Category Archives: the Job Market

July 28, 2008, 4:32 pm

What Do You Do, Dear? The Radical Announces a Series of Posts on the Upcoming Job Season

A message from the home security company, received this morning on my cell phone, reminded me of what I know too well: my vacation in the North Woods of Minnesota will be over on Wednesday. They also reminded me that I had forgotten to reset my fire alarm, which is a significantly better message than “Oh, your alarm went off and no one was home, so the fire department broke down the door to investigate.” And despite my best efforts to leave the blogosphere to its own devices until I return, this brush with the real world caused a post to begin to form in my head.

So today I present the first in a series of posts about the upcoming Job Season. It will be a “how to” if you will, intended for those of you who are chairing a search, applying for jobs, interviewing (from both sides), and all stages up to and including making — and responding to — the offer. I will also want to take some…

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April 16, 2008, 9:24 pm

Return to Sender; or, the Art of Rejection

In response to recent accusations of smuggery, I would like to say that, although I occupy a privileged position in the world, I am still subject to rejection from time to time. I hate rejection. It makes me feel unwanted. I hate it when students reject me by writing mean teaching evaluations. It makes me feel misunderstood and resentful. Fortunately it doesn’t happen very often.

I have had to get used to rejection, though, since between my exalted position as Chair of the Program and the never-ending project of keeping my scholarly life vital, I have to apply for things constantly — internal to Zenith as well as external — and, as they say, you can’t win ‘em all. One year, during the Unfortunate Events, because members of my department were giving me the Big Raspberry and because I couldn’t really sleep, I applied for everything under the sun: five jobs, three year-long fellowship…

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March 16, 2008, 5:39 pm

If At First You Don’t Succeed: Getting A Visiting or Adjunct Teaching Gig — And Do You Really Want One?

Since the dollar is crashing, the Democratic nominee for President is as yet undetermined and Eliot Spitzer has gone home to either a divorce lawyer or years of couples therapy, it is time to return to those unworldly things that are preoccupying us as academics. And what’s at the top of the list for the next two months?

Hiring, or getting hired as, a full-time visitor or adjunct.

Yes, now is the time that unexpected resignations are upon us. Searches have folded without a hire being made. It is the time of year that grants have come through for us, but perhaps not for you. It is the time of year that – for those of you have been on the market – you know now (or strongly suspect) that you won’t be interviewed for any of the jobs you applied for, or that someone else has been hired for the job for which you did get an interview. *Sigh.*

After a year of being on several search…

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March 7, 2008, 2:22 pm

Breakthroughs in Education Department

My partner N pointed me to this article in today’s New York Times about a new charter school in the Bronx where one of the innovations is: teachers will be paid well. The idea is that you could get high quality teachers to commit to teaching secondary school by paying them as though they were intellectuals who did valuable work.

Jeez, why didn’t I think of that? Teachers should be paid professionals, rather than robots reciting a set curriculum. Or recent college graduates looking to do a little social service before law school. Or grown-up lawyers who have made their bundle and think that teaching is going to be a snap after thirty years of doing wills and trusts. Each of these solutions, regardless of what their individual merits might be, relies on paying teachers as little a school district can get away with.

“The school,” writes reporter Elissa Gootman,

“which will run from fifth …

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February 17, 2008, 7:50 pm

Sticky Wiki

Cruising around the blogosphere as one does, and following link to link, I ended up on Academic Cog’s December post about the academic job wiki. My favorite Cog was upbraiding midnight raiders who erased sections of the wiki, claiming that they had done so as a “political act” to protest the oppressions of the job market. I agree with Miss Cog, mutilating the wiki was a mean thing to do, although I think it was probably a function of wiki-madness itself, perhaps enhanced by drink, that gave some jerk the idea that hir own rotten year on the job market could be made better by destabilizing other people’s peace of mind. Having never really thought much about this job market wiki before last year (when I stumbled upon it and, to my horror, found a colleague’s divorce detailed by a disappointed job hunter as the reason why s/he was given a job, purportedly by sympathetic friends, that…

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December 6, 2007, 2:22 pm

A Chorus Line: Preparing for the Preliminary Interview

There are two songs that run through my mind at this time of year: one is the Blondie tune, with the blistering opening: “I’m in the phone booth/It’s the one across the hall.” Ok, graduate students have cell phones, but still. It conveys the sense of urgency that those of you who have job applications out there are feeling right now. You are waiting for the phone to ring but pretending you aren’t while wondering if maybe someone else’s phone……oh God, please let it ring.

But there will be interviews. There will. You have to believe that. Which is why my other song is from “A Chorus Line,” but later for that. So I am going to take a little vacation from my unexpected engagement with the neocon world, and get back to what I do best: Giving Career Advice.

First of all, here’s something you can control at this out of control moment. Do you have a message on your voicemail that is …

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November 4, 2007, 2:53 pm

How to Get to Carnegie Hall: Giving Good Paper

Well, not only is the conference season accelerating, but the job season is nigh and it is now time for the Radical to enter Advisory Mode once more with her: Guidelines for Giving Good Paper.

Before I do, however, let me say that I just finished giving a paper yesterday at the New England American Studies Association (NEASA) “Sex/Changes” conference, and had a good time, as I always do at NEASA. It is a small conference, convenient and such a good mix of people. By this last point I mean a conference of scholars drawn from a variety of institutions (and let me point to a particularly interesting conversation between me, a member of the Yale American Studies program, and a fellow from a branch campus of a state university about the consequences of the federal de-funding of education), but also graduate students and the occasional undergraduate. I went to a panel organized by…

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October 14, 2007, 1:52 pm

Random Notes on Things Past and Present, Written While the Radical Rests

Don’t neglect the post below, which contains everything you need to know about the sexiest convention but the MLA (although at ASA you can actually understand what the panelists are saying most of the time, which is a plus). But since I am on fall break, a puzzling, but welcome innovation in American Higher Education, I do have time to jot down a few little things sooner rather than later.

First of all, I have added some new links: take note. One is Margaret Soltan’s University Diaries, and what has taken me so long to add this one, I don’t know, except that I am lazy about tending the links column. I think of Soltan as the Maureen Dowd of the blogosphere, except that Maureen Dowd is kind of a wrecking ball of a writer, and Soltan isn’t. For the life of me, I can’t figure out her politics, but she’s pretty fabulous, so who gives a damn?

Then there is the just-discovered Scattered and …

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