Life After the Job Market

At this time last year, I was waiting anxiously for a large research university in Texas to call. At this time two years ago, I was waiting anxiously for a comprehensive university in Georgia to call.I felt like a lovesick teenager, constantly checking my phone, my email, the department website, anything that would give me some idea of what was happening. In both cases, the offer had been made, and I was second choice. Long negotiations left me in limbo for months after promising campus visits. I must have known on some level that this was the situation, but hope and despair take turns running your life while on the job market; neither has a basis in logic. One day, I was sure I had a job, the next, I was sure I would never get one. Both schools kept me on the hook until mid to late April before finally letting me down easy. The second time, I knew I was done. I accepted a job offer at a Community College and have been making sense of that choice ever since.

I love quit lit. It got me through those final months when I knew I might keep trying indefinitely for that tenure-track research job without ever getting one. Continue reading

At a crossroads

In the final leg of my PhD, I am nearing a crossroads.  Do I choose the academic path I have spent the last 10 years preparing for, or do I choose a different path?  I do not want the decision to be made for me.  Apparently, I’m not alone in preferring to make the decision ahead of time rather than feeling like a failure if I choose to go the academic route and do not find a job (Trouble with Bright Girls).  If nothing else, this is a chance for me to express out loud some of the nuances of this decision.

So many articles and commentaries have come out recently expounding difficulties landing and succeeding in a tenure-track position—due especially to the lack of jobs, gender discrimination, and the defunding of both science and higher education. These articles are disheartening and downright depressing (I stopped reading them as a coping mechanism).  On the other hand, several of my friends have recently accepted good tenure-track positions with and without previous post-doc positions.  In addition, I know I have a great CV for someone at my stage, including a handful of publications, 2.5 years of teaching experience, and a teaching fellowship under my belt.  According to many fellow academics, I should not have a problem finding a tenure-track position.  So, what gives me pause as I approach officially being on the job market?  Continue reading