Sunday, December 26, 2010


I'm coming out of hibernation because as one of the lucky few - and sitting across from another - who has a real reason to go to Boston, I think it's a bit odd - to put it mildly - that search committees haven't e-mailed me or anyone that I know of and that the APA can't even be bothered to wake somebody up, mildly inconvenience them - and I do understand it would be an inconvenience and I also realize how much this sounds like a student bitching about how it took me three days to get back to them - and have them put up a note at least saying:
'Hey, bros. Sorry, but the APA is still on. We have encouraged search committees to set up Skype or telephone interviews to accommodate those who will be unable to travel safely to Boston, e.g., everyone who doesn't live in or isn't already in Boston.

We also hope that you won't hold it against us that we have yet to reconsider this whole having the APA in a cold weather city on the East Coast after a major holiday. We're working on it, but even the first few Super Bowls were played in cold weather cities - and some still are - so, we weren't the only organization to completely punt the ball on the biggest event of our profession repeatedly. We hope our weather control machine prototype will be out of R&D next year for the next APA and we won't run into these issues again.

So, we're still cool, right, dawgs? See you at the smoker; let's get fucked up on free beer again this year (just try to not throw up all over your interviewers! HAHAHAHA, j/k; but you were wasted, bro!)!


The Eastern APA

p.s. Sorry about putting the conference in Times Square last year. I thought it would be sweeter than it was.'
Barring this note being put up, I think Spiros is right.

--Jaded Dissertator


Anonymous said...

I can't even get out of my driveway right now. I can't get a flight to Boston. Can't take Amtrak. Got a Greyhound bus ticket (because the best way to prep for APA interviews is sitting on a bus for 20 hours) but that has since been cancelled too. I'm probably going to end up driving there, even though it's not safe to do that right now. The APA is going to be of no help here; we all know it's useless.

Sorry for complaining about this when many people didn't get any interviews (I didn't get any last year and know what that's like). But this APA is going to be a disaster.

Anonymous said...

I suspect a number of search committees are trying to determine their travel options, which of course are in flux at the moment. If they're not able to make it to Boston in time (or at all), then surely they'll communicate that to the candidates in a timely manner.

Anonymous said...

It's worth noting that the time slot of the eastern APA is the one and only time when it can be guaranteed that no one has teaching obligations.

zombie said...

I'm in Portland Maine, in a hotel, in a blizzard. It's Snowmageddon 2! Was supposed to drive on to NY tomorrow, and then to Boston on Tuesday for an interview. I'll be staying here another day and night and then driving straight to Boston. But who knows if anyone else will be there? I've been contacted by the SC for my Tuesday interview already -- sent me a cell phone number and asked for mine. Prudent, and thoughtful.
Maybe by Wednesday it will be business as usual, but I wouldn't bet on it. Thousands of flights canceled.

Hey Anon 5:49 -- do NOT drive in a blizzard for an interview. It's suicide. We saw a car spun around and facing the wrong way in a ditch off the interstate on our way in here. Nobody expects you to risk your life for an interview. Email the SC and explain the situation to them. Chances are they won't be there either.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6.33pm - True, it can be guaranteed no-one has any teaching commitments then. But all the other professional organizations manage to do it at other times - a few (e.g. APSA, ASA) do it in August/early September, which also avoids most teaching commitments.

This whole APA carnival is terrible for the people who are most obliged to attend - the grad students and postdocs who are on the market. These are the people with least money, and without research accounts - people who can't afford to spend hundreds of dollars out of their own pockets on conference attendance unless there is good reason to do so. Yet the APA puts the thing on in big, expensive cities at one of the most expensive times of year for flying.

Moreover, people don't hear if they've got interviews until two weeks before. So you have to gamble - do I pay out for tickets that may be a waste of money if I don't have an interview, and have to attend a conference and feel miserable at the reminders of my lack of success? Or do I leave it to the last minute, especially since the chances of getting interviews in this market are very slender, and then possibly have to pay inflated last-minute prices if I do get the call?

This was exacerbated last year when the APA failed to book enough rooms, so those who did get last-minute calls had to pay full whack for a hotel close enough to Times Square (and seriously, Times Square between Christmas and New Year?!). This is just insane.

So how about we all agree that if and when we're in senior tenured positions, we take over the APA and run it properly? Hell, we could hardly do a worse job than the current lot.

Incidentally, I don't have an interview and won't be going to Boston (even if the weather lifts), but good luck and sincere best wishes to all those who do have interviews. I hope you get there, I hope your interviews go well, I hope you get campus visits, and I hope you get the jobs.

Anonymous said...

I'm stealing your interviews, Mo Fo's!! If you die on the road, then I'll definitely get them and maybe the Golden Chalice: a job in Kentucky!!!!

