Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How Do You Register for the Eastern APA Meeting?

Prof Kate recently asked,

I cannot seem to figure out how to register for the Eastern APA. I log on to apaonline. I click on the bright red "Register" link on the homepage, and it takes me to an 'events' page with this sort of calendar interface, as if I'm searching for flights, you know? So I enter the appropriate date range, and it prompts me for the city, and I type Washington. Then... then what? I click 'filter' but nothing happens. Friends, Smokers, frokers, please tell me what I'm doing wrong. (And DON'T say "you're using apaonline, is what you're doing wrong." Cuz I know, I know... I blame myself.)

Well, how?

--Mr. Zero


Anonymous said...

I had the same problem. Answer:you print out the bloody form and fax it or send it like it was 1995.

Anonymous said...

I wish it were so simple. I tried faxing it twice. Fail. So I mailed in the form, but my credit card still hasn't been charged, so apparently I'm not registered. This was in September. The APA won't even take the money I'm giving them freely!

Anonymous said...

Well so much for me registering in advance :P


Prof. Kate said...

Awesome, I am so happy to see that the labels on my query-post include "Doom" and "WTF". This is the best thing that's happened to me all day.

No one's had the experience yet of successfully registering online, really? No one? Come on, successful people, tell us your secret!

In other news, when I went to "My Account," some Spanish man's name was my primary email address?? WTH?

Anonymous said...

Are they still doing the thing where it costs more to register at the conference? I don't want to have to pay more money, just because their website is dysfunctional.

Anonymous said...

wow. you can't make up these stories of APA website incompetence

Anonymous said...

I think I can see an additional line flicker onto the very shortly and then disappear when I open the page (my computer is from 2001, on faster ones one cannot see it).

I had the same problem with the page for paying international dues a while ago. I emailed the APA's IT guy, who replied that it was a problem with the website and that they had informed the vendor.

Jamie Dreier said...

I also tried to pre-register by fax about six weeks ago, and notice recently that my credit card was never charged.
The scoop is that they have a problem with their database, so they aren't going to process the pre-regs for a couple more weeks. But I was assured that my September fax was sufficient.

Anonymous said...

I have a quick question. If the only address and name given on a job ad is for the Human Resource dept then who do you address your cover letter to? Dear HR person, or do you simply substitute the name of the chair of the dept.?

zombie said...

Anon 5:20 -- try to find out who is the chair of the search committee. Failing that, address it to the dept chair.

(Allegedly, it's good to know who's on the SC, so your grad dept can contact their friends on the committee on your behalf. Although I never found that to be any help to me.)

Prof. Kate said...

Anon 5:20, I've never used the HR person's name. I have, when the website of a school was unrevealing, simply opened with "Dear Search Committee members," although that's so 20th century it creaks.

If the website of a department indicates who the chair is, address it to the chair. No one will take that amiss. The dorky address to search committees did net me some interviews, though, so I gather no one minded that either.

Anonymous said...

Arg! It's info like this that makes rookies like me panic. I addressed all my cover letters to "whom it may concern".

(head hits desk.)

Anonymous said...

I would make stylisic concerns about whom you address in your cover letter the least of your concerns. What Prof. Kate says, is, in my view, pretty silly. Most of the ads have (or in the past few years have had) ``please address to Search Committee,...'' explicitly stated. In any case, no one gives a shit about that.

Anonymous said...

Why do we not have a movement to cut our losses with the new APA website, and arrange /argue /petition for the requisite people to restore the old website?

Why is no one trying to find out whether there is anyone (without a conflict of interest) who prefers the new website?

Surely the old website is backed up on at least one or two servers somewhere.

Is anyone defending the preservation of the new website? If not, why aren't people doing things to get the old website back up?

Anonymous said...

No one, and I mean absolutely no one, should care who you address the letter to. If anyone does, they are likely a sociopath. I addressed all my letters to "to whom it may concern". I have a top 20 job. I've been on several search committees. Not once have I ever even looked at the initial address. Why would this matter to anyone?

zombie said...

It is also acceptable, because we are talking about a business letter here, to forgo the "dear ___" and simply begin your letter. After all, you have already included the addressee and address at the top of the letter. Personally, I would do that before I addressed it generically to "To Whom..."

