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Simultaneously Premature and Tardy Entry into the Academic Job Market

December 11, 2012

It is ill-advised to make a pre-mature entry into the academic job market.  I made the decision months ago to sit this season out, for good reason; my big stories are currently not published.

Yesterday, my post-doc advisor told me that xe had recommended me to a department head leading a search and encouraged me to apply.  I contacted my PhD advisor, who told me that xe had spoken with the same person two weeks ago.  The chair is apparently interested in “grabbing youngsters before they bloom” to avoid having to “compete” for talent.  The application deadline is, naturally, a few days from now.  And while some exception will be made in my “special” case for late application materials, and while I have very clear ideas of research directions I’m excited about persuing, well, there won’t be much of an opportunity to work up my package.

Besides feeling somewhat obligated to apply, I do, indeed, want an academic job.  Everyone knows that there aren’t many and it seems just as stupid to not apply when asked as to apply both pre-maturely and late to a single position.  Assuming that once they receive my hastily put together application material they would even consider inviting me for an interview, I would relish the opportunity to go and meet the members of this department.  In the unlikely event of an offer, well…  I’d certainly seriously consider.  And, of course, wonder.

Any opinions, internet?

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2 Comments
  1. Crystaldoc permalink

    You’d be crazy not to apply. So you spend a week working on application materials; this is not effort lost in any circumstance, since even if you’re not invited out this year, you have a draft to work from for next year. You have a good shot of getting an interview; even if the department decides not to pursue your recruitment further, that would be really good practice for next year. You have a chance to be noticed by some people in the field who may not be familiar with you or your work; you never know when this might lead to a conference invite, a request to review, or someone remembers your name and your seminar when reviewing your next grant or paper. Chances for visibility are good opportunities. I have a spouse and a colleague both of whom actually landed their TT positions before their big postdoc CNS papers were finally accepted. For my big search, I’d already published one medium-big and several more minor scores from my postdoc, but my most exciting story was not written up until after I had the job. The only reason I’d consider *not* applying would be if you just couldn’t handle the extra work/pressure/stress right now because of personal issues outside the job; sometimes you pass on a golden opportunity for the sake of your sanity.

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