I just went out for a job interview. Thing is, I can't say anything about it because it is only an hour's drive from my parents', and if they were to know I did an interview *that close* and then didn't get it, they would keel over from a broken heart. If they hear that I was rejected yet again, this time somewhere close, it will be no biggie. But if they know I interviewed and then they have to wait on pins and needles for several weeks...? Way worse than just knowing I didn't get a job.
So I did the whole flying/driving all around/interviewing/freaking out/ going back to Postdoc City without telling anyone or announcing anything on my facebook page. The stress is killing me. And they are interviewing a shitton of people and there are like two more levels of interviewing before a job offer would come so this is still a really really long shot. (to say nothing of ... ick! possibly two more crosscountry flights for higher-level interviews? I don't even want to think about it.)
I really really want it, though. Sigh. I think I interviewed pretty well, but with those lockstep cc interview formats, who can tell? And how do they end up deciding when it gets down to 5 or 6 of the interviewees that they all really liked and who had good fits of CVs? If I only knew what separated the "getting an interview" from being "the" person and landing the job! That knowledge is worth zillions! I seem to be fairly competitive at this level of jobs, since I keep getting a few cc interviews every year... but how to "close"? (Eh, maybe I need brass balls? I'll go look on ebay.)
I also have *another* interview coming up, also at a cc, but this one is wayyyyy out there in BFE nowhere. I am hoping that this means it is a less desirable location ---- though it is a very beautiful location, particularly if you like outdoor recreation, and thus probably there is no advantage to the fact that it is remote. I will tell my family about this one, since they will be only regular-level happy about it or even complaining that it is too far away. It is far enough away that I have already enlisted my sister in helping me figure out how to get there, and it is going to cost me quite a bit on top of a big fat expensive plane ticket. But all of that is worth it if it lands me a full-time job! Especially one in the same time zone as my family and theoretically visitable more frequently!
On the other hand, I say that every year, and every year I do about three of these plus a nice pricey MLA romp, and every year a full time job does not materialize. The "backlog" of "pricey but worth it" is piling up, for sure. If any grad students still exist in academe and are still reading my blog (and really, is anyone still reading my blog at all these days? Probably not.), if your advisors are giving you the "the job search is an expensive year but it will pay off!" please remember that you are very likely *not* looking at a single year of expensive job searching, just like your grad school life and its financial hardships are probably significantly better than the "gap years" you will have piecing together some work and probably moving around a lot until (or until if) you finally get a tenure-track job.
What advice do I have for grad students for how to deal with this job search knowledge? Absolutely none! You probably can't budget for multiple years of expensive job searching and poverty while a grad student any more than you can budget for one year! It is still, however, good knowledge to have, and maybe it will be good to think about when the temptation to splurge comes up. Or maybe you will know to start selling your plasma every few months even earlier in your grad school career, and put the cash aside for future expenses. I kid, I kid. Clearly part-time pot growing and sales is the superior sideline for cash-strapped grad students. You can skim a bit off the top for self-medicating all that anxiety.
In my final piece of secret news, I did an interview for a staff type academic job a while back but got rejected for it. Le sigh. It is the only staff job I applied for, I think ---- no, I threw in for a couple publishing jobs and they didn't even acknowledge my applications, but whatever ---- so maybe I should be more surprised that I got the phone interview than didn't get the job. I know less about how to pitch myself for those types of positions, but again, I would love to be a fly on the wall and know what puts a good candidate below *the* candidate? It could be fit, it could be connections/who you know --- or there could be something weak or offputting in my application or interview skills. Who knows? I wish I could get the inside info and some advice on how to interview better. On the other hand, just like with the cc jobs, I don't want to chuck it all and take a staff position just *anywhere,* and there haven't been many of those level of admin jobs popping up on the West Coast.
Ok then; I will soon have more time to post silly things and worry about my future career, as the semester is wrapping up soon here. Be prepared to see lots of whining! Whining and cat pictures. Perhaps cat pictures in the form of future-career quizzes, even! Ooh, I'll have to plan something fun around that theme...
I'm still reading, and very glad to hear about your interviews! My fingers are crossed for you!
I'm still reading, too. Man -- what a stressful situation about not wanting to talk to your family/friends about the close-to-home job. That is tough. Of course, because I kind of hate my family, I was open with them the whole time about my job prospects and just tortured the shit out of them. :) That's when I actually got a job.
Good luck with your interviews. What a roller coaster...
It was more like, "can I stay at your place and have you drop me off at this interview on your way to work?" kind of not talking about it, but yeah, I really could have used the logistical help. I might be able to get my sister to drive/come with me to BFE CC, but I'm not sure if that extends to splitting a hotel cost. We shall see.
Of course I'm still reading. I wait on pins/needles for your posts, and all fingers/toes crossed on the job news. Personally, just from reading your blog, I wonder that some lucky department hasn't snapped you up.
I'm still read and wait much as Belle describes. Hoping this really does work out for you, as you and I know Postdoc City is not where you want to settle in--maybe where anyone should want to settle in. :-)
Still reading, too, and always glad to see a post. Your description of the costs of repeatedly job searching is all too familiar (and I never had to pay to get to an on-campus interview; I was reimbursed. Then again, I only had a few on-campus interviews, and at least one was in driving distance). It really is a vicious cycle.
I'm still reading! (Perhaps a little behind the curve, but still.)
Have you read Karen Kelsky's The Professor is In /Pearls of Wisdom Blog?
You probably have, but just in case you haven't--I think she provides some useful info about what separates successful from unsuccessful applicants. Not just what goes into your application materials--clearly, you've had interviews so you make the cut there--but the attitude. Carrying oneself like a colleague without being an arrogant twit.
Still reading, too, if a bit late. You don't know me from Adam or Eve, but I'm rooting for you!! I was in similar shoes to yours for about five years.
I wanted to punch the next person who told me that "the universe must have something really special planned for you" while I was job hunting. I finally started responding, "yes, long-term unemployment during a recession, that is indeed special."
The comm coll jobs I applied for were most interested in the "mini-teach" and how you presented the material to a class and interacted with students. You probably know this already but I thought I'd offer that chirp, just in case.
If you really do want to teach, make sure that you keep your hand in with at least one class per semester. Committees don't like gaps.
Hang in there!
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