Thursday, September 1, 2016

Everything is different, but the same... things are more moderner than before... bigger, and yet smaller... it's computers...

Yes, this is the thread where everyone comes to complain. So blow off some steam, but try to keep it civil...

1,137 comments:

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Anonymous said...

I wonder if the placement tracker couldn't also include two more columns on graduates who have found employment outside the academy and in the academy, but not in teaching roles.

And for those who are new to all of this, I offer these sites as potential sources of inspiration:
https://hortensii.wordpress.com/
https://humwork.uchri.org/

Anonymous said...

Eidolon nailed it today on classics and the alt right

Anonymous said...

Had me right up to the critique/condemnation of Victor Davis Hansen. Also, argument suggestion #1, which is narrow and reductionist. No need to be so divisive....

Anonymous said...

Ranting into the void re: the Eidolon article.

Have encountered pushback among those who can't handle basic reading comprehension and somehow think that the "few hundred thousand men" specifically targeted in the article equal all T**** supporters. One wishes reading comprehension could be beaten into people.

Anonymous said...

@10:05 Is it the case that Classicists typically cite VDH's work as an authoritative treatment rather than as a foil? I'd appreciate some examples because even in my relatively minimal forays into Classical military history I've seen his work singled out negatively rather than positively.

Also, I don't think #1 is narrow at all, epistemologically or ethically. Tone will matter, of course.

@9:22 If one dares to look at the comments on the Eidolon article, it's amazing how many logical fallacies one can pick out in the objections (false dichotomy is the most obvious one). These folks really are clueless, and they can't even begin to realize how clueless they are.

Anonymous said...

I think that getting into a discussion of the merits of a specific Classicist's work here is a particularly bad idea. But then, I, too, found that dig gratuitous. If it wouldn't be allowed on FV, Eidolon, maybe reconsider....

Anonymous said...

yeah, leave gratuitous digs to the archaeologists!

Anonymous said...

You wot m8?

Anonymous said...

Both VDH and DZ put themselves forward as public intellectuals, which should make their writings in that context fair game for FV.

Anonymous said...

Yes, as 8:44 observed. VDH has successfully leveraged his position as a scholar of classical antiquity in order to position himself as a public intellectual. Live by the phalanx, die by the phalanx. Calling him out here is quite fair.

Anonymous said...

Ecce, Invidia!

Anonymous said...

As December approaches, I'm looking for advice or commiseration, whatever you've got. Been on the market a few years, get interviews every year, but they never go to the next stage. This is because I get so nervous during interviews that my brain stops processing. After last year, people I know on two SCs I interviewed with said something along the lines of "we were surprised you hadn't considered [something totally relevant to your topic]." I said "but nobody asked me about that, of course I've thought of it!" Apparently, they did and I just didn't understand the question. I tried drugs and they just made me queasy. Or else years of traumatic experience have transformed my normal interview butterflies into intense nausea. I considered this year asking my advisors to put something in my letters along the lines of "he freaks in interviews but we promise he's totally normal," but I decided that would cause me to not get interviews at all. Any advice? I've thought of alcohol beforehand no matter the time of day, but I assume I'd be out if anyone smelled it. I'm so frustrated that I can do everything required, teach, publish, give talks, do departmental service, but my inability to deal with this half-hour gauntlet is going to kill my career.

Anonymous said...

Beta-blockers will work, at least to a degree. If you tried one and it made you queasy try a different one. Take them a few times in the coming weeks so that you get used to the side effects. If you are the type of person who starts to panic well before the interview itself, you need to start popping the pills as far in advance as necessary. Have friends give you a mock interview so that you can experience the side effects in an interview context.

Anonymous said...

With such a reaction to interviews (especially if you don't have such a reaction to other moments when you're put on the spot), consider that your subconscious might be telling you something.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, beta blocker person!

Yeah, 10:22, I'm sure the problem couldn't be that I desperately want to remain on the career path I've been on my whole adult life, and in order to do so I have to convince a room full of often exhausted/hungover/sick/bored strangers that I'm lively and witty and charming and brilliant, or else I will lose that dream, and this is extraordinarily stressful, and extraordinary stress squelches rather than bringing out those characteristics in me.

Anonymous said...

The following sounds trivial but helped me - and I live with anxiety in general and the feeling that my brain disconnects from my mouth in interviews in particular.

Immediate pre-interview checklist (as you are walking to the door):
Put your shoulders down (not hunched).
Take deep breaths and then steady your breathing.
Relax face muscles and then practice smiling.

Interviewers responded to the confident persona that posture was projecting and the resulting atmosphere actually made me feel (slightly) more composed.

I also found that having answers with multiple mental bullet points to which I could pivot from whatever starting point I was offered set me up to get more of my thoughts out in the moment.

Anonymous said...

If need be, practice. Get friends and mentors and do a full dress rehearsal at the SCS, down to the suit you will wear. The more that feels routine, the more you can reserve your mental and social energy to focus on unanticipated questions.

Anonymous said...

I like to think of interviewing (and teaching for that matter) as playing a role, usually a version of myself that is more confident, softer spoken, and better dressed, but who shares my research interests and teaching experience almost exactly. So when asked a question, I'm not thinking "how should I answer this?" but rather "how would the self-assured, kindly yet masculine, and vaguely avuncular Dr. Smith answer this question?" (For the record, I have a much more interesting alter ego than 'Dr. Smith' but for reasons of privacy and embarrassment I shall not disclose it here.) It may seem foolish, but as someone who very much dislikes conversing with strangers, it is easier for me to play the role of someone who actually does like it during my interviews. Full disclosure: I've had lots of interviews and a few campus visits, and been hired several times now, but haven't landed a permanent job yet. I describe this personal strategy of mine in the hope that it will be of use to someone, or at the very least a source of entertainment.

Anonymous said...

I don't have any advice that hasn't already been offered, but I can commiserate. I always walk out of interviews and think of at least 6 things that I should have brought up or said differently. It seems like most of my classicist friends feel the same way. If you and I get interviewed for the same job, you won't be the only nervous one they see.

Anonymous said...

Thank you all, you've made me feel like there's a little kindness in this thing.

Anonymous said...

As I suspected might happen, there are already inaccuracies in the Placement Tracker. I left comments on these (UT Austin 2006 and 2007), but did not correct them because I was not part of either year and do not know for sure how many people from those years are in what kinds of jobs (I do know, however, that the number of matriculated students is wrong in both years, as is the number of PhDs awarded is wrong for at least one of them). I don't know how many other inaccuracies there are for other institutions, but my bet is that there are some. Not that anything crucial rides on it, but people should be aware that these numbers are not reliably correct.

Anonymous said...

It's clear from the Placement Tracker that most of us who earned PhDs eventually left academia. I think it would be interesting to track what all those people are doing now, but it would probably be even harder to come by accurate information.

Anonymous said...

The PT is an imperfect tool by nature. Attrition and TT placement is information that should be tracked officially and made public by the SCS and graduate departments. But that will never happen, for reasons that are all the more obvious now that we've got some cohort data, however imperfect. That said, the rules at the top do not require you to be a member of a cohort to correct information: all that is required is that you are certain about your information, so go ahead and fix it. People have tried before on FV to solicit advice from those who left academia, and it never worked out, so I doubt it would on the PT, either.

Anonymous said...

November 28, 2016 at 1:58 PM is pretty close to what I do.

I am a fan of over-preparing so much that it ceases to be over-preparing. If you plot out answers to ever possible question, they quickly start to overlap. That means that you have 6-10 answers that will suit 100 or so questions. If you prepare these for a few days, you sound stilted. If you prepare them for several hours per day for a week, you can "sound" spontaneous to any question anyone can think of.

