In which issues concerning the profession of philosophy are bitched griped about
-insert cricket noises here-
Most campus visits are in February, as far as I know
I got a call today about scheduling a fly-out in February. So... it's going great!
When did we start having to do the Turing Test to submit comments? Is it morally wrong of me to click on the wheelchair button if I am not actually in a wheelchair? Do the casters on my desk chair make it technically a wheelchair?
I had one a couple of weeks ago. It was a surprising amount of fun. Lots of interesting people to talk to, all of whom were friendly and engaging. It was exhausting (especially to be 'on' for so long), but definitely not terrible at all.I had a meeting with the college president. I went in having no idea what you would talk about with the college president. I left it still having no idea at all, really, what one talks about with the college president.And I never was so happy to see an empty hotel room with a freshly made bed than I was after my 13 hour long day of interviews and classes and talks was over.
I had one this past week. Like the last poster, it was a lot of fun. Everyone was ridiculously friendly and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the students and how well I thought I'd fit in. I also had a number of really good conversations with department members. In other words, a school that I thought I would have only minimal interest in did an amazing job of selling its department and the campus community.With that said, I have a couple more to do and it will be interesting to compare the other schools to this one. However, all things considered, it was an enjoyable experience.With that said, I have a question. It seems that flyouts at small, non-research schools are much more pleasant experiences. I remember observing searches as a graduate student in my semi-Leiterific school and some of the faculty members were not very friendly to the candidates and downright hostile during the candidates' talks. I guess they figured that they could do this and get away with it because anyone who would be so fortunate enough to be hired by our school would, of course, accept, no matter how poorly s/he was treated (and they were right!).Has anyone else had a similar experience?
Going well. Had 3 this month, so I'm surprised to hear someone say most campus visits are in February (but it's my 1st time on the market so I don't know).Campus visits are cool. Yes, they're evaluating you... but they're also courting you. Someone at the school I just visited likened it to a date. Good comparison.
My graduate school was hiring a few years back and I noticed this same hostility mentioned above to weaker candidates (one turned red and almost cried) but to stronger candidates the profs were throwing softballs. To be fair, not everyone was hostile to weaker candidates, it was clear that the profs who wanted the candidate to do well did their best to help this person but no one was in the least hostile to the candidate who was not only hired but the clear-cut favorite.wing
it is harder to interview with research universities for at least the following reasons:1. there are more of them (so chances are there are at least a few who don't want you)2. they don't need to sell you in the way that colleges think they do.3. they like to talk/argue more about research and chances are there are a few whose research overlaps with you. you thus have to toe the line and show that you are just as good (not better, not worse) than they are.
I'm surprised to hear someone say most campus visits are in FebruaryMost of the departments with which I interviewed said they wouldn't do fly-outs until February, and some of those indicated they wouldn't even schedule fly-outs until February.
I work at an R1, Leiter-ranked university. We've done a fair bit of hiring since I've been here, so I've witnessed several searches. There are plenty of factors that make the faculty at R1 universities much more hostile to candidates than at non-research universities.One factor is that we all have our research commitments. Dare tread on those precious little bitches, and we'll come at you.Another factor is that the candidates we get are typically all very strong and very well qualified. This means that they each have (sometimes fairly entrenched) champions on the search committee and on the faculty. All of our fly-outs are damn good, so we need to make sure that our colleagues see why one is better than another. If we sense that you may be challenging our favored candidate, we'll come at you.A third factor was mentioned earlier: there are lots of us, and when you have lots of petty philosophers sitting around a room talking about who to hire, smack gets talked and turf gets trodden. Trod our turf, we'll come at you.A fourth factor is that we're asking how your hire will affect us in the broader R1 community. We want to make sure that we're hiring someone who can hang with the heaviest of hitters. If we're lucky, we'll stumble on the next David Chalmers. In order to test this, we'll come at you.It's hostile, in a way, but nowhere near as hostile as it can get after you leave. Faculty lose eyes over you people. It's a bloody mess.And you know what the worst of it is? There really are a ton of exceptionally smart young philosophers out there, so it's not a question of sorting out the duds and rejecting them. It's a question of picking the best person out of a stack of exceptionally good people. Keep that in mind. We come at you, but we come at you already knowing that you're very good.Chin up, kids. It's a bad year. Things will smooth out over time.
A friend (who's just been offered a spectacular job) recently offered me some very good advice when it comes to research flyouts - forget about the job aspect, just think of it as a great department flying you over to give a talk because they're interested in your work. Essentially, it's completely true, very flattering, and something that if you're competing at this level you're probably fairly used to. So I'm going to try to take this tack, and do what I'd do in any invited talk I might give - be polite and friendly to everyone, but not shy away from the kinds of conflict that come with the territory - in any talk you give, there's always someone a little pugnacious in the audience... I'll let you know how the strategy goes...
In my experience (both ends) of on-campus interviews, by far the harshest, nastiest treatment of candidates is at the hands of graduate students. It's understandable. Some grad students are thinking, "Wait, I can't even get convention interviews, and she is on the short list here? I don't think so."
I've always wondered if a 'heavy hitter' in philosophy qualifies as a sage.
