My good suit, mentioned above? $10, plus $20 for tailoring. My tweed? $5.) Don't look down upon them--some of the clothes are either new, or nearly so. So, although it's a bt hit and miss it's worth perusing them for a while.

Asstro said...

No. A suit may make you look like a fool, but only if you look like a fool in a suit. If you can pull your shit together to look nice, you should look nice. You should not look like a grad student. That's the big error. You need to look like a faculty member, like someone who is a grown up and an adult. We went through this last year, but you need to do what you can to look serious. In most cases, this will involve making yourself look much nicer than you do when you head home for the holiday parties.

Anonymous said...

3. Don't wear a suit at the APA. You'll look like a fool.

Sorry, buddy -- you have to wear a suit. True, everyone knows who the candidates are, and maybe that's embarrassing, but you've just got to do it. It shows respect for the people interviewing you.

Anonymous said...

11:53 here again. Anon 5:09 is wrong about transcripts: Do send copies if they ask for them. Two things: (i) sometimes they want to see what grad classes you took, and if whether or not you list them on your CV is irrelevant. They want to see. (ii) If you don't send them and they want them, they will ask you to mail them. I know b/c I tried the "don't bother" with the transcripts part before. Buy one official copy and make photocopies.

This is to say that transcripts are a bit more than just an admin issue. They can be useful like determining if you can teach that phil mind class when you have never taken a seminar in phil mind.

yet another TT faculty person said...

Regarding transcripts, heeding this advice from Anon 5:09 would be reckless:

"Don't send transcripts. It's unreasonable to ask for transcripts, even copies. This kind of shit just isn't important."

5:09, how do you know what's important to some other department? I've been on searches where we both asked for and looked at transcripts. If the ad asks for something, it would be foolish not to send it. Ignoring parts of an ad comes off as hubris, and that's a turn-off to any search committee

I think there's no problem with sending photocopies of transcripts, or at least asking if a copy is okay. Keep in mind that most search committee members are nice people who were once poor graduate students themselves.

As others have said, 5:09 is also wrong about the suit. When it comes to clothes, search committees care mostly about whether you are capable of dressing in an appropriately professional way. Wearing a suit is sufficient (although not necessary) to demonstrate this. I think men can get away with a sport coat, decent-looking pants, and a tie.

mr. zero said...

Re: suit wearing.

These guys are right. You must wear a suit. If you don't have one, get it now and wear it around. Practice wearing a necktie, too. If you're at an interview and you've never worn a suit before, it will be obvious--the goal is to look good, and you won't. You'll look uncomfortable.

Anonymous said...

This is interesting. Do people really see it as disrespectful not to wear a suit? Most candidate weren't wearing suits last year. So many rude people. . . . Those that did looked very strange. You don't want to look like a fool or a budding administrator. You certainly don't want to look like an MBA. (I heard that they take part of your frontal lobe during the MBA degree confirmation ceremony. Is this true?)

How could any graduate student look comfortable in a suit? Where would they get the practice? And who the hell can afford a good one? Cheap suits are ugly and good ones are a waste of money for a philosopher.

If are offended by the non-suit wearing, then you can fuck off.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if there's some confusion about 'suit' here. (a three-piece suit? a decent blazer and slacks?) Anyway...

Candidates ought to look presentable, mature, and somewhat clean. If you can pull that off without a tie and blazer, fine. If you look professorial in a suit (and not like a member of the Bush administration or a trial lawyer), fine. Successful job candidates just coming out of graduate school tend not to look like graduate students.

Also, just my two-cents on the APA costs incurred by recent Ph.D's and VAP's (flights, hotels, etc): It is a disgrace to the profession that we haven't figured out some way of treating assistant-level job candidates like respectable human beings.

Anonymous said...

Wearing a suit "shows respect for the people interviewing you"? Not. Apparently, though, there are uptight traditionalists out there who believe that it does.

So perhaps the advice should be to err on the side of caution--unless you really wouldn't want to work with uptight traditionalists who would think you're dissing them by not wearing a suit.

What "shows respect" to your interviewers is being prepared for your interview. So, for example, be able to explain not only what your dissertation is about but also why you take it to be interesting (sadly, this is not obvious to a surprising number of candidates).

