Now that the holidays are behind us, hundreds of Humanities PhDs and PhD-seekers are back to thinking about national conferences, whether because they have scheduled interviews there or due to the more general networking possibilities these conferences bring. The first half of this post is dedicated to preliminary interviews…and, specifically, the awkwardness of interviewing at national conferences such as the upcoming MLA 2019 Annual Convention or the AHA 2019 Annual Meeting (both being held in Chicago). I’ve included my list of preliminary interview questions to prepare at the end of the section. Part two of this post is about networking at these mammoth conferences beyond interviews. Networking doesn’t always come naturally to everyone, so I’ve compiled a list of ideas and techniques for networking if you’re not sure where to start.
In Search of the Dream Job
Thrilled to announce that @jenheemstra invited me to be a part of her “Carrier Barriers” blog series. Follow the hyperlink above to her blog, or check out the full content below. Thanks Jen! Hope to collaborate with you more in the future.
Thinking About Employment in Graduate School.
I’ll confess to you that I arrived to the first semester of my graduate school career totally unconcerned about my future employment prospects – no one had warned me that the Humanities were in “crisis” or that landing a job post-PhD could be an arduous task. You can imagine, then, my shock when a unit of my cohort’s “Intro to Graduate Studies” class was themed around the death of the profession I thought I’d one day join. I’ll never forget fighting back tears as a faculty member in my field told me briskly that I didn’t have a prayer of getting a job in my field. In many ways, my dreams of finding healthy employment at an institution (like the R1 I had attended for undergrad) crashed before they ever took off. Continue reading
Job Interviews – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Job market season is in full swing as hopeful candidates find out whether the applications they poured their hearts into will get them first round interviews and whether those interviews will produce campus visits. I applied to a handful of jobs this year…I think eight total…and heard within the last 48 hours that I’ve been invited for a Skype interview at two of those institutions. The idea of preparing for a Skype interview sent me reeling as I began to entertain mentally the work that would go into getting ready to entertain a room full of strangers via a digital platform. That, in turn, caused me to reflect on prior experiences interviewing…some of them great and others horrifying. Continue reading
Guide to an “Active Scholarly Research Agenda”
“That New Hire Needs Your Help” — A Response
(This blog post was written in response to Jane S. Halonen and Dana S. Dunn’s Chronicle of Higher Education article, That New Hire Needs Your Help.)
I’d like to start off by thanking Professors Dunn and Halonen for their thoughtful and compassionate article, “That New Hire Needs Your Help.” I am a new hire in my department as of August and I’ll admit that when I saw this article pop up in my inbox, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that someone was concerned about my adjustment to my new job.
As they rightly point out, “sometimes the stakes are really low and the politics vicious.” In what follows, I would like to elaborate on this point and also contribute one or two points that I feel were missing from their list. I hope that my anecdotal evidence will prompt those of you who are concerned with the welfare of your new faculty to heed one or two of my requests. Continue reading
Am I Really Going Back on the Job Market?
When I got my current tenure-track job, I sighed with relief. Not only had I done the impossible, it meant I wouldn’t have to go back on the job market 6 months later. After applying to nearly 100 jobs and enduring two years worth of rejection, I was over it. Yet here I am…trolling the job list and considering applying to jobs again this year.
It’s early October, which for most people means that the semester is about halfway over. In some regards, it feels like the last 7-8 weeks flew by…but at the same time the next 7-8 weeks feel like an insurmountable hurdle.
A quick note on mental-state: I’m finding that this is the point at which I finally feel like I can come up for air, so to speak. My routine is established, my students feel familiar, I’ve reincorporated writing time back into my week, and the courses I’m teaching no longer feel haphazardly put together. That being said, the sentiment is coupled with what feels a lot like the end of the honeymoon phase in a new relationship. I’m becoming more aware of the tensions among colleagues that prevent things from getting done. I’m realizing that I don’t necessarily agree with the way faculty get evaluated across campus. My students are starting to get restless and bored with the material. So, I find myself wondering, how can I reboot the semester and make sure the second-half doesn’t feel lackluster compared to the first?
PRO-TIP: When the honeymoon phase ends, seek new connections on campus that can spark added enthusiasm. Find a mentor.
Impostor Syndrome 102: It’s back!
The research and writing on what we know as impostor syndrome abounds, and with good reason. People from every walk of life experience it and it’s nearly impossible to get through grad school without the myriad of questions inspired by self-doubt: what happens if my advisor realizes I’m way less experienced and/or well-read than everyone else in my cohort?; am I going to disappoint my advisor with my lack of abilities?; I can’t believe everyone can have such informed opinions on Roland Barthes…why am I just now hearing of him?
Most of those questions are prompted by a lack of self-confidence brought on by comparing oneself to a host of high-achieving, accomplished peers. I think most graduate students are reticent to tackle impostor syndrome head on, because they’re hopeful that it will just slowly dissipate. (At least, that’s how I felt.) I know I was DEFINITELY hopeful that it was a sensation that would stay contained within my graduate school career. But recently I had an experience that caused it to come roaring back. My first thought upon realizing it was back… “Great, now I get to deal with the assistant professor version of this arduous mental health challenge.” Continue reading
How to Write a Book Proposal
This whole post could probably be distilled into one single PRO-TIP.
PRO-TIP: Start thinking about your book proposal way before you think you need to. An significant number of presses will expect to see projects that already have a fair amount of momentum behind them.
More and more these days, presses (university or otherwise) are asking for supplemental information along with book proposals. The basics are all the same, but many presses would now like for you to be well-connected socially. In other words, they want to see evidence of an audience, marketability, or of your book’s momentum. We’ll return to this quandary in a moment. Continue reading
Your First Month in a Tenure-Track Job: The Dos and Don’ts