Disclosure: I've been interviewed a few times, and I do have a permanent job. The jobs I didn't get, well, I nailed those interviews (as some of the SC told me privately), but I didn't get the job because they weren't looking for what I did. HA! That sounds cliché, I know. In these specific cases and looking at whom they did hire, I believe it. You should take everything I say with all the salt in your cupboard. I believe it, but I'm just some nondescripto on the internet.

Anonymous said...

Another perspective: prepping for interviews always stressed me out so much that I literally just didn't do it, instead staying drunk / on anti-depressants / constantly playing video games in the runup to the APA as the only means I could find of managing the physical pain of anxiety. Fun fact: I did not get any jobs, despite averaging about 6 APA interviews a year (half of them TT) over three years.

So if you can find another way, maybe don't do that.

Anonymous said...

Oh man, I'm sorry. And you must be good to have gotten so many interviews. I wish there were a less cruel and arbitrary way to do this, as the current system obviously freaks out people who are in all other ways good classicists, subjecting them to a test that has almost nothing to do with how good they actually are at the job.

Anonymous said...

SC member here who remembers all too well being on the other end of the interview. For us, we use interviews to get into more detail about what we need the person to _do_. We need you to be able to imagine on the fly what it would be like for you to be at our school. What new classes could you teach for us that would excite our students? What research projects could you get going? What about our school specifically would give you what you need to thrive, and what would you in turn be able to contribute?

You can be nervous. We account for that, and we don't mind it except for your sake (we really don't want you to be uncomfortable). I can't speak for my colleagues, but I know that I was nervous, too. Just try to look us in the eye, smile a little (no need to do it constantly), and feel free to sound enthusiastic about things that are interesting to you. That will make us enthusiastic, too.

Two little suggestions:

Firstly, it is great if you have some questions for us that are a) not answerable on our website or with a statistic; b) not canned from an interview help article; c) not so vague or general as to have no real meaning. You don't need a lot of these. One or two good ones is fine.

Secondly, it is a bonus if we can talk a little about the pragmatics. For example, all classics programs right now (or nearly all) are concerned with sustaining themselves at the undergraduate level. What can you do to attract new majors? How do you keep rookie classicists engaged and involved? Or look at it from the other side: what bridges can you build with other humanities/social science/other programs in order to help demonstrate the relevance of our field? These are real concerns, and if you have ideas in these areas, that's great too.

Anonymous said...

Another SC member here who also remembers all too well being on the other end of the interview. The question I always asked was "What are your students like?" It's easy to ask (no research required), non-confrontational, meaningful to all, and usually elicits pretty telling answers, yes, about what the students are like, but also about what the faculty value.

Anonymous said...

Thank you to the kind SCs....

Texensis said...

@6:59 "I do know, however, that the number of matriculated students is wrong in both years, as is the number of PhDs awarded is wrong for at least one of them"

I was in Austin in those years, too. As I recall, one student in '07 left very early on. Should that count as attrition? In any case, I've edited the number matriculated to 10. Four PhDs is right for 2007, as well.

Anonymous said...

I have been through a number of interviews and, to be blunt, have found the expectation that I (and others) should pose questions at the end AND that we are to be judged on these absurd. There is no question that I am going to ask that will make me decide that I do not want the job, so the ONLY reason I am asking questions at the end of the interview is that I know I am supposed to. So it's just a silly charade, especially since we all know the sorts of questions we're supposed to ask. (Or most of us do.) I've asked the one about what the students are like, and have also asked about interactions with other departments, the number of majors, intellectual life, and various other things. On more than one occasion the search committee has been so thorough that I simply have had no questions and have said so, knowing that this could reflect poorly on me, but not wanting to ask a transparently b.s question. (Of course, when invited to campus I don't run out of questions, since then the answers will have meaning. But in a 30-min. conference interview both the questions from the candidates and the responses from the committees are pretty worthless, and no one's future should be determined by these.)

Okay, down from the soapbox now.

Anonymous said...

@6:33PM: finally someone speaks the truth about the STUPID end-of-interview question.

Anonymous said...

@3:42PM: I think I know the student you're referring to. I spent an entire semester in a seminar that with student; I'd say that means (s)he entered the graduate program, and so counts toward the number matriculated. If there was another who left earlier than that, I don't remember, but so long as the person enrolled and took some courses, that should count. 4 PhDs for 2007 still seems wrong to me; I count only three so far, with one still at it. But that's why I didn't change the numbers; I'm confident, but not certain, that that's right.

By the way, it's fun knowing that I almost certainly know you personally but don't know who you are.

Anonymous said...

On end-of-interview questions: one of the ones I like to ask is the one that the earlier SC member suggested we candidates be able to answer: how do you attract students to Classics? This might be something of a bullshit question, except that it does tell me a few things: first, it sometimes gives me some interesting ideas about how to attract students to classics; second, it often tells me how much the department I'm interviewing with thinks about these issues. We are, of course, not often in a position to choose between competing job offers these days, and when we are it's not likely that a committee's answer to this question will sway most of us one way or the other. But I've been surprised by how little folks have to say about it. The most egregious example was an interview I had this spring via Skype with a small liberal arts college that nonetheless had a rather impressive number of majors. There were five people on the committee. None of them had a single thing to say about how they attract students other than extraordinarily vague truisms. On the one hand, it's impressive that they manage to do so well despite apparently having no idea how they do it; on the other, it's alarming that they have given no thought about it. Then again, this particular group could have been composed entirely of cardboard cutouts of themselves with pre-recorded questions and answers and it would have made hardly any difference to the experience. So that's perhaps an unusual case. Suffice to say, though, that it is a question from which it's possible to get at least some suggestive impressions about your possible future colleagues.

The "tell me about your students" one can be useful for that, too. I once sat in a room at the SCS listening to two guys answer that question for over five minutes by talking about how their students were mostly the children of rich people who weren't smart enough to get into really good SLACs. To their credit, at least they didn't try to conceal their contempt for their institution and their students. They didn't offer me the position, but as it happens, I was offered another elsewhere, and I definitely would not have chosen differently had those two disaffected guys offered me a job.

Texensis said...

@7.52 "By the way, it's fun knowing that I almost certainly know you personally but don't know who you are. "

Likewise! And you're absolutely right about it being 3+1... I've double-checked the names of the cohort against the registrar's degree verification system, which seems a sound enough basis to edit the wiki.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, between that maneuver and your moniker, I think I have a pretty decent idea of who you are, and a pretty decent idea that you do not have a PhD from UT, or in Classics. That, or you and the person I'm thinking of have a similar penchant for Latin demonyms and technological data gathering.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, if you are who I think you are, then you can probably infer who I am by my ability to recognize you on that slender basis.

Texensis said...

"maneuver ... moniker" - Only one person could have such bad taste in alliteration.

We're certainly having more fun than those discussing interview questions.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps only I have sufficiently bad taste in alliteration that I failed even to notice that I had allowed that facet of my personality to show itself. Self-knowledge is such a fragile achievement; I'll have to be sure not to forget that in the event that I ever achieve any.

Don't we always have more fun than people discussing interview questions? I mean, I know I can be tedious, but not that tedious.

Texensis said...

@9:43 "I mean, I know I can be tedious, but not that tedious."

Don't be so sure, mensch.

Anonymous said...

I was pretty sure you'd take that bait. You're probably right anyway; after all, I did contribute to that earlier discussion of interview questions.

