Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Classic Sisyphus: Surviving the Job Market in English

For those of you about to go on the job market, and those of you who have just been wondering what I've been doing with myself the past two or three years, I thought I'd collect all my various posts and advice and bitching in one place for handy reference. The picture is clickable over on the sidebar.

Although these posts cover several (urgh!) attempts on the job market, I'm mixing them around a bit here to show the entire annual circle of life, as it were, from growing legs and losing one's gills to being eaten and shat out by an egret. May the end result be better for you!

-- The first step of going on the market is to completely deny its existence.

-- Is it worth it to apply to the big nationally-recognized humanities postdocs?

-- From my perspective after applying to them, no.

-- a partial list of my job market costs the first year out.

-- sometimes the job market process just makes you want to break out into song. Or profanity. Or both!

-- Writing the statement of teaching philosophy. My single most popular post. Sigh.

-- Timing the job search. At one point I worried over whether I would be going on the market "too early" or risk having a "gap year" on my resume. Now I say: hahahahahaahahahahhaaha!

-- At some point you will want to confer with your advisor about the job search. Good luck with that.

-- Do I send all my TA evals and narrative comments, or just the first six pounds?

-- To craft the perfect job letter, you must first know what you want. But you won't know what you want until you have that perfect job. Repeat, ad infinitum.

-- If you don't know how to present who you are, there are plenty of other people who want to do it for you. Unfortunately, no one will agree on anything.

-- Sometimes search committees even solicit applications from you. This letter and a buck seventy-five will get you some coffee.

-- After you mail out your applications, you will need a mantra: don't look at the wiki. Don't look at the wiki. Don't look at the wiki.

-- Like I said, it's the waiting that makes you a little crazy. Unless, of course, you've been crazy all along.

-- Also: beware the long lag time for publications. Your colleagues who give birth will enroll the little spawns in kindergarten before you hear back from some journals.

-- Some lucky souls will get MLA interviews and flybacks. If I had had any, I would post about them right here.

-- Instead, I made an excursion into the spring job market for community colleges.

-- And after multiple years on the market, including countless hours and dollars invested, what do you get? This, and this.