Here are my stats for the '12/'13 job market season:
- Applications: 43
- APA interviews: 0
- Skype interviews: 0
- Phone interviews: 0
- On-campus interviews: 0
- Nibbles of any kind: 0
- Servings of beer/cocktails: ≈∞
Obviously, this was incredibly shitty. There was the growing realization that I wasn't getting any APA interviews, which at least had the upside that my presence would not be required in Atlanta. Then there was the growing realization that I wasn't getting any post-APA delayed-schedule first-round interviews, either. Or any straight-to-campus-visit type interviews. And that none of my late-season applications were going to pan out, either. Pure shit.
And it's not as though I was an unprepared or inexperienced job-seeker. I based my application materials on the materials I used the previous year, when I had what I thought was a pretty good number of interviews. I went over everything carefully myself before I sent it all to my grad program's placement director--we had a new PD this year, and he wanted to go over everything with a fine-tooth comb. He was amazingly, terrifically helpful--we talked on the phone for an hour while he went over everything in my dossier line by line. Then, in post-mortem, he and my dissertation director went back over everything again. Everything looked good. No suggestions.
I've talked about this with a lot of people, and thought about it a lot. I'm inclined to suspect that it was just bad luck, but I also worry that I'm getting stale. In any case, while it's sort of comforting to know that there isn't any royal fuckup in my application packet that kept me from getting interviews, it's pretty frustrating not to have any idea how to prevent this from happening again. Shit, fuck.
It's also pretty frustrating because I really do feel like my career is going pretty well, notwithstanding my many failures on the job market. My teaching and publishing are going well. I more than satisfy the requirements for tenure at my current institution, and I have done this in well under the time allotted for tenure-line faculty here, and I have done this while managing a course load that is approximately double that of my tenure-line colleagues. I feel like I should be getting interviews.
I mean, I'm not trying to say that I "deserve" a job. 'Deserve' is a strong word, and makes it sound like there is an injustice here, as though I have been wronged. I don't think I have been wronged. And I don't teach at Princeton, and my institution's requirements for tenure are not Princeton's, and I wouldn't qualify for tenure at Princeton. I'm not a hot shot. But I would qualify for tenure (or be very close to it) at most of the places I sent applications to this fall, and I think that there's something kind of wrong with a situation where tenurable candidates aren't getting any interviews. And I particularly hate that it's me.
Now, look. I'm not trying to be all complainy. I've said before that, except for the job market, my career is going pretty well. It is. Except for the job market, my whole life is going pretty well. I've got a good job where I work hard at work that I find meaningful and where my hard work is appreciated. I get along with my colleagues really well. I have a modicum of year-to-year job security--more than VAP positions ordinarily come with--and this makes an enormous, incalculable difference in my life. I'm really happy with the philosophy I'm producing, and with my publication record. I literally get paid to talk about philosophy. My marriage is good, and my kid is healthy and happy. When people ask me how I'm doing, I say, "good," because I am.
But I sure do fucking hate having to be on the fucking job market every god damn year.