Anonymous said...

For those of you interested in working more on the placement tracker, and especially on tracing those people who've left academia, please get in touch with Jason Pedicone at the Paideia Institute. His Legion Project is dedicated to this exactly. Seriously, he'll be happy to hear from all of you!

Anonymous said...

10:22 11/28 here
Not sure why you lashed out with sarcasm at my comment. I spoke from years of my own and others' experiences.
Before turning to medication, I had imagined that a delicate prompt to think critically about yourself and your reactions might be useful for you.

Anonymous said...

Wow, some places on the Tracker are getting close to full!! I hope this data gets used. At the very least, future generations of potential Classics graduate students should all be invited to consider that long list of 0's and 1's in the third column before deciding that this is their path. I had No Idea those were the odds when I was 22.

Anonymous said...

Question @1:24. You say that you want questions "a) not answerable on our website or with a statistic; b) not canned from an interview help article; c) not so vague or general as to have no real meaning." Could you give some examples? Most interviewees actually have very limited knowledge of a department, since the department's website is usually their only or primary source, and those are often incredibly vague.

Anonymous said...

12:38 wrote: "At the very least, future generations of potential Classics graduate students should all be invited to consider that long list of 0's and 1's in the third column before deciding that this is their path."

I wholeheartedly agree that this information should be presented to people considering graduate school in order to enable them to make an informed decision. I can also say that I, too, expected better prospects when I entered graduate school. But on the whole my attitude upon looking at the Placement Tracker is surprise at how much better things are than I thought they were. Perhaps it depends on how many people we expected to have completed the PhD and not remained in academia long-term back before things went to shit, and perhaps it also depends on just how shitty we'd thought this shit has gotten. I certainly wouldn't describe the current situation as reflected in the Placement Tracker as good. But it really is better than I thought. Well, ok, maybe 'less bad' is the more appropriate way to put it. When one considers that we've had something close to a 10:1 candidate:job ratio for the past several years, it's pretty remarkable that it's not much, much worse.

Then again, the advice I was given when I decided to go to grad school, and the advice I still give to students considering it, is not to go if you would think you've wasted your time in the event that you don't find long-term employment in the field. That was more than a decade ago, before anyone could foresee the downturn we've been living through for the past eight years. It was good advice when the market was much better; it still is. I was always made to believe that not finding a permanent position was a real possibility. I think I can see why people who were deceived into believing that finishing the PhD was more or less a guarantee of a permanent academic career would be bitter about choosing to try it in the first place. I'm grateful that I was never infected with such a sense of entitlement; it will prevent my probably inevitable failure from making me regard the time I've been able to spend getting paid to study and teach Greek and Latin as a waste.

Anonymous said...

"Of the roughly fifty students who matriculate over the next decade, we will end up placing five if we're lucky, some of them in unusual and unique circumstances that will not apply to you" is not how my graduate program represented itself to me when I was a prospective. But that's the story that the Placement Tracker tells.

Anonymous said...

Graduate schools need a disclaimer that says: "This is a thing for the independently wealthy. If you are not independently wealthy, you do no belong here."

Anonymous said...

Just sat down with an undergraduate considering graduate school in the Classics and discussed the long list of 0s in the placement tracker. Don't know if it will dissuade, but it presents a more honest picture of the many broken dreams than graduate programs themselves, who usually only track successful placements, and not the many lost along the way.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to you, 1:00!
I appreciate your use of the tool to give a person an honest picture.

Anonymous said...

At 12:06 and 12:32,

Having left the field, I can't imagine going back at this point. There are other careers out there that pay lot more and offer rich intellectual stimulation. I left once I realized that the academic market is a bubble, with a large number of PhDs being churned out each year while the number of tenure track positions shrinks (just compare the number of TTs in 2016 with those in 2015). I feel for my fellow Classics PhDs. For those considering leaving, you should know that there are many niche positions out that that will take a risk on hiring an out-of-the-box candidate. I was fortunate enough to find one such company. Be prepared for lots of people to say "what the fuck is Classics?" It may take a while but there are managers/CEOs/founders out there who will say "what's Classics? tell me more about it?" Such managers/CEOs/founders will be more open to giving a classicist a chance to prove themselves.

Anonymous said...

I honestly have no idea what I'd even want to do if I weren't in Classics, quite apart from "pay the bills." It seems like everything I think of (librarian comes to mind) requires specialized training I just can't pay for right now. Lists of alternative careers seem like lists of pipe dreams.

Perhaps the SCS could reach out and find non-academic employers willing to consider classicists and post their job ads as an alternative to the placement service?

Fallen Classicist said...

I don't think that the APA/SCS can be of particularly much direct help for those seeking employment outside of classics. It's really not designed to do that. It's best to try to find your own way. Develop a one page resume, send it out to various employers, and see what happens.

Years ago (when the economy was worse than it is now), when I was looking for opportunities, I interviewed with a range of prospective employers, for example, a software company and an investment firm. There are many possibilities that may be available. But, it's not easy to predict what employers will be interested in Ph.D. classicists. Anon. 1:36 is exactly correct in my experience.

Also, and I think that I've made this point before, geography matters a lot. If you want to work in a particular city, move there, then apply for jobs.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone familiar with the Versatile PhD website (https://versatilephd.com/)? It's not Classics specific, but may be a useful resource for pursuing careers outside of academia.

Anonymous said...

Remember that alternative employment options don't have to have anything to do with your Classics background. I obscure the fact that I have a Classics PhD on my resume because it just raises questions that I have found are not a good use of time in interviews.

Anonymous said...

Yes, although it may be necessary to explain the 10 year gap in one's resume for PhD and post-docs--it may be best to simply be forthcoming that one spent time as an academic. I worked out side the field before finishing my PhD; as I prepare to bust out for the third time on the market I am starting to think seriously about Plan B.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the SCS will be much help. Despite some pious gestures in this direction, they care about attrition and overproduction of PhDs about as much as your graduate advisors do. The field needs cheap TA labor to function, and anyone supporting the field is not going to try to reduce the number of those TAs, no matter what happens to them in the end. Otherwise it wouldn't have taken until 2016 for anyone to make an effort to even document placement and attrition, and then it had to be done with a wiki.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the "leave out the PhD from your resume" advice is mostly just useful if you think you can look young enough to make your interviewers think you're ten years younger (i.e. there aren't ten years to explain there because there aren't ten years).

Anonymous said...

That would also require you to conceal the date of your college degree, unless you're going with an "I took a decade off to raise my kids" excuse. Which I imagine would disadvantage you just as much as the PhD does.

Anonymous said...

There's no reason to try and cover up that you have a Classics PhD. But from my experience, employers (who are openminded) will just be interested in the fact that you a PhD in any field. Articles and talks are meaningless to them other than conveying that you can write (let alone your PhD topic).

Anonymous said...

The problem I have run into is that employers don't understand why I would want their job, since of course I could go teach in my field at a university. They'll often ask that question directly, which puts me in the position of either blatantly lying or explaining the true nature of the academic job market (which undermines the interview by painting me as unemployable).

Now, even after several years' worth of career in a non-academic industry, I find that prospective employers see the PhD and want to have a discussion about why I made that transition. No thanks, this is a 20 minute interview and I have several years worth of really good experience in the relevant area to talk about. I need to control that conversation however I can to keep it from turning into a Q&A on adjunct life.

Anonymous said...

You want a job? Get into medicine. There are many things to do besides be a MD. An eight-week EMT course will get you $35-40K, on par with many VAP positions. With about 4 years of schooling, you can become a NP or PA and be in the 6 figures.