Asstro: I thought it was "Keep your chin down and hands up" when someone is coming at you! ;)
I'd like to offer a massive endorsement of both Asstro and 7:14.To follow up on 7:14, I have had this experience repeatedly. I went through three hiring cycles in my department as a graduate student, and in each case, I had a more impressive CV with more/better publications and more/better conference presentations than some of the fly-outs. I understand that there are a variety of reasons why the person may have made it on the fly-out list (department rigged the deck in favor of a different candidate - it happens and did happen at my school, candidate had extremely impressive dissertation, etc.), but not all graduate students are as forgiving and understanding as I was. Some of them were rather angry that a person less impressive than themselves would be hired at an R1, whereas they had no shot at such a job. It can get nasty.
Well, if your fly-out doesn't go well (and if it's not your fault), then you can complain about it here. I'd take a number of the complaints listed with a grain of salt. However, the reports of candidates not being reimbursed for plane tickets is disconcerting. Has anyone ever heard of such a thing occurring during a philosophy search?
@ 9:23: The job bitching wiki is hilarious. Someone complained that they did not receive a personalized PFO letter and received a personal letter apologizing for failing to send a personalized PFO letter. Who complains about something so minor?
From the 'job bitching wiki', a candidate for an English position at Saint Vincent reports:"Campus visit accommodations include a room in a monastery replete with Jesus decorations apparently made by mental patients in the 1960s."
This is my favorite for Western State College's Poli Sci Department: "An old guy, supposedly the former department chair, who smelled of flatulence picked me up from the airport. He proceeded to give me a tour of the two-horse town, which included instructions on how to drive ("slow, slow, slow, like a snail"). The faculty were nice enough, though they kept asking me whether I skied, snowboarded or bicycled. I humored them and said that I did all of them, even though I didn't (and still don't). All they could talk about was how wonderful the area is for these recreational activities. It's like they didn't want a quality scholar or teacher but instead they wanted a workout partner. When I met with the students in private all they did was complain about how the department chair was trying to brainwash them with his 'liberal nonsense' and how he took no prisoners when it came to embarrassing students who came to class late, even when they had a bonafide excuse. They ended up hiring the inside candidate, which was a relief to me. I got a PFO letter about 6 months later. When I told a fellow panelist at a conference that I had interviewed there, he shared this atrocious story about someone he knew who had taught on a temp contract in the same department, was eventually fired and harassed on the way out. I'm glad that I dodged that bullet!"
From the job bitching wiki: "At the beginning of the interview, the committee had a bottle of scotch, bottle of wine, and bottle of water on the table and asked which I would like to drink."What do you think would be the right would be?
Anon 8:26 here. I clearly chose the 'scotch' option, when faced with the same decision this evening (without the aid of a search committee, thank God).That should read, of course, "What do you think the right answer should be?"I guess you already know what I would choose...
From the job bitching wiki: "At the beginning of the interview, the committee had a bottle of scotch, bottle of wine, and bottle of water on the table and asked which I would like to drink."What do you think would be the right would be?I take it you chose the scotch.
What do you think would be the right would be?Wait a minute... that's a trick question!
Start with the water, then turn to the scotch when the tough questions starting coming? Bonus points for swigging it from the bottle.
"At the beginning of the interview, the committee had a bottle of scotch, bottle of wine, and bottle of water on the table and asked which I would like to drink."Of course, the right answer is: "Whatever you're having."
Damn, 10:24, you got the job.
One thing I realized after an encouraging campus visit that didn't turn into a job: it's entirely rational for a department to encourage as much optimism as possible among all their final-round candidates. The person who gets the offer will be excited, and the extra disappointment the others feel doesn't hurt the department at all.
Anyone else receive an offer or offers yet?
Appropriately enough, 6:10 captured the manipulative spirit behind the experience of so many serially buoyed but then sunk jobs candidates--and on Groundhog Day.
Keep in mind that there is always a lot of departmental BS that will affect the decision but you have almost no chance of influencing. As our department chair tells our graduate students: There is a great deal of luck that goes into making the APA/interview first cut, skill/ability separate the people who make the first cut and those who make the second cut, and it is often a significant amount of luck when it comes to who actually gets the offer.
Has IUPUI shortlisted yet?
"Has IUPUI shortlisted yet?"Not that I know of. They told me they would contact fly-outs in early to mid-February, so I'm just now starting to worry.
This is slightly off topic but it's something that I was hoping to have some discussion on. I'm an assistant professor with a tenure-track job, I went on the market this year nevertheless and managed to land several interviews and several fly-outs. However, despite these successes, I've been seriously considering leaving the profession of philosophy. I was wondering how many of you have thought about seriously leaving philosophy or have actually left philosophy, particularly for something outside of academe. What were your reasons? What were your experiences? Was it difficult? Thanks (and I apologize for posting out of place and if this has already been covered). - clp
I've thought about leaving the profession, but the only alternative line of work I can imagine doing is law and I feel old to go back to school with loans. By the time I get out, I'll be slightly older and more than slightly too old to work the way I'd have to work to pay off law school loans. Reasons: I love my job, but I love my lover more and there's no way I can have both.
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