Perhaps no one on an SC cares. Perhaps it is merely a matter of etiquette. I would not lose sleep over it, but I would (and did) endeavor to be courteous and professional when addressing letters. I consider it discourteous when an SC sends me a generically addressed Dear Applicant letter. But apparently I'm a sociopath.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:41 -- I doubt very much that the way you address the cover letter will make any difference for the final outcome. Relax.

Anonymous said...

I'm with zombie, though not so comfortable with "Dear" unless I am replying to someone who has used the same to address me. I'm old-school and tenured for more years than many of readers here have been alive. Way back when I bristled about the "To Whom It May Concern" opening when applying for jobs. As if you were writing to someone to whom it may NOT concern?? So I always wrote "To Whom It Concerns" as a generalized recommendation. Drop the goddamn "may". Learn names, address committees respectfully, or use my lame "To Whom It Concerns". But drop unnecessary pleasantries and be respectfully direct.

Anonymous said...

Research schools do not care who you address your letter to. What matters is the writing sample, the letters, and your cv. The market is not totally random or crazy or subjective. Yes, luck is involved, but in the end, the search committees are looking at your work and your accomplishments.

Anonymous said...

One addition to 6:55: your potential collegiality matters. That always matters. An air of superiority, aloofness, cluelessness matters. If you need be instructed on these traits, then you are at best a peculiar genius, and at worst an intolerable pedantic pariah. Either way at the extreme--don't join my department. Consider this.

Anonymous said...

And... Tenured Sociopath shows up to demonstrate just how incredibly fucked up the hiring process is. Can you really make an informed judgment about someone's pretensions or lack thereof based on a salutation?

Despite all of the protestations to the contrary, the process is rife with misapprehensions and wildly divergent expectations. It clearly involves as much luck as any other factor. Not totally random and subjective, but mostly so.

Anonymous said...

"Oh look this candidate has 10 publications in top journals, and look at his letter from the most famous person in his area! But his salutation was so impersonal. He must be a d-bag." [Places file in bin.]

Anonymous said...

I have been on or chaired about ten search committees. Never once did anyone give any evidence of caring about how the cover letter was addressed. What do SCs care about? Your writing sample. Your letters. Your publications. Your teaching and collegiality, especially for a SLAC.

Job seekers: take heart. Some people like to make it seem like getting a job is a total crapshoot. Maybe this makes it easier to handle rejection: I can understand that. But while it is true that some people never find a job and some people are treated unfairly, it is simply not true that getting a job is akin to a roll of the dice. Lots of people get jobs. Lots of people are treated fairly.

zombie said...

Dear Shitbag Search Committee,

I know you don't care about my cover letter, so here's my brilliant writing sample and CV. Read them carefully and then go fuck yourselves. Don't judge me, you sociopaths. See you at APA.

Your future colleague,
I.M. Thesecondcoming

Anon 5:20 asked a simple question. How do you address a letter when the only contact name you have is in HR, but you know that the people reading the letter will be on a search committee. That's a perfectly legitimate question. A simple question of letter-writing etiquette. To which s/he received a reasonable and straightforward answer.

Will different SCs place different emphasis on the letter, from none to some? Yep. Does anyone seriously deny this? Not everyone will (or hopes to) get a job at a top 20 research school. Some philosophers find life worth living at a SLAC, believe it or not. Or even a (gasp!) non-top-tier research school. To offer advice that is only suitable to one type of SC is to dismiss jobseekers who are not looking for only one type of job. There is nothing wrong with caring about how a cover letter is addressed. It would be foolish to assume that nobody anywhere cares about the salutation. Nobody here is claiming it carries a lot of weight. But it would be absurd to claim that it never matters. It does. It matters in philosophy just as it matters in other professional contexts. It's not the only thing that matters, but no one ever claimed it was.

Every spring, there's a lot of griping here about the way SCs treat jobseekers in their PFOs. That's legitimate griping. SCs solicit applications. Minimal standards of professional courtesy require them to respond with minimal professional courtesy. Many fail in this. I'm starting to see why.