Anonymous said...

Once I decided to exit the field, I met a lot of academics (not just in classics but in other areas as well) who transitioned into the private sector and were incredibly helpful. Most of them shared with me their stories and gave me leads on who to contact. If you start building a post-academic circle for yourself, you'll not only increase your chances of finding something (maybe one of them can refer you to someone) but you'll also create a phenomenal support network for yourself. The Versatile PhD is a fantastic resource. I spent a lot of time reading through the stories on the website that helped realize that were many opportunities out there. I just needed to keep an open mind and be guided by personal values. Since I made my decision, I feel happier and more fulfilled than I had felt in the previous decade.

Anonymous said...

"An eight-week EMT course will get you $35-40K"

If what you want is quick money and you're willing to relocate to San Francisco, a twelve-week coding bootcamp will get you $90-140k.

Anonymous said...

For those looking to translate academic experience and a CV into a resume, I highly recommend the talk by Jared Redick given through the Univ. of CA Humanities Research Institute. He is someone who helps C-suite types transition to new jobs, and he has taken an interest in helping academics with the resume side of transitioning away from the academy. Great stuff.
https://humwork.uchri.org/features/informational-interviews/

Anonymous said...

I'm curious:

How does one get hired as an assistant professor (apparently NOT a VAP - CV and website state clearly "Assistant Professor") at a large, prominent classics department without any evidence that there was a search for the position in question?

The hire happened in 2016. There is evidence the person had some kind of campus visit. It doesn't appear to be a position that was deferred.

Anonymous said...

A spousal hire wouldn’t necessarily require a search, right?

Anonymous said...

It might depend on the university's own, internal rules. They may have done a VAP search and then converted it. This isn't allowed at my institution, but it may be elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Two places have already had the SCS post interview slots without inviting the candidates to interview: we're not doing well in the social skills department, people.

Anonymous said...

I see three main possibilities:

1) You missed the search,
2) Spousal hire (as 11:14 said)
3) Target of opportunity (typically some underrepresented group)

Assuming (1) is not the case, the one case I'm aware of that fits your description is a (3). Speaking as a member of a competing (well, "competing") department, it's also a hire I would have made any day of the week.

Anonymous said...

3:48 - what do you mean? Interviews were communicated solely via the placement service website?

Anonymous said...

There have been instances in the past of search committees updating the calendar before contacting candidates directly. Yale's poorly run search last year was one. Usually it is a left hand/right hand issue, in that a departmental functionary has entered the interviews into the calendar, while the search chair has not yet bothered to send his/her email to the interviewees.

Anonymous said...

I've had that happen a number of times. I've also had interviews where I had no contact with the search committee prior to me showing up at the conference interview.

Anonymous said...

@Dec 3 12:29
No possible way this person is a minority of any kind.
Spousal hire - doubt it, but I'll do some more searching.
I checked the wiki and the SCS archives. I was registered with the Placement Service last year and this year. My adviser did not know about any search for this position (also surprising).

Anonymous said...

@ Dec. 4 3:25
Pretty sure this is a spousal hire situation, if we're talking about the same person/department. Check the CV, and I think you'll spot some collaborative work with another recent hire in the same department.

Anonymous said...

Just a helpful tip for those using the Interfolio service. My free account was set to expire, and would have been charged $19. The MLA has a service that seems to allow for getting around paying.

For new registrations, enter under special offer code: mla2016
For renewing accounts, enter: mlarenew16

https://www.mla.org/Resources/Career/Job-Information-List/About-the-JIL/Dossier-and-Search-Management-Services

Anonymous said...

@December 4, 2016 at 4:57 PM
Thanks, that explains it.

Anonymous said...

Greetings, all, from an SC chair. I have noticed recently that folks do not always respond to our interview invites (as in us: "we would like to interview you" them: "thank you, see you soon"), probably just assuming that all will be transacted at the SCS. On one level that is absolutely fine, and I want to emphasize that in any case this genuinely does not affect my impressions of candidates. BUT it worries me terribly that I might have occasionally chosen the wrong email address for a given person. For those on the market, please just reassure us by returning our contact in advance, so that we know you are expecting to connect with us.

Anonymous said...

If only some of us had interview invites to which to respond - I, for one, would respond right away!

Anonymous said...

Were those with an interview at UMBC contacted to send letters or recommendation through Interfolio or by email?

Anonymous said...

I received an email from Interfolio, albeit with UMBC named as the sender, asking that letters of recommendation be uploaded via Interfolio. And to be clear, no interview was mentioned.

Anonymous said...

Allow me to rant. No need to reply.

Some universities have job application systems that are confusing as fuck.
My favorite are the ones where the ads ask for one thing and the system asks for another. Do you want my dox in one continuous PDF or not? How this crap is not standardized is beyond me. Some places want the syllabi separate from the teaching statement separate from the diversity statement separate from the statement on how I would teach students with cloven hooves and half a brain. I have measured out my recent life in merged PDFs and the number of emails I send to my referees asking for yet another letter to be uploaded to some glitched-out system, which is of course "down for maintenance" on the day the app is due (yes, that happened). And somehow I am responsible for one referee's inability to submit shit on time, despite the fact that these are confidential letters, which means I have no access to them.

Does anyone read our transcripts anyway? Should I have explained the Incomplete-which-rolled-to-something-ominous I took in some external department a couple years ago? Better to just hope they don't look at it?

God help me if I have to do this next year or the year after or ...



Anonymous said...

I can offer a little comfort on the transcript thing. There are two major reasons for having them: one, to be able to drill down a little more deeply on the areas in which a person is formally trained; and two, because departments often need to provide a transcript as part of the documentation in the hiring process once a candidate is selected (the unofficial can often stand in for the official for a few steps in the paperwork).

Anonymous said...

I share your frustration. I have at least discovered that nowadays, in my fourth year on the market, I can usually produce a complete job application for any given position in 45 minutes or less. This is because I have now created nearly every conceivable type of application material in versions designed for a range of institutions or positions. Similarly my letter writers now seem to be able to provide letters nearly on demand (when they are not out of the country, that is). Perhaps the haste of my applications is why I'm still looking for work after all these years, but at least I'm no longer spending as much time on it as I used to. I hope you don't have to spend as long looking for permanent work as I have, but if you do at least you'll get good at it after a while. Cold comfort I realize.

Anonymous said...

question for those who have served on SCs: do you see a timestamp that indicates an applicant has submitted within the last three minutes to midnight before the application deadline and, if so, does that factor into your decision making?

Anonymous said...

@12:33 pm

In our system, we do see the timestamp, and no, it does not factor into the decision making. 60-80% of the applications come in the final 24 hours. We expect that.

Anonymous said...

@12:44 pm

Thanks for the response! A tiny piece of reassurance.

Anonymous said...

A humble request for those who have received e-mails for interviews for open-rank positions: it would be great if you could specify at what level you applied.

Anonymous said...

go pton for at least graciously notifying those rejected!

Anonymous said...

My fav rant on job application systems: the systems that force you to recreate your CV in individual block entries before then directing you to upload your CV.

In most cases, this is an HR issue that the dept. has no control over.
Doesn't make it unrantable.

Anonymous said...

HR: the mosquitoes of people.

Anonymous said...

Open rank jobs nearly invariably go to senior scholars: assume that you are not going to get them. 6:47AM, do you use interfolio? That will get you around most of the problem of bothering your letter-writers and relying on them to do things on time. Become a friend of pdfmerge and pdfsplit, because you're going to rely on them heavily. Getting a job in one year is a rarity, but know that if you keep going, it does get less time-consuming to produce the documents. You're still going to feel like you spend your falls performing circus tricks for the opportunity to have SCs even look at you, but that's the way it is. Later stages of the job search involve even more and more elaborate circus tricks: just wait until you've been invited to do a "teaching talk."

