Job Tracking - Week 5

Another slow week, with only one new position found and one new application completed since last week. This week, however, has presented the interesting conundrum of a position in an area I'd like at a school I might like, but where I know there is a faculty member I'm not likely to want to work around. How do I know? I went to school with them. Decisions, decisions.

And in response to the week four post, Notorious Ph.D. asked whether I'd posted about why I'm thinking about jumping ship, and as I thought about it this morning when I should have been playing defense, I'm not sure I've ever tackled that directly (though it absolutely lurks in the shadows of virtually every job related post here: for some quick primers maybe look at posts from my early days: try this one and this one).

Boiling it down, I'm applying - and possibly leaving academia if it comes to it - because where I am doesn't meet my needs. I'm in a great department for me at a university that pays below the national average. I've got above-the-average student loan debt, and my salary isn't helping me do anything to that, even keep up. My parents are old, and I'm the responsible kid in the family so getting close to them is important. And only now, in my fourth year here, have I found any semblance of a social life. And it pretty much consists of hurling discs at other faculty members for two hours on a Saturday.

I generally think it is a little foolish for someone not to try to make themselves happy. I've asked about pay options here. I've even suggested some form of student loan assistance for young faculty, because having asked around, it's a problem that is going to need serious examination and quick (particularly since, as you may have heard, the economy isn't what it once was). Some of this goes back to the great Gumdrop debate of yore: if a job isn't doing what you need it to, you owe it to yourself to look. Most schools have the capability, for example, to adjust faculty salary. My sense of things, though, is that they're only going to do it if there's sufficient pressure. Bureacracies don't like the carrot, but they will usually respond to the stick. If you like where you are and where you are likes you, sometimes they'll do something to keep you. But only if they're really convinced you might leave.

I'll try and post more on this as we go, if folks have questions about it. For now, here are the week's numbers.
Total # of academic jobs applied for/# of jobs identified: 12/20
Total # of non-academic jobs applied for/# of jobs identified 0/0
Total spent in U.S. dollars on applications: $86.42
Average cost in U.S. dollars per applications: $7.20
Total spent in U.S. dollars on travel, etc: $0
Total amount in U.S. dollars reimbursed: $0
The Chronicle of Higher Ed: 3 0
Other online service (listserv, etc): 14
Friend/Colleague: 2
Personal Research: 1
Total number of paper submissions: 11
Total number of e-submissions: 1
Total weight in pounds of application packets: 11.24
Total number of recommendation letters requested: 18
Total number of requests for references: 5
Total number of "proof of teaching excellence" packs : 7
Total number of requests for Teaching Philosophy :6
Total number of research packs: 7
Total number of transcripts requested: 2
Total number of acknowledgments of receipt: 9
Total number of confirmed reference contacts: 0
Total number of phone interviews: 0
Total number of conference interviews: 0
Total number of on-campus interviews: 0
Total number of offers: 0
Total number of rejection letters: 0
Tune in next week, when Dr. Curmudgeon asks Nurse Janice whether it would be better to give the patient a local anesthetic because a long-distance one might cost too much.

And to all our friends north of the border, Happy Canadian Thanksigiving and sorry for what we're doing to the value of your dollar.


4 Responses to “Job Tracking - Week 5”
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Rent Party said...

This is a fantastic post, not least because of the statistics.

I wish, when I was younger than I am now, that I was able to ask myself seriously, is this job meeting your needs? and act on it. Yes, I always applied for other *academic* jobs but I didn't realize it would be legitimate to say OUT LOUD that these jobs were not meeting my needs. I whispered it, but it was considered sacrilege! And all of us were more focused on whether WE could meet ITS (the job's, the AIC's) needs, not the other way around.

October 13, 2008 at 4:10 AM
ash said...

"This week, however, has presented the interesting conundrum of a position in an area I'd like at a school I might like, but where I know there is a faculty member I'm not likely to want to work around."

[simultaneoulsy biting hand to suppress knowing giggle and silently screaming "nooooooo!"]

October 13, 2008 at 2:05 PM
Dr. Curmudgeon said...

Here's one more post from the archives about what I've been thinking about in terms of leaving.

I do think that there's an inverse relationship at work - it's harder to think about leaving or to talk about it, the better you are rewarded. I think part of the schism in the Gumdrop unicorn debate may well have come down to how much better academia used to reward new faculty compared to what it does today (as well as how much less it cost).

My dean, for example, keeps telling me a story about how the loan debt they accumulated wold have bought them three economy cars. Mine would buy considerably more than that.

And, Ash, now I feel bad - looking back at the post, that seemed awfully petty and mean of me. I just couldn't work with 'em.

October 14, 2008 at 12:09 AM
ash said...

If it's the place/person I think it is, your instinct is right on. DOn't even think about it!

October 14, 2008 at 3:06 PM