BunnyHugger said...

Anon 6:33: That's been the eternal argument for holding Eastern when it's held, but I don't find it very persuasive. I'd rather cancel a day or two of class (assuming it was held Friday-Monday) than have my family holidays wrecked and risk winter travel complications.

At least before Central was moved, it was quite possible one might be expected to go interview there, teaching obligations or not. Not a precise analogy, I know, because the job market aspect of Central has always been much smaller, but I thought it was worth noting too.

Luckily it's moot for me. I'm home with cookies and eggnog -- suckers!

Word verification: "supice." I think that's spelled "'Sup? Ice."

Anonymous said...

I agree this is a disaster. I'm a department chair and we have interviews scheduled. I'm still waiting to see if my flight tomorrow to Boston will be canceled or not. My colleagues and I are separated due to various Christmas plans and one of them has a bad cold. He's the one with the folders and phone numbers. I do promise that once we know more whether WE will make it, we will begin contacting all of our interviewees to find out whether YOU have made it, and we won't let anyone go un-interviewed, no matter how we have to figure out a rearrangement, over Skype probably. All of us are thinking about the candidates and their added stress this year and we would be cruel indeed not to try to accommodate you in any way feasible. We don't like this additional complication in our lives either. Yes let's move the Christmas APA to Florida or Texas or New Orleans...

Anonymous said...

The Times Square hotel was quite nice, and, if memory serves me well, the conference rates were not significantly higher than the rates at the 6th Ave hotel the APA had been using.

Anonymous said...

I call for a boycott of the Eastern APA! I couldn't get there anyway, so I boycott!! No more. I'd rather sit on my turd cutter. I'd rather be unemployed next year. I quit.

Anonymous said...

blah blah sexist "bro" pronoun blah blah

west coast philosopher said...

my interviews are scheduled on Tuesday afternoon. Originally, I was scheduled to fly to Boston Sunday evening. I checked the flight status when I took off, and it says that it was on time. I checked in, flew to the transit city. When I land, I saw on the screen that my connecting flight to Boston is cancelled and they are not flying to Boston before Wednesday. After explaining how important my interviews are, the staff members put me on a flight to Chicago, which was supposed to help me catch the flight to Boston Monday morning. When the flight land in Chicago, I get the message that the flight to Boston is cancelled. I slept in the airport to see if I might get lucky, and well, I didn't. They say that they can put me on the standby for a flight to Philadelphia, where I can be on the standby for a flight to Boston (which probably would be cancelled...) That concludes my last Sunday in 2010.

Anonymous said...

Nobody needs to go crazy showing up for interviews in these circumstances. I've already told the SC's that I can't be there, and they are working on figuring out what to do instead.

Not going at this point doesn't make you a no-show, and SC's have worked very hard to come up with their lists. They will find a way to interview you.

I feel sorry for the folks headed to Boston's postal worker's conference.

Anonymous said...

Will you post something if you do happen to hear official word from the APA (not that I am anticipating such a miracle)? I live in Boston and can theoretically still go, but frankly don't want to slog through the snow only to arrive at an empty hotel. I'm not registered yet and fear if notice does go out I'll miss it.

Anonymous said...

I'm definitively in favor of changing the dates for the Easterns. Although I got a TT job last year (thanks be to the gods), this is the third year in a row that there have been travel problems. Two years ago, I couldn't make it to Philly, last year I barely got to NYC, and this year no one seems to be able to get to Boston. My Chicago connection is largely to blame for Philly and NYC, but candidates and search committees really need to have more security than late-December east coast weather patterns permit.

I agree that assuring that no one is in session is a weak reason to hold the Easterns at this time. Indeed, at the meetings last year I was told by a well-regarded member of our dear profession that these dates were originally chosen to allow men to escape their families over the holidays for a nip of scotch--and a real smoker--with chums. I have no idea if this is true, but it makes for a good story.

zombie said...

Leiter Reports has a thread for people to post comments and news about APA matters.

Scott Forschler said...

So here's a crazy idea. Let's do interviews by phone, or should we even realize that we're actually living in the 21st century, by Skype or similar technology. Then recognize that a guarantee of holding the meeting when there are no teaching obligations is a poor trade-off for doing it when most people have family obligations, and the weather is more likely to be bad. And then we might just realize if that APA meetings don't have to be job fairs, and departments can find their own ways to interview candidates on their own nickel and time, then an obvious alternative presents itself. If you want to hold an APA meeting at a time when people are likely to have fewer other constraints and the weather is good in North America: hold them in the summer. Not everyone will be able to come due to vacation plans, etc.; but that's already true. And we might actually be able to enjoy the places we visit instead of fighting weather, traffic, cold, and holiday plans. These meetings could become fun. Or is that too crazy an idea?