Anonymous said...

For those presenting at the SCS - is it normal to be asked to send the full paper ahead of time to the moderator and all panelists? Given that no one is officially "responding" to the papers, I found this request surprising, especially considering when I received it. But maybe this is normal? I have presented at many conferences and this is the first time I've been asked to send the full paper weeks ahead of time. For a variety of reasons, I don't want to send it, but will end up complying out of fear.

Anonymous said...

The requirement that you circulate the paper in advance is relatively new, but it is a standard SCS policy at this point. People used to show up with stuff that they'd obviously written on the airplane. It also makes for a much better panel discussion if the presenters have all read everything because, tbh, people don't absorb arguments orally as well as they do in written form.

Anonymous said...

@December 7, 2016 at 4:42 AM
Would be nice to have the deadline not be right before final grades are due at my institution. Or at least give more than 2 weeks notice. I didn't know this was standard practice.

Anonymous said...

I think the specific deadline is set by the moderator, not the SCS, but I may be wrong there. Should probably check this out, since my moderator has not yet been in touch...

Anonymous said...

"people don't absorb arguments orally as well as they do in written form"

Exactly why I never really got the point of conference talks.

Anonymous said...

I believe someone above mentioned "circus tricks"? It never does end. Some days you're the impresario, some days you're the monkey.

Anonymous said...

I've written some awfully good shit the night before or on the plane. Adrenaline and coke :) APA's missing out on my genius.

Anon, they're stuck with you no matter what - don't sweat it. If you change your paper before giving it, hopefully someone in the room is awake and listening, as they should be.

Anonymous said...

You can change the paper, but they're not stuck with you: if you don't circulate, you'll get kicked off the panel. And THAT would be embarrassing.

Anonymous said...

@11:12
1. Has that actually happened?
2. If so, do they get someone to fill the hole, or what?

Anonymous said...

@10:38AM

The potential good of conference talks is the possibility of actually having a real, face-to-face discussion with experts in your field about the viability of your idea. Ideally we'd all read the paper in advance and then also hear it presented prior to our discussion of it (so that we're all on the same page at the moment of discussion).

The pointless thing is NOT the fact that we have conference presentations. The pointless thing is the way the panels are organized (I've been on panels with the vaguest sense of coherence) and the fact that in our field we are polite: if you can't say anything nice, generally you don't say anything at all.

I'm not against politeness (I personally would not like my paper shredded in public by someone who just has it out for my approach or likes to pick on minor details rather than the argument as a whole, and I assume others feel the same). BUT it COULD be more of a practice to organized panels based on author+work (i.e., "Aeneid" not just "Latin epic") or really narrow theoretical/topical approaches (i.e., not just "women" but "women and childbirth"). And then we would circulate the papers in advance, and perhaps even to interested audience-members.

Anonymous said...

I assume people are updating the wiki almost in real time? There seem to be so many searches for which no progress is visible that I'm wearing out my "refresh" button in my browser...

Anonymous said...

My experience suggests that the people who update the wiki update it pretty quickly when they have news; but only a fairly small number of people actually update it (there is a shit ton more than 57 people on the market, I can tell you that). So the safe conclusion to draw, I think, is that if there's no info on a search, none of the few of us who update the wiki have any news about it. That is, of course, entirely consistent with many of the tremendous number of people who do not update the wiki having received news about a search, and given that many departments do not send rejection letters until well after they've done interviews (or even until they've closed a search), it's not unlikely that some of the positions listed have no new information because none of the 57 of us active wiki users have received any information. Despite that, I think it's still more likely that if there's nothing on the wiki, nobody has heard anything official, since it seems that many of the 57 active users update things when they hear something from someone, and perhaps some update when they hear something from someone who heard something from someone who heard something.

Moral of the story: no way to tell for sure. That's how everything works on the job market. (Why didn't I get an interview for that job in my specialization while I got one for a generalist position? No way to know for sure! Why do SCs hate me? No way to know for sure! Why did that awful guy I went to grad school with get a TT position straight out despite never having done anything that would impress anyone? No way to know for sure!)

Anonymous said...

@9:43 here again: not sure whether this makes me feel better or worse, but the commiseration is most, most welcome!

Anonymous said...

@11:18 I think the best thing we can do when on the job market is to read Epictetus over and over and over again. In case you don't have a copy handy: http://classics.mit.edu/Epictetus/discourses.1.one.html

Anonymous said...

Or, maybe better, because more to the point: http://classics.mit.edu/Epictetus/epicench.html

"Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our own actions."

What the SC does is not our own action.

"...and, if it concerns anything not in our control, be prepared to say that it is nothing to you."

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

11:12 here: I've never heard of anyone being kicked of an APA panel for failure to circulate their paper on time, but you COULD be, and you don't want that. They would not replace you but your name would remain on the program, which I assume is at that point already printed, so people would know what had happened. And obviously the other panelists, your colleagues, would know.

Anonymous said...

Fearmongering!!

Anonymous said...

Like nearly everything that the SCS does this policy on circulating papers is ill conceived and out of touch. It begs for civil disobedience. I have given a few APA/SCS papers in recent years and in every case the panel chair has either not asked for papers or I have ignored the request. If the chair or other members of the panel are too slow or attention deficit to be able to follow a 20 minute talk and respond intelligently thereto that is their fucking problem.

Anonymous said...

Anyone have any idea when USC will drop the hammer?

Anonymous said...

9:44 AM I would like to know too (as probably hundreds of other people). On a different note, what is the rationale behind having an open rank search, if it's always seniors getting hired through those?

Anonymous said...

Could the party who jeered the SCS on the wiki for "for abusing its listserv with a politicizing e-mail" explain their objection? I am in agreement with whoever posed the question in response, "wait, is being anti-racism 'political' now?"

Anonymous said...

No, for heaven's sake, can we please NOT have a discussion of the APA's recent statement? Whoever is asking this question doesn't wish to understand the point of view of that other person, but just to criticize him/her. And then it will go back and forth, with others likely joining in.

I, like others, click on this thread when there are new posts, and don't want to waste my time clicking because of posts that have nothing to do with the job market.

Anonymous said...

Why an open rank search if it will inevitably go senior. I honestly don't know, but I've been doing this more years than I care to think about, and I don't remember one ever going junior. Maybe they call it that just so that it doesn't shut out someone young who has a publication record that would rival that of a tenured person? I don't know, but speaking practically, those jobs will not hire you if you are a young person with any kind of normal record, even a excellent "normal" record. It sucks to be junior.

Anonymous said...

As a parallel case, even English jobs that explicitly advertise for foreigners will almost definitely hire a Brit. But that's less of a hard rule than the open search one.

Anonymous said...

Open rank searches won't inevitably go senior. I think they'll almost inevitably not go to fresh PhDs, but they don't always go to people who are already tenured or full. Admittedly, my evidence for this comes from other disciplines, but if it is really a 'hard rule' then it is a hard rule only in classics departments.

Anonymous said...

"wait, is being anti-racism 'political' now?"

In a world where the President-elect of the US is a neo-Nazi, I'm going to say the answer is "yes".

Anonymous said...

This is anecdotal, but there was an open rank Hellenist search two years ago that went junior. I had an on campus for that, as well as for a number of others over the years, though most of the others did go senior.

