Saturday, December 17, 2011

A bunch of questions for y'all that I should have posted a long time ago but didn't because I'm not as good at blogging as I used to be

From Prof. Lurker, about advisors and the APA:
Is it perceived as either (a) a moral norm or (b) an important convention that the supervisors of job seekers be there at the Eastern APA for moral support, networking help etc.? I've done so in the past, but felt completely useless -- so far, no one has ever needed my advice or a shoulder to cry on at that stage, and I'm not very good at the networking-with-strangers stuff. (People I actually know at the hiring schools I will email well before then.) So, what are your experiences and perceptions? As a job seeker, have you found it helpful or reassuring to have your advisor there? Is there a perception that a student whose advisor isn't there is being less enthusiastically supported? On the simplifying assumption that it's otherwise a pointless inconvenience and waste of money, am I still obliged to go?
FemFilosofer on women's interview attire:
I 've always been amused by the conversations on the blog about interview attire, especially those about women's interview attire. What I've learned from these conversations is that 1) I should wear a suit, 2) I should not wear a suit; a) I should wear heels, b) I should not wear heels; *) I should wear makeup, **) I should not wear makeup. In addition, riding in elevators with interviewees (lucky bastards) at the APA while they discuss the merits of the red tie with the sailboats versus the blue tie with the fleur de lis has become somewhat of a spectator sport for me. I'm probably going to turn all of these things into an article someday. But for now, here's a link to a fun article on Jezebel about the Duke Women Law Student Association. It might be heartening to know that even though the Smoker conversations test my mind's ability to handle contradictions, no one has ever (to my knowledge) informed the philosophy dudettes to get proper bra fittings before the APA. Be heartened, philosophers. We're not the craziest of the crazies.

And, for full disclosure, my preferred interview attire is a skirt and a cardigan. But you won't find me in an elevator at the APA squirming about my decision to wear grey tights instead of black ones.
Perhaps too late, but BR asks and my answer is that you should e-mail the department):
Say that in between the time when an application is due (e.g. Nov. 4, Nov. 15, or Dec. 1 etc.) and the time when the committee makes a decision about APA interviews (December?) one gets a paper accepted for publication (or some other significant thing happens). What should one do? Should one email the department and ask to have their dossier updated?
Okay. I'll try to be better. See y'all at the APA.



Anonymous said...

@Prof. Lurker:

I have a supportive adviser, and I wouldn't expect him to be there.

I should also say that, as a candidate, I'm not in a position to know how important on-site networking might be. (If I had reason to think it was important but that my adviser wasn't there, then I might feel discouraged).

If you're not able to be there, emailing your advisee and letting her/him know that you've been contacting people is one supportive thing you can do.

Anonymous said...

Prof. Lurker, my sense is that you are under no obligation to go to the APA. I say this as a graduate student currently on the market whose advisor will not be at the APA. However, my advisor has set up mock interviews, asked tough questions, given advice about how to "frame" responses, given tips and personal lessons learned, and done whatever he can to instill confidence in me. If you do that, then actually physically being at the APA is far less important.

Anonymous said...

I think the question might be about placement directors (who supervise all job candidates in a department; they exist in some departments but not in others), rather than advisers. Expecting a placement adviser to be there for many job seekers seems more reasonable than expecting an adviser to be there for one.

Apart from the actual functions you might serve, if you were my placement director and broke the norm/tradition/near-exceptionless regularity of attending in my year I would likely take that to indicate that I was being less than enthusiastically supported, and have a moment or two of quite desperate panic. Though I might also think that I was being irrational in doing so.

If there were some compelling reason for nonattendance ("my child is sick," definitely; "my cat is sick," maybe) combined with forceful reassurance about the efforts you're putting into behind-the-scenes networking etc., I would probably have less of a panic attack.

This is all of course navel-gazing introspection. YMMV

Anonymous said...

Is it normal for advisors to take steps to help their students get jobs? (I.e., beyond helping them write good dissertations: things like helping them network or emailing people they know at hiring schools.) I am not aware of any of this going on at my school and I had been under the impression that behind-the-scenes activities like these were not common anymore. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Good advisers will introduce you to people and help you network and help you get published. Adequate advisers will help you write your dissertation and polish future work. Terrible advisers will do none of the above.

Anonymous said...

Yes it still happens, not sure how much. Also not sure how effective it is! I think good rec letters matter more.

Anonymous said...

I am curious how helpful others have found their placement directors. The placement director in my department has done virtually nothing to help those on the market--no meetings, no advice, no effort to contact individuals at hiring departments (at least, there is no evidence for that). At several points, it has been clear that the placement director was ignorant of which grad. students were on the market at all. Is this typical of placement directors? If not, is it a substantial disadvantage to have a useless director?

zombie said...

That advice for women lawyers doesn't surprise me or strike me as crazy. I would imagine that lawyers are expected to be more image conscious and put together looking than many other professions. Their uniform is a suit. Part of the job of courtroom lawyers is performing in front of the public. (Doctors seem to have it easiest -- scrubs and lab coats can hide a multitude of sins.) If they are not learning that stuff in a classroom, and I would think they are not, then the information has to come from somewhere. Just as many college students cannot (apparently) distinguish between the standards for academic grammar and spelling and what flies in facebook, perhaps the difference between nightclub attire and lawyerly dress are similarly lost on some law students.

Getting a professional bra fitting is good advice for any woman who wears a bra. The secret formula for bra sizing is an arcane piece of knowledge that ordinary mortals cannot hope to understand on their own. (And it's not just about how it looks, but also about comfort.) (But do avoid Victoria's Secret -- their fitters are ng.)

