How much to tell: Out on the academic job market?
It’s for real! This season is my season. Job openings are starting to pop up and I’m serious about doing my best to land one of them. In the time between now and the deadlines – some as early as mid-September! – only small things are within my control. My training, pedigree, experience and funding record are what they are. My publication record can only get better as manuscripts slowly continue to be released to the wild. My teaching statement can be polished and tailored to specific departments. My research plan will change drastically as my scientist pals chime in. All of this causes much anxiety, but it’s anxiety that I’m trained to deal with.
What is worrying me are the details. Things that shouldn’t matter at all, but that I’m afraid might – at least a little. Things that pale in comparison to my publication record, plans for scientific world domination and funding potential. However, these small things are wholly within my control, so I can obsess about them. Indeed, instead of re-making Figure 2, I’m currently trying to figure out if I should include a significant leadership position I held in an LGBT graduate student group on my CV. The question of the day is: should I out myself in my application materials?
Of course! Right? Why on earth would I want a job in a homophobic department? So if being gay is going to be a problem, well, best not to waste each other’s time. Feeling is mutual. Ciao, dinosaurs!
Except… I do actually want a job. An academic job. With start-up and my own minions and new colleges and instrumentation. In the current market, with hundreds of amazing candidates applying for each and every position, if my application makes it into the select pool of candidates that a university is considering inviting for a campus visit, I don’t want to miss that opportunity because when it comes down to it, departments can only invite a few people and the candidate who is not an out lesbian just seems like they would probably be a “better fit”.
If I do manage to score an interview or two, I will casually and cheerfully out myself when the totally-illegal-but-always-asked-anyway questions about my “second body” pop up. But by that time, I’ll be there face to face, and I will have already totally rocked that interview, so the nebulous “fit” questions will be less of an issue. I hope. So I should totally hedge my bets and leave off the line, right? Except it seems cowardly and wrong to (very slightly) weaken my CV due to fear of bias that possibly doesn’t even exist.
I’ve have a few queer friends make the step from not-professor to professor, but all in fields that are “culturally” and intellectually rather distant from mine, so while I know what they’ve done, I’m not sure how well it translates. There are about three weeks left for me to obsess about this. Any opinions or anecdotes, internet?