In that case, it was department the rest of which was entirely tenured faculty, so going junior was probably a matter of looking for "new blood."

Anonymous said...

@6:24: By 'open rank' do you mean open rank or do you mean that it was open to assistant or associate? Those are not remotely identical, as you ought to know if you have ever known both an associate professor and a full professor and noted the difference in their credentials. 'Open rank' means any rank, including full. It is much less surprising to learn that a job advertised as either assistant or associate went to an assistant than it would be to learn that a (true) open rank search concluded by hiring an assistant. A quick survey of the wiki from two years ago suggests that you're not talking about a genuinely open rank search. But perhaps I'm missing something.

USC is weird enough that we can't really presume to know what's up there, but in general when it comes to open rank searches I think people who have never been tenure-track assistant professors should assume they have virtually no chance, and people who have not earned tenure should assume that they have a very steep hill to climb.

Anonymous said...

Anybody else getting extremely depressed?

Anonymous said...

@ December 9, 2016 at 5:09 AM "Anybody else getting extremely depressed?"

Hang in there, friend! You're not alone.

Anonymous said...

6:24 here

The 2014-15 wiki erroneously records the search as "Assistant or Associate." The original ad indicates it was open rank, and I know full professors who were interviewed in the first round.

Hang in there everyone!

Anonymous said...

@ December 9, 2016 at 4:37 AM

Care to elaborate on the weirdness of USC?

Anonymous said...

@ December 9, 2016 at 5:09 AM

Me too. Just trying to keep my mind occupied on other stuff in my life and trying not to check the wiki too obsessively.

Anonymous said...

I am getting depressed as well. Just to throw that onto the bonfire of our careers!

Anonymous said...

It's awful.

Anonymous said...

Anyone hear anything from/about any of the situations at Yale?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone heard from Williams College?

Anonymous said...

Folks, I think you can safely assume that anyone who reads this blog will edit the Wiki if she has heard anything about a position. It doesn't hurt to ask, of course, but I don't think it's going to help.

Here's a question that I'm surprised to find myself only asking now for the first time despite more years on the market than I care to admit. How long does it take a department to send out all of its rejection letters? I've always naively assumed that it takes virtually no time, because surely the SC chair is not sitting at his desk going through each rejected application one by one, copying and pasting the rejection letter, but running some sort of script. But perhaps I'm mistaken about this?

If it adds any clarity to the question, here's the circumstance that leads me to ask it: I applied, like probably most of us, to UCLA, but I have not received a rejection letter (I have also not received an interview invitation, unsurprisingly). Similarly, at one point there was a comment on the wiki entry for Princeton from someone who had not received a rejection letter, and that comment stayed up, if I recall, for several days beyond 12.06 (the day when someone first reported receiving a rejection letter).

Is is normal for some people to receive rejection letters several hours, or even days, after others have already received them? (Or was my application so bad that they're not even going to dignify it with a rejection letter?)

Anonymous said...

@Dec. 11, 12:22 am

The way our system works, we move applicants to new statuses in "batches." So, when we move to the long-short-list, a batch gets rejections, and those are very generic rejections. When we move to the short-short-list, there is another set of rejections. After our initial interviews, we do NOT send rejections. Instead, we have on-campus interviews and offer the job. It is not until the job has been accepted that we send rejections to those who had on-camus interviews AND to those who were on the short-short list. This is determined by HR. If we sent a rejection to someone and then wanted to reconsider them, we could not (according to HR, who rule us all).

So the timings vary.

Anonymous said...

Interesting and helpful, thank you. No doubt the details vary by institution, but that, or something like it, probably explains the cases I mentioned.

Anonymous said...

As is turns out, though, the reason why the UCLA rejections are slow in coming is because the SC chair is actually writing genuinely personalized emails (not just canned letters with our names in the addressee line). It's a small thing, but everybody at the SCS needs to buy that guy a drink.

Anonymous said...

I didn't apply for either UCLA Classics position so I'm not sure who is sending the rejections, but a few years ago I applied for a position and was rejected and got a personalized rejection that I very much appreciated. Either it's the same individual or UCLA's departmental culture is just a cut above the rest.

Anonymous said...

That is nice to hear about UCLA, if only that were the case with all . . .

Anonymous said...

11:52 AM Re: USC

I don't have inside knowledge, but given that they have 4 searaches:
a) they may not actually be authorized to make them all at a senior level
b) even if they were authorized doing so would make for an imbalanced department and make the donor's gift relatively short-lived. I suspect they'll hire at multiple levels.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else have experience with not getting any rejections, just watching the interview requests fill in on the wiki? What does that mean? Does anyone bother to send a rejection when you don't even get through the first cut?

Anonymous said...

You will usually get a rejection eventually. But the reason that the wiki exists is that many places will take their very sweet time in sending rejections. This is inhumane, and like most bad behavior usually blamed on HR departments, who apparently wield some undefined yet unspeakably terrifying power over tenured faculty.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to say that no news is bad news. If someone really wants to interview you, they'll get in touch. If they don't, there's not much incentive to be communicative. I once waited three months to get a rejection for a campus visit; obviously they were not keeping quiet about good news. On the other hand, I was once contacted by a search committee chair who wanted to know if I was still on the market because (I learned later) they had made an offer to their first choice and didn't care for the other finalists. She made a very deliberate effort to keep in touch, even though she couldn't tell me what was going on exactly (I only found out what happened because the first choice candidate, who was ultimately hired, was a friend of mine).

So it's not good news, my friend. But I also once had an interview request three days before the meetings, so it's not over yet. At least I hope it isn't. For my sake as well as yours.

Anonymous said...

The HR situation at our institution is basically that rejections have to be final, and so if there is any possibility that we might need or want to delve back into what amounts to our 'waiting list' (i.e. the qualified folks who didn't quite make the interview slate) we have to leave people waiting. We don't like it any more than the candidates do, alas.

Anonymous said...

I know you're trying to be a nice guy about a crappy situation, but really, you don't dislike it as much as the candidates do. Your experience is not in the same ballpark.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:14, I believe the person wrote "We don't like it any more than the candidates do, alas" which does not contradict your claim that he/she doesn't "dislike it as much as the candidates do." You're treating positive and negative as the same thing, which would be really, really bad if you were a mathematician.

Anonymous said...

I concur with the finality of the rejection. I got my first job in July of the year, the chair never sent a final rejection and it worked out that the person in front of me didn't take it.
Always have hope. brothers and sisters.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry about getting official rejection emails/letters. No news is bad news. Not getting an interview means you have been rejected in the first round. Period.

Now, it could happen that they are interviewing 12 candidates and you are (unbeknownst to you) #13 on the list, and something crazy and extremely unlikely could happen where somehow you're the only one left for them to offer the job to by the time April/May rolls around.

But apart from that, no interview invitation = rejection. Don't worry about getting an email or a piece of paper; don't give it another moment's thought. I don't. In fact, when I finally get the email or piece of paper in April or whatever, I just laugh. "Thanks, but I was over you five months ago, University of XYZ!"

Just my thoughts on how to take a breath and move on when your dream job (or the last job you still had an app out on) goes green.

Anonymous said...

@December 11, 2016 at 2:05 AM
They are not personalized, though. I got the same email as a friend of mine. So maybe some people got special emails, but I didn't.

Anonymous said...

@December 12, 2016 at 2:44 PM
Neither did I. Glad to know I wasn't the only one (I was feeling left out!).

Anonymous said...

The situations discussed above are why the wiki exists. That way you can know when the first round is over for you, and focus either on scrambling to find a VAP in the second round, or, increasingly, make plans to leave a profession that has effectively imploded.