Anonymous said...

Weather Update: Downtown Boston is a slushy mess in the wake of snow removal efforts. Visibility is quite poor, so I expect continued flight delays. The highways seem fine at this point in time.

Placement Services: The APA placement service desk is open and some schools conducting interviews have checked in. However, there are also several cancellations posted on the bulletin board.

I spoke to someone at the registration desk and suggested posting an informative status update regarding placement/sessions/etc. on the APA website.

Anonymous said...

As of 5:10pm Eastern Time, December 27:

Schools that have officially canceled their scheduled APA interviews:

Frostburg State University
Lawrence University
UNC-Chapel Hill

(I have heard rumors of other search committee chairs contacting interviewees about cancellations, but cannot independently confirm them.)

Schools that have checked in with the APA Placement Service:

American University of Cairo
Cal. State Fullerton
Eastern Michigan
Florida International
Hunter College
Illinois Wesleyan
Lingnan University
Purdue University
Siena College
Suffolk University
Tufts University
University of Michigan, Flint
University of Texas, El Paso
Wayne State University

Anonymous said...

Started out in Portland Oregon at 4am on Sunday. I was supposed to have a connection in Denver. Well, when we get to Denver, I find out that the flight from Denver to Boston was cancelled - my mom said that they posted the cancellation as soon as we took off for Denver. All they could do in Denver was to get us as close to the east coast as possible so that we could take a train or a bus from some place like DC or Baltimore or Providence. With three possible itineraries, we board our Washington Dulles flight. When I am there, we find out that the Amtrak shut down, no buses will risk the roads, and all the flights to NY and Boston are canceled until further notice. I get a hotel at Dulles area - I am a graduate student, mind you - and wait for a weather update. Nothing happens. I buy a new ticket on Jetblue for 6am in the morning, which gets canceled at midnight. We buy another jetblue ticket for 4pm and that gets cancelled in the morning. SO basically, I don't know when I will make it to Boston, if ever. My interview is on Wednesday, so there's still a slim chance that I might make it. My SC emailed me to say that they understand that there are severe weather conditions, but the interviews will proceed as planned. And they wish me safe travels. Do I really want to work for/with these people? Discuss.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:53

Go get a hooker for the night and catch the first flight back to Oregon in the morning.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the detailed update, Anon 2.10!

The attitude of search committees here is atrocious - all the worse because they know, in the current market, they don't need to be considerate at all. There are dozens of potential good candidates, so they don't really need to care if they alienate some people. This is just another example of the way the whole APA set-up makes things harder and harder for those at the bottom of the pile.

Anonymous said...

Leiter's legal advice is wrong (he has not been practicing law for a long time). Since job candidates can reasonably avail themselves of alternative means to transport themselves to the interview site (e.g. a private jet or helicopter) an institution declining to interview a candidate through skype or by phone would not violate EEO. Here reasonably involves shouldering an unreasonable expense, but that's the law!

Anonymous said...

The Times Square hotel was quite nice, and, if memory serves me well, the conference rates were not significantly higher than the rates at the 6th Ave hotel the APA had been using.

Sure, the Times Square hotel was nice -- until you tried to leave it and were confronted by hordes of lost, mindless tourists on constricted sidewalks amid preparations for the annual Times Square New Year's Eve event. What a great fucking idea that was!

And I could give a rat's ass whether the rates were comparable to the 6th Ave hotel, because here's the thing: a philosophy conference --and especially the primary occasion for philosphy job interviews-- doesn't have to take place in an expensive city! Self-congratulatory talk about "the life of the mind" by people who deep down want to feel like they're aristocrats.

zombie said...

One interview scheduled for Tuesday has already been delayed b/c one member of the SC still can't get here. But they have been communicating with me regularly and are doing what they can to reschedule, and have been very apologetic about the chaos. Another SC contacted me to say that the interview tomorrow is on, and sent me the location.
I'm not getting the impression that these people don't care about the candidates, although some SCs might be uncaring or indifferent. Luckily, I've made it to Boston.

The double hotel conference is a pain. Lots of walking back and forth, through a very upscale mall I can't afford. Neither the placement office nor the registration desk were busy at midday, so hard to gauge attendance.

CTS said...

I'm starting to have that broken record (cracked cd?) feeling, but the SCs really, really, do want to interview you and treat you well. Most, at least.

One thing to note about this year's disaster: it was all up and down the east coast. So, wile a southern city might be better on average, it would not have helped this time. (And, Florida post-Xmas? incredibly expensive.)

Also: the timing of the meetings, if we do interviews at the meetings, has to make sense in terms of when programs hear they have got a position funded. I think we could move earlier than the awful dates we have, but most places do not know if they are getting funding in August or September.