We held our first job-seekers meeting yesterday afternoon, spent a couple of
hours going over each other’s CV and talking through how we rank criteria for
the jobs we will soon pursue. I use pursue loosely and with a
string of asterisks, of course, since this year I am only something like
one-tenth on the market and nine-tenths not. I mean that I am going
through the material preparations processes as if I am on the market and
will only apply for positions too sweet to resist, provided, also, that I’m
making progress on the diss. Why? Well, it would take an offer somewhere
in the ball park of a
five-year contract and 27.5 million a year for us to relocate before Ph.’s
senior year of high school. Make that 30 mil. On top of that, it’s not
especially ethical or wise (in terms of reputation-building) for me to court
jobs I have no genuine interest in filling from the outset. While I would
like to dangle a toe in the waters of interviewing and giving job talks, I won’t
be pitching jobs for that reason alone. The process is too grueling for
candidates and committees to tie up everyone’s time and resources on my
desire for full-on play-acting the year before I go on the market in earnest.
Better to spend those energies building bridges (i.e., writing, conferencing,
etc.) rather than dismantling them.
I have a fairly short list of criteria for my optimum job (#1. It pays. #2.
Fringe benefits, such as health insurance. #3. The institution is accredited.
#4. Not more than a 5/5 load. And so on…). But after those factors, I
understand that there are many, many variables involved that have bearing on a
candidate’s fit, several of which are outside of the candidate’s control.
There’s enough to say about this that I probably ought to make it a separate
entry rather than ramble through it all right now. Jeff’s point about
good colleagues resonates with me. Entering
an embattled department, while possible (I accept!), is not how I want to
live out my first years on the job. May I be so fortunate as to land in a
program where people like and respect each other, where they get along
professionally even if they are not best chums.
What else came up in the meeting? The bullet-by-bullet-by-bullet:
- We talked about institutional differences, from R1 and R2 to
comprehensive colleges, liberal arts colleges, community colleges, and
technical colleges. Expectations are all over the map–likely to
fluctuate quite a bit among the types.
- How are administrative duties distinct from forms of service? My
notes have it that administration places a clearer emphasis on leadership
and responsibility, where service is a slightly different designation for
involvement (committees, advising, etc.).
- Fledgling CVs ought not to look qualification-desperate. Use care
in over-logging the minutiae of every meeting you attended in your graduate
program. It fills a CV’s pages, but there’s no substitute for a
demonstrable record of research, teaching, and service (no matter the
extraneous yarns and additives). Along these lines, I described my own CV as
the junk-drawer version. I’m still in the mode of tossing everything
into it, but I understand that filtering is due before it would circulate to
any hiring committee.
- Connected to this previous point, we talked about whether there are
risks involved with keeping online versions of materials that don’t match
verbatim with paper-bound materials. In other words, must an online CV
be an exact match with the copy that goes off in pursuit of a job?
Probably (right?). Transclusive texts–those existing in multiple
versions–can lead to unnecessary confusion, and confusion over a
candidate’s record can be disastrous.
- What are the ethics involved for graduate students listing in-progress
publications on their CVs? On the one hand, we want the CV to do the
work of answering what we’re working on now. "Oh, it says here that
you have an article in-progress." But should an article ever be
listed on the CV before it is sent out? In other words, how many
different designations are appropriate for in-progress works: submitted,
under consideration, in-progress, under review, accepted, etc.? I’m of a
mind to err on the side of conservativism for this one. Seems risky to
list anything that hasn’t been touched by the USPS (or an editor’s email
server for electronic submissions).
- My articulation of the conditions surrounding the ideal job got me
thinking more about my own confidence. I am a confident teacher; I am
learning to be a confident researcher. I have no concerns whatsoever about
being a good colleague, a steady contributor when it comes to service,
administration, and so on (unless I fail to say no and end up taking
on too much). But the teaching/research confidence issue leaches into my
description of the ideal job. In other words, I still find it much
easier to discuss the appeal I find in teaching-intensive appointments
compared to research-intensive appointments. Might be true for many
graduate students who have taught extensively but who have published
considerably less if at all.
Next meeting in +/- three weeks when we take up job letters.