Anonymous said...

December 8, 2016 at 9:25 AM re: advance circulation of papers

"Like nearly everything that the SCS does this policy on circulating papers is ill conceived and out of touch. It begs for civil disobedience. I have given a few APA/SCS papers in recent years and in every case the panel chair has either not asked for papers or I have ignored the request. If the chair or other members of the panel are too slow or attention deficit to be able to follow a 20 minute talk and respond intelligently thereto that is their fucking problem."

Wow, where does this hostility come from? Are your arguments so weak that they collapse if anyone sees them in advance? Are you so extraordinarily busy that (unlike everyone else on the panel) you can't be bothered to write the thing in advance? And God forbid that someone on the panel consider their thoughts (even look something up) and violate the purity of their off-the-cuff remarks.

Anonymous said...

A plea: if anyone has gotten a Notre Dame interview invite, please update the wiki! So the rest of us can be put out of our misery...

Anonymous said...

I would second that, for ALL positions: if you have info, even second-hand on ANY position, do not hesitate to update the wiki so we can stop having false hope!

Anonymous said...

People, this is the time of year that you need to stop looking at the wiki. You will not get those jobs. It's done for the year. Consider yourself out of your misery.

Anonymous said...

It looks like someone tried to add an entry for TLL under Texas Tech, right?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The fact that some schools haven't notified yet infuriates me. It's December 15th and most of the ones remaining had due dates in October and November.

Anonymous said...

They really probably have notified people already, it's just that the wiki was not updated. Stop worrying about them and start figuring out something else to do with next year.

Anonymous said...

It's possible, but I doubt that Texas Tech, say, has notified ten to twelve people for each of their two jobs and nobody has gotten wind of it and edited the Wiki. A glance back at earlier years will show that some departments have not sent out notifications until December 20th or later. Justified or not, it happens. The evidence does not seem to be in favor of their having notified people already.

That said, it's never bad advice to stop worrying and start trying to figure out what to do next year.

Anonymous said...

You're not going to get the Texas Tech job even if you do get the interview, for reasons articulated in some of the first posts of the year. Worry about next year.

Anonymous said...

So how does this SCS meeting thing work anyway? When they schedule an interview, do they notify the candidate?

Anonymous said...

No, the placement service doesn't (or hasn't: no interviews for me this year) notify you if an interview is scheduled. You have to log in and check the calendar. More often than not, the search committee will get in touch with you themselves, but as upthread discussions underline, this is not always the case.

Anonymous said...

@2:41 You seem to have missed the point, viz. that it is generalizable beyond Texas Tech. You also seem to have missed the point of the earlier discussion about 'inside candidates,' viz. that what look like inside candidates aren't always inside candidates and what are inside candidates aren't always advantaged, let alone chosen.

In any case, I'm not worried about getting one of those interviews; one thing we can agree on is that those who are should be looking ahead and thinking about alternatives, because the chances aren't great even though they're higher than you say they are.

Anonymous said...

Shots fired! Shots fired!

What does FV make of JD's email to the entire SCS membership?
(Servii--I'd like to think the name here is fair game since he did just spam ALL of us--an unprecedented act in my memory. If you disagree, please copy-and-past my comment sine nomine.)

I googled him and read the Claireview blurbs about his Sappho book. I'm torn. The names of the reviewers alone reveal a significant political bias.

That aside, his age, comments, career trajectory, and choice of author photo all point to the same fundamental flaw: his conclusion in his Sappho book -- an obviously political one -- and his angry missive to the SCS are not the thoughtful rejection of a problematic stance but a willfully ignorant rejection. He's right, after all, that the SCS's statement is deeply problematic and probably wrong-headed. But he doesn't engage with any of the real reasons that the board had for the statement. Head-in-the-sand about structural issues. His Sappho book looks much the same. It's a pity because arguments like his undercut better arguments with similar conclusions.

Anonymous said...

My first reaction was basically, "Could the SCS really be so incompetent as to not think of disallowing universal responses to the director's e-mails?" My second reaction was, "Of course they could. These are probably the same I.T. people who created that annoying website and still haven't bothered to improve it." As for the e-mail itself, I am waiting for that well-funded blogger and the SCS top brass to provide convincing evidence of a significant problem before I get concerned about a widespread perversion of antiquity. I would certainly hate to think that the society would wade into politics because of an extremely small, albeit reprehensible, fringe, thus giving them the kind of attention they crave.

Anonymous said...

It is notable that the SCS was just hacked by a Trump supporter. A lot of that going around lately. I wonder if there is a Russian connection?

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with the SCS statement? I thought it was basically="we disavow any use of the Classics which aims to support the idea of Western exceptionalism/white supremacy." What am I missing?

Anonymous said...

@4:37 did you read the comments on "that well-funded blogger"'s piece? Do those not trouble you? If that is not "convincing evidence of a significant problem," what evidence would you require? Or is your issue that you don't think these folks amount to more than a "small fringe"? What would need to happen for you to recognize this small fringe as an existential threat? What a privilege to view the matter so clinically!

Anonymous said...

Obviously it was Russian hacking.

Anonymous said...

"He's right, after all, that the SCS's statement is deeply problematic and probably wrong-headed."

Is he? I wish someone would explain to me why, in straightforward, non-polemical language that an ignoramus like me can understand. I can appreciate why one might regard the SCS statement as trivial (which isn't to say I'm convinced that it is), but not why it's problematic, let alone "deeply" problematic. I know I must be stupid for not getting this point, but please don't waste any effort telling me how stupid I am; just enlighten me. What is deeply problematic about the SCS statement?

Anonymous said...

12:26am+1

Anonymous said...

+2

Anonymous said...

12:26am said...
"...an ignoramus like me..."

Leave the discussion to the grown-ups.

Anonymous said...

So no insight to offer then, 12:57pm?

Anonymous said...

Now that this has been going on for some time, I think that I prefer to hear nothing at all. That instead of the stock rejection email. The "this year there were many qualified applicants" sort of thing, is that only a reminder that we among the "unqualified". Silence is golden as they say.
I know I'm bitching but my CV can't read that badly, can it . . .

Anonymous said...

Even without knowing you, I can say with confidence that you aren't among the unqualified. I have heard SC members I know well say things like "We received 75 applications from people all of whom could do the job spectacularly well." That's just the shitburger that is the market.

If you can, spend some time doing something that you feel good about doing. That's the best I can offer at this awful time of the (placement) year...

Anonymous said...

"We received 75 applications from people all of whom could do the job spectacularly well."

Wow, is the market that much better than it was a few years ago? Seriously, if it's only 75, that's amazing.

If you aren't getting interviews, it doesn't mean anything. The market is such that people who are extremely qualified and people who aren't at all are going to end up in that same big bucket. Obviously it does mean that you aren't getting a job this year, and, like almost everyone, will probably never get one. But that's because of this market, not because of you.

Anonymous said...

It's cute when posters accidentally out themselves by forgetting to log out of their Google accounts before posting!

On a totally, positively, double-dog-swear unrelated note, how are you guys feeling about Yale's placement record lately?

Anonymous said...

It's cold comfort, I know, but it really is true that not getting interviews doesn't mean you aren't qualified. While there are some people who manage to get many interviews, most people who get any only get one or two, and even some people who get a bunch strike out in other years (I had seven SCS interviews one year, followed by none the year after). If anything, this is the whole problem: you can be perfectly qualified and still not even get an interview. If not getting interviews meant that you weren't qualified, at least the signals would be clearer.