Anonymous said...

5:34 - you are wrong. It is a crapshoot by definition when every job you apply to gets at least 150 applications. This is obvious. You are unable to see what is obvious.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the answer Zombie and Prof. Kate. I did ask a specific question for a specific situation. Although the abstract meditations on salutations from the people who claim this process is not a random clusterfuck of contingency only helped me to reaffirm that, in fact, it is.

Anon 5:20

Anonymous said...

But while it is true that some people never find a job and some people are treated unfairly, it is simply not true that getting a job is akin to a roll of the dice. Lots of people get jobs. Lots of people are treated fairly.

And that's exactly the point. Which group of people you fall into is akin to a roll of the dice.

It may be true that, in the past, when there were more jobs, local unfairness and contingency were balanced out by global rationality and fairness. But that's not true anymore, when not getting one job means not getting any job at all.

zombie said...

Define "a roll of the dice." I don't think it means what you think it means.

Dice rolling is, assuming the dice are not rigged, a random process, but one that is statistically predictable. It's unlikely, for instance, that the dice will always come up snake eyes. Nonetheless, it is not, generally speaking, within your control how the dice roll. Luck (construed as random processes happening to coincide with your desires or needs) plays a part.

While the applicant pool in any given year varies, such that the applicant pool YOU fall into is beyond your control, it is not a random process. People graduate with PhDs, they enter the job market, and for various reasons, jobs become available in a given year. Whether the right jobs for you come up is also beyond your control (unless you start murdering tenured profs). Whether the economy implodes and fewer jobs are available is also beyond your control (unless you work for Lehman Brothers). But it's not random, like a roll of the dice.

SCs are not, presumably, rolling the dice when they make decisions about who to hire. There are innumerable factors that might influence their decisions -- some valid and rational, some perhaps not -- some within the control of the applicant, some not. Granted, the SC takes a chance when they hire someone, gambling, as it were, on whether that person really is the right person for the job. None of that adds up to a roll of the dice.

You take a chance, when you apply for jobs, that there will be other candidates who appeal more to the SC for one reason or another. The SC might be wrong. YOU might be the ideal candidate, colleague, scholar, teacher, but you don't get chosen because you forgot to use deodorant, or you vomited on yourself on the way to the interview, or all the other applicants in your AOS came from top 10 schools, or the peer reviewers at journal X failed to "get" your brilliant article and turned it down, or they just didn't like the cut of your jib. But that's not just a matter of luck, is it? It might be a matter of bias, or irrationality, or personality disorder, but there are explanations for what happened that are lacking in a mere roll of the dice.

What I tell my students said...

A better analogy is that getting a job is like a lottery:

Publishing a paper gives you a lottery ticket. Publishing in a well-known journal might give you several. Publishing multiple papers gives you more tickets.

More teaching experience gives you more tickets (at least for certain kinds of jobs).

Having a famous adviser - another ticket.

A good writing sample - another ticket.

Who knows how big the lottery is (and it'll obviously vary from job to job), but I think this better captures the way chance plays a role.

You might do everything right - have good letters, a good school, writing sample, publications, teaching experience, etc. but still lose the lottery. But the process is (to a limited extent) non-random in that the person with good letters, pubs, teaching experience has a better chance of getting a job than the person with the crappy writing sample, no pubs, and crappy teaching experience.

So go out and get yourself some more lottery tickets!

zombie said...

Your odds of winning the lottery are very slightly better if you buy 50 tickets for one lottery than if you buy 1 ticket for each of 50 lotteries. So, if the job market is like a lottery, you should apply 50 times to the one job you really want, to increase your odds of getting it. Don't waste your time applying to the other jobs. Doing so will actually decrease your odds of getting any job.


You gotta be in it to win it.

What I tell my students said...

Well, the analogy isn't perfect, of course. What I meant is that each of these things is giving you a ticket for a given job, though different things can give you different tickets for different jobs.

Publishing in Phil Review will give you a bunch of tickets for most jobs.

Getting a teaching award will give you several tickets for many jobs, etc.

Anonymous said...

If we're going to be pedantic, it's "To whom it may concern," not "To Whom It May Concern."