Most importantly, never try to fake the funk when interviewing for a position for which you aren't already qualified. Grad students coming from top programs (e.g., Princeton) too often are under the impression that they can just wing it in certain areas (e.g., ethics). This is disrespectful and, presumably, almost always bound to fail--especially when interviewing with fairly good departments, with specialists in the areas at issue in the room.

Anonymous said...

Gentlemen, it's true that we look like fools in suits, but this is partly because of the fit of the suit and the funny shapes of our bodies. It is worth developing a relationship with a tailor who can take our crappy suits and make them look decent on our paunchy desk-deformed frames.

In any mid-sized city you can find excellent and reasonably priced tailors. You may have to leave your white neighborhoods to do this, but you can manage it big man. Folks who do alterations for quinceaƱera dresses will usually be able to (or can recommend someone to) fix your nasty ass Men's Wearhouse clearance spectacular.

Then, especially if you're a t-shirt guy, wear the suit and the shoes a couple of times to break it in and to feel comfortable in it.

Anonymous said...

You don't have to wear a tie

Anonymous said...

Well, if you haven't mailed your materials already, you can save a few bucks on the VMI position. I was informed via e-mail that the position will not be funded due to "the recent events on Wall Street".

Anonymous said...

APA Next Year: NYC in high season.

AOS:Aaarrgh! said...

Are we going to go through this whole suit/non-suit thing again? Are we then going to move on to the tie/no-tie issue? And will this only be followed by the infinitely complex issues of what women should and shouldn't wear?

Fine... speaking in issues of men's fashion, I completely agree with asstro... if you look like a fool in a suit, don't wear a suit. (And, as juniorperson aptly points out, a good way to look like a foot in a suit is to wear one that doesn't fit you properly.) Of course, if you want to go with a jacket and some nice slacks, knock yourself out. Wear a tie, don't wear a tie--whether or not you get a job is not going to hang on these things. That said, it might hang on whether or not you're comfortable and at the same time reasonably professional (so, if you choose the no-suit-route, don't go with track pants and a beater), or whether or not you at least look like someone they might not be ashamed to have wandering the department (some might not care about your mohawk and Led Zeppelin shirt, but some--quite reasonably--might). In the end, you want your interviewers focusing on you, not on what you wear.

Anonymous said...

So, again, this is re-hashed from last year, but hey kids, 20% of us are women, making ties 'n' shit a non-issue.

But I am curious about women's clothing for the APA. It has been my impression that suits are less of a requirement for women than for men, (who knows exactly why), but I wonder if going the shirt-sweater-skirt route is too informal. Ladies out there, (or I guess anyone who has been on the hiring side), thoughts?

mr zero said...

Do people really see it as disrespectful not to wear a suit? Most candidate weren't wearing suits last year. So many rude people. . . .

I agree with the people who pointed out that we went over this ad nauseam last year, when this line of thinking was thoroughly debunked. It is a job interview. Adults who are interviewing for professional-type jobs (the kind of job you need post-college schooling to be qualified for) wear suits. (Also, you know what's uncomfortable? Being in a room with 800 people where you're the only one not wearing a suit.) (Also, wearing a suit and being otherwise prepared are not mutually exclusive.) (Also, it is much easier for your interviewers to focus on you as opposed to what you are wearing if what you are wearing is appropriate for the occasion.)

Anonymous said...

8:56,

There's a non-zero chance you're referring to me (esp. if you are a school in California). If so, I want to apologize and say that I really was interested in the job. I did have some excuses - I got very sick at the APA, I ran out of time to prepare - but overall, I felt terrible for having wasted your time, especially when one of you was so interested in my research and took a chance on me.

If I'm not the person you're referring to, then maybe that person feels the same way.

Anonymous said...

"Well, if you haven't mailed your materials already, you can save a few bucks on the VMI position. I was informed via e-mail that the position will not be funded due to "the recent events on Wall Street"."

The same goes for the University of San Francisco position.

That was quick . . .

Anonymous said...

Job searches being canceled in the midst of the economic downturn would perhaps merit a post of its own. I know people ON search committees visit this blog. Perhaps they'd be willing to share information and rumors under the cover of anonymity?

Anonymous said...

There aren't 800 people wearing suits at the APA. Almost no one wears suits. And you don't have a clue about jobs outside of academia. If you aren't interviewing at a bank or for an accounting position, a suit is generally a sign of idiocy, not respect. It shows that you are clueless. Well, ok, not all suits. . . .