So, like most of us, you just need to keep trying, formulating some back-up plans, and remember that there really probably is more to life than a tenure-track job (unless you get one, at which point that will be your entire life).

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm glad I'm not alone in the experience described above, thanks for sharing, Anon. at 8:28!

It looks to me like it isn't just Yale: nobody is placing more than a tiny fraction of students who finished post-2008. Some of those records on the Tracker are just criminal, like to the point that this is actually really just a scam to staff introductory sections so that the faculty don't have to.

Anonymous said...

As a newcomer to the job market, what value is there in "schmoozing" or networking at the SCS? I'm shy and don't tend to self-promote, but once a conversation happens, I can handle myself and make a decent impression (I think). My advisers are pushing me to get out there and talk to people. They tell me a lot of business is done at "parties" - I'm not sure if they mean exclusive ones or clubbing with archeologists or what.

Any tips? Are there secrets to getting invited to things? How do you avoid being "that obnoxious guy"?

Anonymous said...

Most parties are open to anyone, and are usually a dreadful, smelly experience in the airless basement ballrooms. The older crowd gets happily drunk, while the younger one gets anxiously drunk. No business is done, so far as I can tell. Maybe in the 1950s it was. If you go to the parties with the intention of self-promoting, you will come across as the obnoxious weird guy. Self-promote during your panel. There is an infinitesimal possibility that you will make genuine friends with someone at a party who is later on a hiring committee and gives you a boost due to being your friend, but that's about all the parties can offer you as far as concrete career advancement. But they have free liquor, so that's something.

Anonymous said...

In no way is this comment intended to refute critiques of the sustainability of the system more widely, but the placement tracker data (at least in Yale's case, which I know well and just glanced at on the wiki) is quite incomplete. I think people need to remember that the tracker is not a final report and that the data is piecemeal overall at present.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as someone who is pretty uncomfortable with 'self-promotion' and 'networking' and the like, the advice I'd give from my own experience is that you should make an effort to meet and talk to people at the SCS, but that you shouldn't approach it with the conscious goal of promoting yourself, making contacts, and the like. Not only will you probably seem obnoxious if you do, but you'll probably just make yourself awkward. Think of it instead as an opportunity to meet people who you might be interested to talk to and who might be interested to talk to you (if you sincerely aren't interested in talking to other classicists, that might be a problem). The parties vary a great deal; some of the more prestigious departments end up having huge, extremely crowded parties where you'll have to know some people already if you don't want to stand around in a corner, while others are a bit smaller and more laid back. Generally, unless you have some very smooth social skills, go to the party with someone who at least knows some people there. Get free drinks and try to have fun. I don't think anything that happens at a party is going to make a big difference to your career, but it can be a way to meet some people, and it never hurts for people to know who you are.

That said, in my experience, parties are almost never a way to meet people. Paper sessions can be. Now if only they served free drinks at the papers!

Anonymous said...

Party tip from an old pro: get to a party early, while it's still quiet enough to talk. Once it's in full swing, you have to get so close to hear that you'll be spitting on your interlocutor, which you don't want to do with a newish acquaintance.
Also, most of the truly private parties these days seem to be held offsite, by invite only. If it's in the program, it's public, walk on in. Personally I find some schools more friendly and some less so, but I'm sure that varies by person.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all the previous posts re parties, and wish to add only that your adviser is the one who should be talking you up in this context; your ability to affect the outcome of your job search in this manner is extremely limited. Better to think of these parties as an opportunity to meet people who might share your interests and who might be good colleagues and collaborators down the road. It can certainly aid your career, just not immediately. But that means the stakes are low and you can have a good time in the process.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the parties are not the place to meet anyone senior enough to make a difference. The better place is the book hall, since anyone there is more relaxed and has some time to spare. You're bound to see at least one person whose work was important (or somewhat important) to your work. Just make sure to go to the eye doctor and get a new prescription if you don't think you'll be able to read name tags easily without being obvious about it!

Another great "fishing hole" is not a where, but a when: Sunday afternoon/evening when the conference has ended. There are always lots of people around who don't leave until the morning, and you'll find them in the main lobby area. By then they'll have taken off their name tags, but my advice is always try to leave the next day, just so as to have the chance to meet people on Sunday (not to mention doing some touring).

Anonymous said...

I want to hear some stories from these invite-only parties

Anonymous said...

Question for SCs: is there usually a ranked list before the meetings, or do all 12 or so candidates enter on equal footing?

Anonymous said...

My advice for parties at SCS: approach those people who are standing alone. It's a great way to meet people who work on completely different areas than you do. I've learned a lot from these conversations, and they often feel a lot more natural and enjoyable than talking to people who share my area of expertise. Admit your ignorance, if necessary, and ask questions that come from genuine curiosity. Please please please don't pretend you know everything about everyone else's specialties. There's nothing more tedious. You'll get a lot out of 'networking' this way if you look at it as a learning experience and not an opportunity to show off how smart/knowledgeable you are.

Anonymous said...

@ 8:36 re: invite-only parties

I got one word for you: CANAPES.

Anonymous said...

I KNEW that the people in power were keeping something from the rest of us!!!

Anonymous said...

The invite-only parties I've been to have typically been celebrating something, like the launch of a program, or a festschrift, or some other benign occasion. Maybe I don't get invited to the cooler ones, that's possible. But nothing too fancy, nothing much to write home about. Several have been poignant affairs for ill people at the ends of their careers. Nothing to envy, here.

Anonymous said...

I think I'll be cancelling my room in Toronto after all this. Parties or not, I'm not dangling my sob story around. Plus it will save my wallet and my liver!

Anonymous said...

There's been an unfortunate trend towards cash bars at non-invite parties in recent years.

Anonymous said...

Don't waste your money and energy if you don't have a reason to be there. The people who think that any networking done there might land you a job are stuck in a different, much kinder and gentler, century.

Anonymous said...

11:42 AM re: ranked interview lists

I can't speak for other institutions, be we never rank our short list explicitly, and even informally, I think most candidates generally come in about equally. The only sort-of exception I can think of is someone who's on the list because of a single strong advocate on the committee, but that's not common (for us).

Anonymous said...

Since, we all have masks on here, might I ask members of current SC's how you are wading through the 100+ applications?
What immediately disqualifies a candidate? How important is pedigree? Do you view candidates with longer work histories as 'bruised apples'? (a have to give a friend of mine credit for that turn of phrase during his job search)
What about candidates who weren't tenured at other positions?
Thank you

Anonymous said...

@7:57 pm

A poster tried to address on that the previous page. S/he was mobbed by people who didn't like the answers.

Anonymous said...

Regarding parties. Go, preferably with a friend or two. Stake out a comfortable place to sit or stand and let people come to you. Relax, don't work the room.

Anonymous said...

I think that the "bruised apple" idea has died out, with so many people taking many rounds to find permanent jobs. Just so long as you keep publishing a lot. Having failed to get tenure might be a serious obstacle, though, because it probably means you aren't publishing enough to stay viable.

Anonymous said...

As faculty at a LAC and after reading some of these comments, I have the feeling that many a SLAC is choosing interview candidates that don't necessarily fit their mission. I say that in particular in regard to Seattle, when I was shown the denial email by someone the only real mention was of the scholarship written by candidates. No mention of teaching and student engagement. I've seen this happen at my own school.
You have to be able to teach the undergraduates and inspire them for classics. Three articles on Galen and the spleen doesn't really show me that, or that you can function as a member of my department and serve on committees, etc.

Anonymous said...

Hey, don't underestimate the power of Galen's spleen.

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