The total weirdness of the academic job market

[I decided this morning that maybe writing up details about interviews, even as generically as I tried to do it, wasn’t maybe the greatest idea in the world. So I’m removing the text I wrote but leaving the post so I can respond to comments.

To sum up: I have several interviews for full-time jobs in my field; they would pay very differently, in ways that would affect my finances for obvious reasons; I would rather get one of the ones with a better salary. Heh.]

13 thoughts on “The total weirdness of the academic job market

  1. Wow! Best of luck and be tough and prepared in your negotiations!!

    1. Yeah, that’s pretty much the plan. I mean first I have to get the job before I can negotiate, which isn’t exactly guaranteed. Thanks!

  2. Good luck! Mr. DebtFreeJD is an academic, and I do not remember his time on the job market with fondness. He only got one job offer, but it was the right one – I hope you get the right offer also!

  3. Is your current position only for a year? Will you be moving cities for the other jobs? It sounds kind of crazy but I guess that is the life when you don’t have tenure?

    1. It is a two-year position (so, through July 2016) but I could quit if I got a permanent job. Yeah, they’re all in other cities, which in some cases is not a bad thing; and yeah, it’s just the way it is in academia. It’s like being in the military (in the sense that you don’t necessarily have a lot of control over your location, not in the sense of, like, danger.)

  4. Huy Tran says:

    About #3 and having time to work on publications, is that something you enjoy? I’m not in Academia but it seems like the people I know seem to enjoy having their papers published. Would you still be working on publications at jobs #1 and #2, either for work or in your free time?

    Good luck!

    1. Oh, you always have to work on publications. But different schools have different expectations about how you balance your time; at some, they want you to spend nearly all your time on teaching and administrative work, and have very low publication requirements, while at others, you’re expected to do a lot of publishing, but the teaching load is lower to compensate.

    2. Huy Tran says:

      What’s your ideal way to spend your time between publications, teaching and administrative work?

    3. Huh, good question. In college, 4 classes a semester is considered a full-time teaching load; people with a “4-4” (meaning 4 in the fall, 4 in the spring) rarely publish much, maybe a couple of articles that they work on over the summer. At the opposite extreme, some (very rare) jobs have full professors teaching only one class a semester, or even one class a year.

      In my ideal world, I’d be at a place that had a 3-2 load: 3 courses in one semester, two in the other. That allows for a pretty decent amount of research time, but skews the balance towards teaching. Probably in that scenario you’re looking, over the course of the whole year, at a 60% teaching, 30% research, 10% admin breakdown, but distributed unevenly; during the semester it would be more like 75% teaching, 15% admin, 10% research, and then in the summer you go to more like 20% teaching (prep for the next year’s classes), 80% research/writing, with a very minimal amount of administrative work.

  5. Darn, I got to the post after you deleted for anonymous reasons… Feel free to email me if you want me take on it from a fellow (kind of) Academic.

    I have a 5-year contract right now, so I am VERY lucky, but honestly I still find it disconcerting when you think of all the additional parts to the job above and beyond teaching, or programming. Then it’s all the service. Oh the service…

  6. CheapMom says:

    I hope you get job #1! I remembered when I was interviewing it was really amazing how a job at the same level would end up being so different at difference sized companies. Smaller and larger companies seemed to have more work than average, but one paid way more!

    1. right?! It’s not just what work you do, it’s where you end up doing it that matters so much.

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