RexII said...

My dissertation director was also the placement director the first couple of years I was on the market. He would hold a meeting each year for everyone on the market to discuss the application process. Even after his meeting, he'd read sample cover letters, look at cvs, answer other questions.

He would arrange mock interviews. My mock-SC apologized in advance for the treatment they planned to dish out. Nothing personal, they said. I deserved the apology.

FWIW, I'm not sure this rough treatment did me any good. I would have thought twice about accepting a position at a place they represented. I only met one person near as rude as them in my interviews. I have heard horror stories from others, however, so maybe it wasn't useless after all.

My DD/PD rarely went to the winter APA, because of the timing of the event. If he was ever there when I was interviewing, I didn't look for him.

No networking at APA from my school, though a school not far from mine did this. I know b/c I talked to them there, and this is what they told me they were doing with some of their time.

When we compiled lists of schools we were interested in, we'd send them around the department. Professors who knew anyone at these places were invited to send a note. They kept their own counsel about whether they ever did. We were told to expect nothing more than "please do take a look at x's application, we like him/her". Seemed fair enough to us.

Anonymous said...

Of course, no bra will do the job, including the empty bra (unless you are a logician).

Anonymous said...

Yes, you should by all means update the search committees on your publication, and do so as soon as possible, because many of them would have already made their interviewing decisions by now. I received a book contract to publish my dissertation after sending out quite a lot of applications, and I emailed someone or other from every department I had sent something to (the search committee chair if I knew who it was and what their email was, otherwise the department chair or administrative assistant working for the department).

Not that it's helped so far this time around. No interviews yet. But there are still a number of jobs not on the Wiki, and some of the ones on the Wiki might not be done contacting people, so I'm not giving up hope yet.

zombie said...

Anon 8:54 -- you must have the same placement director I had my first year on the market.

Anonymous said...

Smokers who have reserved rooms at the APA conference hotel and need to modify their reservations should note that the Marriott Wardman has a less forgiving window for cancellation:

"Cancel Policy:

Cancellation policy is 7 days prior to arrival, hotel time, in order to avoid one nights [sic] room and tax to the credit card."

Last year, the Copley in Boston allowed you to cancel the day of. So, heads-up!

Anonymous said...

Off-topic question: I'm an undergrad and preparing a presentation on women in philosophy. I need some good quotes (single sentence, preferably) from "famous" female philosophers. Anyone have some gems? Much of what I'm finding aren't really one-liners or catchy like I need. Thanks and good luck on the market everyone. I hope (?) to be there in your shoes in the next few years.

zombie said...

"An ethical theory which, when consistently followed through, has iniquitous consequences is a bad theory and must be changed... We cannot directly conclude that the cosequences cease to stink the moment they are seen to follow from our theory." ~ Mary Midgley

Not really a one-liner, but one of my favorite quotes.

Anonymous said...

Based on previous years, how common is it for a job not to be updated on the wiki when first-round interviews are scheduled? Is it unusual for a department to schedule interviews without that fact being posted?

Anonymous said...

In other news, I just got a PFO from UIC that listed all the reject's email addresses in the "to" field. So now who applied -- and who was rejected -- is more or less public knowledge. Outrageous. In my case, it won't do any harm, but I don't appreciate it, and I'm sure others don't either. And it could certainly harm others, who for various reasons might not have wanted to advertise to anyone that they are applying to that job.


Anonymous said...

@5:59 -- this is not an easy task for philosophers of either (any) gender, is it? There's Kant's starry sky business, but "snappy one-liners of the philosophers" is not as rich a vein as you might initially think. Or am I wrong? I like zombie's entry, though.

Anonymous said...

Errr... Bra fitting is pretty easy, actually. (I'm one of those philosophers that has had to work real jobs from high school all the way through doctoral degree... One of this earlier jobs was working in the lingerie department of a major department store.)

All you really need is a tape measure and a google search for "bra fitting." And then to go try on lots of bras in that size, find a style or two that work, buy that in black, nude, and white, and hope they never discontinue those styles so you never have to go through the process again. Fellow philosophy ladies! It definitely less complicated than like modal metaphysics or something.

Anonymous said...

2:57, I just saw that as well. Unfortunate. At least the chair sent a follow-up apology (kind of). Still, it is not cool having your rejection advertised, especially if you're in a sensitive position.

zombie said...

No, I definitely got modal metaphysics more easily than bra fitting.

But I spent more time on modal metaphysics, tis true.

FemFilosofer said...

Zombie et al., the advice struck me as odd not because of the content--some of it is good professional advice, generally--but the manner and language used to convey the advice was offputting.

I found the tone condescending. It was a list of commands rather than recommendations, and it assumed that their audience was clueless. Perhaps some of their fellow students are, but they could have helped rather than belittled or commanded their sisters-in-law (see what I did there?? eh?)

I then thought of all the awesome things a women's law student association could be doing to help women succeed in their still very masculine profession and was kind of sad that *this* is what they spent their time doing. Don't get me wrong, I have thought long and hard about interview attire, and refrained from getting my hair dyed the color I really wanted because of APA interviews next week. However, if I was going to gather a bunch of smart, talented women together for tips on interviewing, I wouldn't spend an hour detailing what the ominous "we" recommend in terms of deodorant. In the end, it might have the effect of encouraging women to focus on their bodies' and accessories' conformity to certain standards rather than letting their intellects and personalities shine.