Thursday, September 5, 2013

PhilJobs/JFP

I've been using the joint PhilJobs/JFP website for a few weeks now. It seems to me that it works very well. They seem to have retained the entire PhilJobs user interface, which was better and more intuitive than any version of the online JFP. It also seems to me that the various search functions work better than the ones from the most recent online JFP did. I tested it on jobs in my AOS, and the search did not exclude any jobs. There were some false positives, but (a) in each case it was clear why the search picked it up, and (b) I'd rather have false positives than false negatives. I also like the "save job" function, which seems like it works better than the "star" function from last year's JFP. And I like that they just aren't running ads that violate the APA's nondiscrimination policy.

It's still very early in the job-market season, and so it's hard to say what the ultimate impact of the merger will be. And I haven't used PhilJobs very much before this--my usual procedure up until now was to consult the JFP first and foremost, and then to spot-check the other sources for jobs that didn't show up there. It was generally a pretty small number. So I don't really have a sense for how this is affecting PhilJobs. Maybe some Smokers who are more PhilJobs-savvy could weigh in: does there seem to be an appreciably larger or smaller number of ads up for this time of year? Does there seem to be an appreciably smaller number of ads for community college positions? For positions outside the English-speaking world?

My initial impression, when the merger was announced, was that it was all-things-considered awesome. That is still my impression. I think that the PhilJobs interface is superior in every important way to that of the JFP, and the fact that the JFP is now free to candidates is decisively awesome. Some comments left on that post convinced me that there were reasons to worry that PhilJobs will decline in quality as a result of the merger, because it will now adopt the JFP's practice of charging advertisers. But subsequent commentary convinced me that there were also reasons to worry that without the merger PhilJobs would have ceased to exist due to lack of funds. So I guess I'd rather have a somewhat worse PhilJobs that still exists as a PJ/JFP fusion than the same old JFP and a non-existent PhilJobs.

Though I guess I could be wrong. Am I wrong?

Anyways, it seems to me that this is another in a recent streak of good moves by the APA. And although I thought that last year's redesign of the JFP was a substantial improvement over the previous version, I am particularly impressed that they were willing to abandon it after only one year when this clearly better opportunity arose. A lot of people/organizations wouldn't have wanted to do that.

--Mr. Zero

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amy Ferrer has been a godsend to the APA, and I take that to be a pretty uncontroversial statement.

Bobster said...

Would anyone mind giving a brief summary of the job application process? As I understand it, next month or so philosophers will apply for jobs to begin the fall semester of 2014. They will hear back about these positions in roughly February of 2014.

I especially curious about how far into the dissertation one should be to be on the market. Let's say a philosopher reasonably anticipates defending sometime in the spring of 2014 and then receiving the PhD in May 2014. That philosopher should go on the job market this year, no?

Mr. Zero said...

Would anyone mind giving a brief summary of the job application process?

Sure.

As I understand it, next month or so philosophers will apply for jobs to begin the fall semester of 2014.

Yes. So far, so good.

You'll want to have certain materials ready. CV; writing sample; statement of teaching "philosophy"; statement of what you plan to do, research-wise, over the next few years; some form of student evaluations of your teaching; some sample syllabi for courses in your AOCs; stuff like that.

They will hear back about these positions in roughly February of 2014.

Not exactly. Search committees that interview at the E-APA will contact the winners sometime between the 1st and 26th of December. SCs that don't interview at the APA are unpredictable. Could be late November, could be March. I've been contacted in May before (but only for jobs that were listed late).

I especially curious about how far into the dissertation one should be to be on the market.

There are no rules. It's better if it's pretty plausible that you'll defend before the job starts--if you're hired and then can't or don't defend before reporting for duty, everything will be fucked. But it's not as though you have to have a defense date set. Although the more convincing your letter-writers can be about how you will definitely be totally finished really soon, the better.

Let's say a philosopher reasonably anticipates defending sometime in the spring of 2014 and then receiving the PhD in May 2014. That philosopher should go on the job market this year, no?

That seems like a sensible plan. I'm sure there are details that I'm unaware of, but based on this description, I don't see why not.

Anonymous said...

Yes, you probably should go on the job market, especially if you're going to be out of funding at your institution.

However: keep in mind that the job market is very competitive, and that your letter writers need to be able to talk about your dissertation in some detail, and your writing sample needs to be polished. So you need to be quite a ways through (or at least able to give that impression).

The application process is more emotionally and psychologically time consuming (for most) than it is actually time consuming - but this depends a bit on how many jobs you apply for and how obsessively you tailor your cover letters.

If you have a strong publication record and/or good teaching experience, or your adviser is hot-shit, etc. then you might get a job even if your dissertation is only 2/3 or 3/4 the way done (or whatever) at the moment of application.

