Friday, October 16, 2009


Well, despite sending out a whole buncha applications on Tuesday and today (intervening days involved tailoring different sorts of letters), I am still nowhere near done. Bleah. I'm cherry-picking all the easy ones, which means that I might have sent out some late-Nov-deadline applications that only required a letter and cv while ignoring some that are due very soon and require a statement of teaching philosophy or a blood test or a hand-written scroll containing the first 70,000 digits of Pi. Damn job apps!

But, I persevere. Even if my cats are driving me nuts. (goes to thwack a cat.)

Have I mentioned that my cats will pester me until I feed them? And then the follow me over to the closet while I get their food? But if they happen to still be over there, licking themselves, not paying attention while I scoop out food in the kitchen, it does not count and they refuse to eat the food I have served and pester me constantly instead? Yeah, stupid cats. Picking them up and carrying them over to show them the food has no effect. They will only eat it if they see me scooping it out into the bowl. Stupid cats. Maybe they are paranoid that I am poisoning them, or trying to slip a roofie into their kibble. Just what I need, paranoid cats.

Today I did not make it in to exercise, so I have signed up for tomorrow, and plan to go in to campus afterwards and steal lots of letterhead and department paper and print more crap. Crap being job letters and app materials, of course.

Speaking of job searching, has anyone else heard of this site?

I kinda like the idea of it ---- an online clearinghouse of jobs and job seekers for academics ---- and if everyone was on board with using it in the humanities like the science and engineering people appear to be doing, it would be very convenient. But when I only have one application to do on there and the rest I do through paper or school-specific sites, it's way more work. But when it's just one app, it's a pain. I still have to do two pages of my contact information, and figure out a way to not annoy my recommenders with automatic email requests for letters, since I'm having them use another dossier service. But if everyone used it, or if the MLA website had a section of its website devoted to this type of service, it would be pretty cool!

I am writing about it in the hopes that I have hordes of profs reading who will make their departments all switch over to it for the next hiring season. Sadly, considering the response from the donorschoose challenge, I don't think I have much of anybody at all reading.

I've seen an uptick, over the past (%&*$#@) four years of applying for jobs, of search committees wanting online applications, or to have applicants email their packages. I have also heard two stories already this year of people's apps getting bounced from a university email account that was full. People, if you do this, remember that even just a cv and letter attachment is pretty big and if you get hundreds of emails you will probably fill up your inbox quota. I suggest creating a new account at gmail, which has lots of room, or at the very least a blahblahjobsearch09@ your department address rather than your actual department email, because I assure you that you will be showered with applications.

But in terms of my side of things, the email apps aren't too bad. Going through your HR's web site --- and they almost all use the same software now, I notice --- is ok but still a pain if you have to type in your address and all your degrees and dates over again. And I worry that doing the AA questionnaire at the same time as I upload my letter means that my app gets stamped "nondiverse" and automatically shunted into a box where it is never read, but I guess this is the way to go. It is very environmentally friendly from my end. Probably a huge, paper-wasting mess on the other end though.

There's got to be a better way to do all this, logistics-wise. I really think if that online job apps site merged with and you could do job searches a bit more like the whole process would be easier. But the trick, whatever way you do it, is to get everyone doing it the same way, not each search run in its own idiosyncratic, annoying way. But coordinating lit profs not just in a department, but across the profession at a whole bunch of different schools, is probably even harder than training my cats.


Bardiac said...

Does the electronic site let you upload different versions of your materials for different job apps?

I imagine that the same person applying for an R1 and a CC will foreground very different skills, no? I never put my certificate of composition teaching on the R1 app, but I sure did on all my comprehensive and regional school apps.

Susan said...

Interesting site. I think ours all go through our HR department, because that's who hires. But you just upload the letter and CV, which is pretty civilized.

Belle said...

Here, Cog, is a way to become and be your own boss: create such a place! You certainly understand academia better than many of the admin/geeks to establish and run search sites! You can write a book! On rationalizing the academic job search logistics! And become a highly-paid, sought-after consultant who is flown around the country/world to speak to beleaguered (sp?) colleagues and admins.

Please don't think that we aren't hitting the donorschoose because we're not reading. I'm barely paycheck-to-paycheck at the moment. My favorite charity is me.

Sisyphus said...

Heh heh, Belle, I have thought about that. But I just don't think that I could work that way, personality-wise.