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Author Topic: Should I be worried !? Does it matter?  (Read 5170 times)
chroniclerony
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« on: April 15, 2012, 10:50:39 PM »

At the end of February I had my first ever campus interview for a TT position at fairly well known state university. I enjoyed it very much. Within two weeks I received an offer. With a ton of thanks and other such stuff I accepted it on phone and via email. While submitting start-up proposal department chair mentioned—an official contract will be forwarded as soon as dean is back from vacation or something.  It’s been three weeks since then.  I have not received it and am feeling hesitant to bug him on this matter when he said he will forward it as soon as it is available.
Should I wait more or ask the chair on updates about the contract. How important these documents are anyway when an offer is made verbally and in email. Perhaps it is not a big deal but something written in letter head paper with a sign gives a peace of mind. The wait is agonizing especially when this is the first ever real job for someone in this rugged economy.
your suggestions and thoughts are much appreciated. Thank you.
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pdog128
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« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2012, 7:07:51 AM »

Something like this happened to me. It's been awhile now, but it seems that when I first started at my school (also first real job) that it was months after I started work before I had my contract. I was worried too, after all what if they suddenly decided I wasn't worth it or they didn't have the money in the budget, and I'd already upended my life to take the position?

I mentioned it to my supervisor but it didn't seem to go anywhere and I didn't want to seem needy so I let it go for probably longer than I should have. But everything turned out fine. I eventually got the signed contract. It helped that the payroll paperwork went through so I had always received paychecks on time, even without the contract.
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anisogamy
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« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2012, 8:55:10 AM »

I'd get in touch with the department chair just to check in.  Of course, be polite and non-pushy in your message.  A formal letter of offer signed by yourself and the dean offers you at least some protection against last minute budget cuts and can be instrumental in helping you to get a mortgage (or occasionally even a lease for an apartment) in your new area.  Then again, I had my letter of offer shortly after I verbally accepted my job from a school who has been exemplary in all of its interactions with me, so perhaps I'm letting my highly positive experience color my perception of what is normal.
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A little compassion is better than kicking people when they are down, regardless of who has suffered more and longer or whose bad job market has the biggest dick.
bash217
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« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2012, 7:03:52 AM »

The waiting is awful, isn't it? I was told it would take "at least 3-4 weeks" to receive my official offer post-negotiations 3 weeks ago, today. I'm corresponding with an HR assistant regularly, so I know it is on the way...but I'm starting to develop a nervous tick in the meantime!
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zuzu_
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« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2012, 8:45:54 AM »

Do you  have any other interview invites, or even phone interview invites? When I got a verbal offer, I said something like, "I'd like to work here, and as soon we sign the contract, I'd be glad to cancel my other interviews." I've never seen the wheels of bureaucracy move so fast.
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westcoastgirl
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« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2012, 9:08:13 AM »

I would check in. Anecdote below.

I received the verbal notification for my post-doc at the very end of February. They said the paperwork would be in the mail shortly. I even received a call from HR the next day asking whether they should address me as Dr. or Ms. (i.e., had I defended). First week of March, nothing. Second week, nothing. And on it goes. I've read here and there that paperwork can take a long time and that one shouldn't be a pest. And I generally think that advice is spot on.

So I did nothing. In the back of my mind, I was worried. I thought maybe the fact that I was Ms. and not yet Dr., made them change their minds.

Life moved on and I went out west to pick up my husband from his job so we could drive back. We spend the first two days driving through the mountains. There's no phone reception, which means I don't get emails or anything. At five, we stop in a tiny town in Idaho to get some dinner at a fast food restaurant. My smart phone finally works and up pops a rather alarming email from the Dean of my future employer asking whether I was still committed to the job. My heart drops to my feet. It turns out that they mailed the paperwork to an address I had listed on my CV (we have department mailboxes at my grad school and I've used this on my CVs). After some frantic emails, it was all straightened out. The letter had been collecting dust for three weeks and had asked for my reply by March 15. It was the end of March when they finally inquired.

 Even though everything turned out fine, I still cringe to think about those three weeks when they were wondering if I just sloughed them off. I still feel badly.

Lesson learned. Next time (if there is a next time), I will put in a gentle email to inquire. 
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anisogamy
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« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2012, 10:02:34 AM »

Do you  have any other interview invites, or even phone interview invites? When I got a verbal offer, I said something like, "I'd like to work here, and as soon we sign the contract, I'd be glad to cancel my other interviews." I've never seen the wheels of bureaucracy move so fast.

Good point.  This may be precisely why I got my offer letter so quickly.
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A little compassion is better than kicking people when they are down, regardless of who has suffered more and longer or whose bad job market has the biggest dick.
baleful_regards
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« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2012, 10:13:57 AM »

Remember too that many places had Spring Break in March. That can kill at least a week of productivity, often more. Wheels that are slow during normal times grind to an absolute halt.

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nevertenured
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« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2012, 12:53:40 PM »

I have to wait until June for my "official" contract.  It's killing me to turn down all of the interview offers I'm getting...
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nocalprof
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« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2012, 2:17:38 PM »

...Within two weeks I received an offer. With a ton of thanks and other such stuff I accepted it on phone and via email....


Exactly what form did this offer come in?  Was it in any way written?  If it was purely verbal, then I'm afraid you have not actually received an offer.  In this case I would get back in touch with the department chair and say you're thrilled about the position but concerned that you haven't gotten anything in writing.

I wouldn't have any worries waiting on a contract, because that's generally considered minor paperwork.  The main thing is to have something in writing from someone constituting an offer, even if it's just an email.
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brixton
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« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2012, 2:42:29 PM »

I'd contact the department (email might be best) and ask polite questions about the job and follow with the "I haven't received the contract yet, will it be forthcoming?" line.  I also like the:  "I would like to cancel my interviews with other schools" line, mentioned above.  Finally getting a contract is important.  I wouldn't go into heat about it, but I would try to create a paper trail so that if something happens to the position, it is clear that it was offered to you.
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seniorscholar
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« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2012, 4:18:34 PM »

I wouldn't have any worries waiting on a contract, because that's generally considered minor paperwork.  The main thing is to have something in writing from someone constituting an offer, even if it's just an email.

Indeed, if you secure a TT position with us, you never will receive a "contract" -- both the Faculty Handbook and the Union Contract are on the web, and what you will get in July, after the Board of Trustees has voted a pro forma "aye" to the President's request to approve the list of 80 or so new TT hires they have in their paperwork for the late June meeting, is a letter signed by the President congratulating you on the affirmative vote of the Board, and stating that you will be employed under the conditions named in the offer letter from your Dean and the policies stated in the Faculty Handbook and the Union Contract.

It's the letter from the Dean (now supplied as a pdf scan of the letter with the Dean's actual signature, which specifies title, department, annual salary, workload, and "other conditions stipulated in the e-mail of [whatever date you got the final response from the Dean with all of the stuff you negotiated]) that matters. You print two copies, sign one, and return it by mail. And that's it for legal paperwork.
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chroniclerony
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« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2012, 9:54:51 PM »

I appreciate the time you folks took to shade some light on my concern. It restored some peace in my mind. I understand it is a waiting game now. 
The reason I am confused is --- I originally was congratulated on phone and later via email that I have been selected among a good pool of candidates etc. etc … the announcement was a bit informal as it never mentioned anywhere that – you’ve been selected for this post … neither was asked if I would accept and such.  I truly enjoyed my time during campus interview as well as every single person met.
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nocalprof
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« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2012, 12:57:50 PM »

Congrats - sounds like you've got a great gig lined up!
:)
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chroniclerony
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« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2012, 2:22:15 PM »

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