Sunday, September 9, 2007

There are some things money can't buy. For everything else...

The 2006 Job Search Revisited










Not getting a single flyback or job offer: Pr ---- hey, what the fuck?

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I sent out 57 applications last year, by the way. I’m sure I forgot some expenses; I was keeping track of them for a while last year but as things got crazy I stopped, needing those brain cells for something else. For a cost breakdown of a full job search, complete with job offer, someone published an account of her final dissertation year here.

There’s a small patch of good news this year: our school's dossier service will now let us charge it to our credit card rather than pay cash on the barrel or with a check. That’s a big deal if you’re trying to send out applications in fall before getting your first paycheck or loan.

I’ll also commend our department: it allows us to use for free: the Job Information List, the copier, dept. letterhead, paper and printing; it also provides envelopes and mails your applications as long as you don’t want it sent in a rush (which sometimes you have to as you get avalanched by the craziness).

Search committees also seem to have moved towards asking for less stuff in the first pass, which helps those of us who aren’t getting assistance from our departments (although many of those places where I sent out just a letter and CV never contacted me for more stuff, sniff.) I would really urge departments to not ask for transcripts until at least the second pass or preferably as part of flybacks, cause it’s just silly for all 600 million of us applicants to enrich our schools by another 5 bucks.

11 comments:

heu mihi said...

Hear hear. Sending out transcripts with the initial application materials does seem unnecessary. It's an extra $4 at my uni, which isn't horrendous, but it does add up. Plus it's an extra trip to a completely different building (or, now that I don't live nearby, an extra thing to try to get into the mail on time). Luckily very few schools ask for that right away.

Anyway, I sympathize with your expenses. But hey--that's a great deal on the suit! And good for your school, covering your application mailing and copying costs. I wonder if my department would've helped out if it had ever occurred to me to ask...? I did lift a lot of paper from the copier, though, so I can't really complain.

Kisha said...

dooh! good luck!

adjunct whore said...

ok. again. i can't read you until i start my job letter which will be wednesday, after i turn in said late project.

seriously, i might puke! i look forward to sharing the pain with you though.....

medieval woman said...

Ugh - the job market sucks - 'taint no doubt! You asked me what my job market road looked like in a comment on one of my posts - I'll answer (not so) briefly here:

I went out 3 times - first time arguably way too early: 3 interviews, 1 flyback, they hired someone else (looking back on it, thank the gods!). That year I defended my diss in August and took a VAP at a SLAC where the students rocked but the place sucked canal water (heu mihi knows the place I'm talking about). Second time on the market: 6 interviews, 2 flybacks (one of which had me out just as window dressing for a national search where they hired the inside candidate - a pox on them). That year, rather than renew my VAP at SLAC (where I would have been alone and very sad), I went with The Dutchman to his t-t job at Dutchman Univ. and taught as an adjunct in the Spring in two different departments (no fall teaching). Third time on the market: 4 interviews (for the first time they were all places I was pretty excited about); 1 flyback at Dream Academy - finally got a *single* job offer and I jumped on it like a rat on a Cheeto. But I had to leave the Dutchman behind.

I have no idea how much debt I accrued going out all those times - in fact, I shudder to think about it. I've blocked it out and now it's pretty much a black hole in my memory. I had to buy pieces of new suits (new pair of pants here; a jacket there) every time out on the market because I kept gaining weight! (I tend to drown my sorrows in Twinkies and Arnold Schwarzenegger films). I also had a *full* team of job market gnomes working round the clock to make up the voo-doo dolls I needed to enact my 3-year "Medieval Woman: You'll Pay For Not Hiring Me!" revenge plot.

I've already put them on a plane to your neck of the woods - they're pissed because they're having to fly coach. Divas. They favor Chicken McNuggets and will only drink Yoo-Hoo.

Fretful Porpentine said...

I would really urge departments to not ask for transcripts until at least the second pass or preferably as part of flybacks, cause it’s just silly for all 600 million of us applicants to enrich our schools by another 5 bucks.

Amen. I would also like to add a plea for search committees not to ask for transcripts if all they really want is a list of courses taken.

undine said...

It would be good if the transcripts could be part of the dossier package and thus not cost anything extra for candidates. Once a hire was imminent, the official transcript could be sent.

Belle said...

Hear, hear. My PhDU didn't charge for transcripts then; they might now. Why not simply accept unofficial transcripts and only ask for real ones when they do the flybacks?

But with mailing, copies, letters - all out of my pocket - it ran to serious money. I sent out 57; got 5 interviews at the national, 1 phone interview and the day after I accepted the only offer, got another strong interest. And I was among the lucky ones; I thank attending deities weekly.

Sisyphus said...

Thanks peeps! Now no puking on the blog! It may help you to realize that I'm _avoiding_ doing any work on my job stuff by blogging about it. Public service and all that, you know.

I was told that some schools had been burned in the past from people who weren't actually grad students at the school they claimed they were (!!!!) but hey, they can ask at the second or third stage rather than with the first pass (It's usually the small podunk-y schools rather than the R1s that do this) or, as porpentine says, a list of courses taken.

And I think I no longer fit into my interview suit (sigh). My addictions are wine and chocolate, not ... da Gubernator? Say it ain't so, MW!

And thanks for the story MW, I was confused about where you had been (both types of places, it turns out!). I like the "rat on a cheeto" analogy, and I hope to be worthy of your Job Market Gnomes ... chicken nuggets, you say? I hope they like fries, too, cause you can't get nuggets without grabbing an order of fries, now, can ya?

Of course, this will substantially alter my job market costs this year. But, like that other ad slogan says: "I'm worth it!"

medieval woman said...

Oh yeah - Arnie and I are pals (only in terms of cheesy action films - NOT his politics, which creep me out...)

I just remembered, our dossier service at Grad School U allowed us to put unofficial transcripts into our dossiers (effectively the list of classes and grades). When I got this job, I had to send an official one eventually, but it was much later. Does your dossier service offer something similar? Usually "transcripts" can be taken to mean unofficial ones at the beginning - unless they specify "official"...

At least that's my read! :)

Fretful Porpentine said...

It's usually the small podunk-y schools rather than the R1s that do this...

My first year out, I applied to one in Podunk, Alabama that asked for undergraduate transcripts as well as graduate ones. Why in the hell do they care what grade I had in freshman biology? (Though, to be fair, at least my undergrad school uses traditional letter grades, so the transcripts are decipherable; my graduate university uses an arcane system that is explained only in the fine print on the back of the transcript. Which is printed in the school colors. Which are non-photocopyable. So much for unofficial transcripts.)

adjunct whore said...

my dossier service has my transcript as a part of it--it goes out with everything. easy peasy. which service does your school use, sis? mine has been interfolio for a long time....it's pretty good, no complaints.