Sunday, March 27, 2011

Job Market: "I Shoulda known Better"

This is a great post over at the philosophy smoker blog. It goes over what the author wishes he had known going into the philosophy as a profession. much of it is vague but some of it is quite interesting. I also recommend reading the insightful comments.

I have only posted here some paragraphs from this post. I highly recommend reading it in it's entirety.
Taken from:

Things about the job market that I was ignorant of three years ago:
  • I did not know how much pedigree matters. (I did not go to a posh school)
  • I did not know how much publications matter. (I had no peer-reviewed papers, but I had book reviews and an encyclopedia entry and a few invited talks)
  • I did not know how to put together a proper job dossier
  • I did not know that there is a whole class of schools that I should not bother applying to
  • I did not know how little my years of teaching experience would count in the absence of pubs and pedigree
  • I didn't know (no one knew) that the market that first year (and every year after) would be historically bad in the wake of a national financial catastrophe

Things my placement advisor should have (but did not) tell me:
  • How to construct a cover letter, 
  • CV, teaching statement, research statement, evidence of teaching effectiveness (learning this a full year before I went on the market would have been helpful)
  • Which jobs to not bother applying to and why
  • That only applying to schools where I really, really wanted to work was foolish -- you have to apply for lots and lots and lots of jobs. (By my estimation, I got interviews for roughly ten percent of the jobs I applied for this year -- so 90% tossed me in the bin.)
  • That looking for a philosophy job is really expensive
  • Why my belief that I'd be able to find a job that first year was excessively optimistic
  • How really, really hard it is to get a TT job

Post Docs:
I also got lucky, and my first year out, I got two interviews. One was for a job I was clearly underqualified for. The other was for a post doc, which I got. That was a hugely lucky break, and I strongly encourage everyone on the market to apply for post docs, especially if you have deficits (pedigree, scant publication record) to make up for. (And not just US post docs -- any postdoc that gives you time to write papers and get published is valuable.)

Post docs are getting competitive too, just like the rest of the market, but getting one is like manna from heaven: time to devote to research and getting published, money to go to conferences.

Asstro said...
Coupla quick observations:
1) I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment that you should publish, and publish hard. Don't listen to the dinosaurs in your department. Take it from us, the assistant junior folks. We've done this job thang most recently. We are good resources for you. We even lurk on these blogs, in my case five years after having started my tt job. (Yes, I was so traumatized by the market that I can't stop coming back for more.) Seriously, seek out the young faculty in your department, particularly those who seem to have made it despite the odds. (25-year-old hires straight outta Rutgers aren't going to feel your pain.) You want the people with a profile the most similar to yours to advise you.

Taken from:

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