Anonymous said...

11:10,

As a woman, I suggest to you women that you wear suits too. But I suggest you ask a female professor in your department if you are unsure, or if you're wondering about a particular suit substitute.

Anonymous said...

"Well, if you haven't mailed your materials already, you can save a few bucks on the VMI position. I was informed via e-mail that the position will not be funded due to "the recent events on Wall Street"."

"The same goes for the University of San Francisco position."

The same goes for Xavier in Cincinnati.

Anonymous said...

Everyone just needs to look professional. Women can get away with looking professional without necessarily wearing a suit. (Although some women actually can't do this). In this way, women have it a little bit easier, b/c if they feel stiff and weird in a suit, they don't have to, and shouldn't wear one. (I think men should always wear them, on the other hand. The fact is that the overwhelming majority (90%?) of men wear suits to the interviews. Men: the only way to go wrong is by not wearing a suit. No one will judge you for wearing a suit, b/c everyone else is. Some people might judge you for not wearing a suit. So just wear a damn suit and get on with it).

I'm a woman; I've done successful interviews in suits, and in sweater sets, and so on. As a general rule, go for something more formal and professional than what you teach in, especially if you are a grad student. (That's important: by no means do you want to look like a graduate student; you want to look like their colleague).

mr zero said...

There aren't 800 people wearing suits at the APA. Almost no one wears suits.

Bullshit. I was at the smoker last year. If you were, you know that the room was jammed with people, almost all of whom were in suits. If not suits, jacket-and-tie outfits. If not that, then they were women (who have more options, but must still manage to somehow look professional. I'm glad I'm not a woman--things are much simpler for men. Sorry, ladies). If not, then conducting the interviews. If not, then soon-to-remain-unemployed.

Look. It's not that big of a deal. It's not as though we're being asked to dress up like Batman. You don't have to strike fear in the hearts of evildoers. You just have to come across like a competent adult who can properly dress himself. Or herself. If that seems like too tall an order, I wonder how you ever managed to write a dissertation.

You can find decent-looking suits for not much money if you try. Check out thrift stores and eBay.

crankypostdoc said...

On transcripts: I don't mind sending them, as Grad U. is willing to do that for free. What is really douchebaggy, hear this, hear this, is when institutions ask for UNDERGRAD transcripts. Undergrad U. only started getting with the program and allowing people to order these online last year. They charge for it, and they have a ridiculously complicated process where you have to fax a consent form. Folks on SCs, get over yourselves. Just because what's her name at MIT was found to have forged her credentials doesn't mean you can force us to jump through all these hoops.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we need to get more specific on what constitutes a suit. I too was at the smoker last year and the year before and almost no one was wearing suits. The smokers are far less formal than the interview tables. But event there, almost no one was wearing suits, except for a few odd balls. I don't consider a blazer and slacks a suit. To be a suit the blazer and pants must be of the same material, and some other stuff. Perhaps I'm not very perceptive about these things. I'm going to try an count the suits this year. . . .

Anonymous said...

"On transcripts: ...Folks on SCs, get over yourselves."

No thanks.

We (moderately selective LAC) want to see your UG transcript. An unofficial copy is fine for us, because we know it's an expensive hassle and we aren't trying to uncover fraud--we're trying to get to know you as a future teacher of undergraduates. Nothing in there is going to count against a candidate, but more than once something has provoked a question that really helped us and the candidate.

Of course, if talking at length about how you might engage undergraduates doesn't interest you (and some people it legitimately doesn't, that's ok), or if you're inclined to think we're assholes because we ask for something that you see no reason for, then we'll both be happier if you refuse to apply for our jobs, or fail to complete your application.

Anonymous said...

Gee, I disagree with everything Anon 5:09 says. I've had applications not considered because they were a day or two late, and when I checked with departments they said they had firm deadlines. It's really stupid to not bother with an otherwise interesting job because you're on your high horse and don't think depts. should have firm deadlines. It's a buyer's market, and they can set the terms. Ditto transcripts.

When you send overnight, put a f****** phone number in the space where it says "phone number." If they can't find the right department, they'll call them. It's known as rocket science, Mr. Anon.

And I wear suits at conferences because, like Will Smith, I look good in them. Mr. Anon, maybe you're a drooling troll so it doesn't matter, but not all of us are.