Thursday, March 13, 2014

W Speaks About Her PFO FO

W has just commented in the thread about her FO letter. I especially like the part where she mentions "all the moralizing comments" (I've been thinking about just that sort of thing lately in relation to some of the debate surrounding the Colorado site visit report, e.g., the demonstrated collective quickness to judge for ourselves, rather than slowing down and attempting to understand; it seems to me symptomatic of a narrow view of rationality, which if not unique to philosophy and if not something some forms of philosophical training fosters, has been characteristic of a lot of our discussions lately; hopefully more later).

Anyway, W:
This is W — I thought I would just offer a few more facts. 
Up front: I agree with those arguing that I made a mistake in negotiating. It was a clear case of a miscommunication between the institution and myself. This is how I thought negotiating worked, how I learned to do it, and, for that matter, how I think it should work: you ask about a number of perks and maybe get some of them. I was expecting to get very few of the perks I asked about, if anything at all, given what would be possible for a small college like Nazareth. I certainly did not expect to get either a junior leave or a year for my postdoc. I just thought there was no harm in asking.

Since many commenters seem to be interested in the salary increase I asked for. Maybe two things will be helpful.

1. I asked for a less then 20% increase in salary. 
2. When I negotiated for another tenure track offer in philosophy I asked for a more than 20% increase in salary and was offered it. In that case, too, I was not expecting it to be offered. I have also been involved in negotiating in non-academic contexts and (maybe wrongly) got the sense that it works along the “there is no harm in asking”-lines as well. 
Of course my limited negotiating experience by no means provides data about the right or best thing to do in these kinds of situations. 
On maternity leave: 
I had already had discussions with someone at the college about maternity leave, and understood that what I was asking for was already unofficial policy. In other words, I was asking for what they were verbally offering me in writing. 
I would also like to stress that I was very excited about the job and in general about the prospect of teaching at a small college with a high teaching load. If the offer had been upheld, and I would have chosen to not accept the offer, it would certainly not have been because I want a more research intensive job — I don’t. 
The reason for asking about the perks (especially about the course reduction and about limiting the number of preps) was not only to make room for my research but also to ramp up to doing a good job teaching a number of classes that I have not taught before. When I visited I did get the sense that continuing research at a reasonable rate would be expected for tenure. All that said, I think that doing a good job with both their teaching and research expectations is most likely possible without being granted any of the perks I asked about.

There was plenty of much warmer emailing going on between Nazareth’s philosophy department and myself before I sent the negotiating email you saw on the Smoker. And I had hoped to have sufficiently communicated my excitement. Earlier in the day before I sent the email posted, I sent another email that was meant as a warning that I was now switching to what one might call a “negotiating tone”. I obviously didn’t do a good enough job communicating that, though. 
All this said, I am flabbergasted by all the moralizing in the comments on this thread. Hopefully a few philosophers on the market can learn from my mistakes.
Comments are closed here, but open on the other thread.

-- Jaded, Ph.D.