But: for many folks, if you no longer have the option of funding at your PhD granting institution, it means applying for one-years, VAPS, post-docs, Barista jobs, and so on in addition to tenure track jobs.

Some might argue that you should wait until you've defended or are nearly done to go on the job market (because it does take some time to apply - time that could be better spent on your research and teaching). But I say: apply - you can't win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket.

zombie said...

I kinda like how the job listings are trickling in -- it's like getting little presents every day. (Although some days, those presents are from Harvard, and they have a tag that says "not for the likes o' you.")

On the other hand, maybe I'll miss that suspenseful waiting-at-the-starting-line feeling in early October when the JFP used to drop. I doubt I'll miss it a lot.

Anonymous said...

"If you have a strong publication record and/or good teaching experience, or your adviser is hot-shit, etc. then you might get a job even if your dissertation is only 2/3 or 3/4 the way done (or whatever) at the moment of application."

That was me. One pub as MA, dissertation 1/2 done, strong teaching evals, hired and defense done by the end of the first semester. Happily tenured. You just have to work your ass off--and more than that--still be just damn lucky.

Luck is underrated in all this. I wish you all good luck.

Anonymous said...

Bobster: You should definitely go on the job market - so long as your letter writers (whom you should contact ASAP!) are comfortable writing you strong letters at this point in the game. An overwhelming majority of applications are online, so you really have nothing to lose (unless you are lucky/unlucky enough to score an interview with an institution that insists on interviewing at the E-APA).

Keep in mind that the timeline has changed a bit in the past 5 years or so, particularly with the move away from interviewing at the APA. I've had on-campus interviews (more than one!) in early to mid December, and first-round interviews as late as March. If you have a busy semester, or you've never given a long talk, it is a good idea to start thinking about your job talk and schedule a practice run. As it turns out, preparing a job talk while teaching four classes and writing final exams is not a good time, and giving said talk for the first time in a room full of badass philosophers who are judging you is also less than ideal.

Anonymous said...

looks like a terrible year for history of philosophy so far...I think I have found only one or two history positions.

Anonymous said...

Back to the question of the JFP Philjobs merger. It seems to me a negative, at least in the following regard. Pre-merger, one could almost count on philjobs listing jobs that did not appear in JFP, but appeared in other sources. That is no longer the case. Several jobs have only been advertised on other sites and not on philjobs. I assume this is a result of the merger and the related matter of it costing to post a job on philjobs, whereas formerly, it was free.

Confirmation: The brumsv who run the show were mere wantons; they had 3283 first order desires, but no second order desires.

Anonymous said...

It seems like there are far less jobs so far than this time last year. But this is also the first year where schools were given some kind of standardized plan for putting out ads. Now that the old system is dead, I guess it is hard to tell when the 'big posting' of jobs will come.

Anonymous said...

Even given how the job market cycle is starting to decouple from the JFP publication schedule + the Eastern APA, I suspect it's still too early to infer how many jobs there'll be this year (yet). The academic year has just begun for many departments, and decisions about hiring usually aren't made until after that happens.

Anonymous said...

My highly subjective and shouldn't-be-relied-upon impression is that, if anything, the job market is slightly better this year than in the past few years. It's only mid-September -- the vast majority of jobs probably won't be posted until October sometime -- but already there are quite a few ads.

Just today I see that the Univ of Pittsburgh is hiring 5 tt or tenure positions. 5!

Anonymous said...

@12:10 Where are you seeing the positions at Pittsburgh?

Anonymous said...

I don't see anything from Pittsburgh. Where are you looking?

Anonymous said...

Was that a joke? Not that I could get a job at Pitt, but I don't see any ad by them on philjobs or the phylo board. Is there some job board I'm unaware of?

Anonymous said...

The Pitt jobs are posted on academic jobs online. I wasn't the original poster, but I thank him or her for making me do a Google search and realize that there are jobs posted somewhere else than Philjobs now.

http://academicjobsonline.org/ajo/jobs/3202

Anonymous said...

Yes indeed, thank you original poster! I hadn't been checking academicjobsonline, either.

Anonymous said...

Request for a new thread:

I am about to go on the job market for the first time post PhD. I have had one year of a postdoc, but I imagine others who have spent two or three years on a postdoc have the same question.

Are there any differences between what search committees will expect from my job app now and what they expected a year ago? What mistakes might I avoid as I prepare for the market this year?

Thanks for your help in advance.

David Bourget said...

The Pitt jobs on AJO have just been posted on Friday (one business day ago). Presumably, they intend to post on PhilJobs once they have their application page setup on AJO.