Tuesday, May 20, 2008

More stragglers, with timeline

1. Straggler 1: a tenure-track faculty job at a top-50 university (public)

Mid-February: Application deadline.

Early April: Visit.

End of April: Last candidate visit. Communicated with department chair, who says committee may meet "within the week" and certainly the next week, and send recommendation to Dean. Hopefully it will be a matter of "a few weeks at best."

Mid-May (3 weeks after last communication): Search committee chair says that they distributed video of all the talks to the faculty who weren't able to attend and they'll hopefully be able to schedule a meeting for late this week.

I was tempted to tell the search committee chair that they're not the slowest and one of their colleague schools will be doing their September hires in July or August, but held my tongue.

But I really would like to sign a lease where my postdoc is. I was told not to tell them that is the reason that I am eager to hear.

2. Straggler 2: "I'm from the Government and I'm here to help you."

Sometime in March: Attempted application to a government postdoc. The links weren't working, so I emailed them.

Late March: As a result of my email, my CV got circulated, and they write to me with a semi-discouraging note. A week later, I realize that it wasn't entirely a rejection letter, so reply accordingly.

Early April: They grudgingly concede that they may have room for me.

Mid-April: I write back expressing interest, and apologizing for delay.

Late April: Two phone interviews with the main people, and they really were the best possible phone interviews.

Early May: Very interested, but can't fly me out. I reply within an hour of getting the email that I am also very interested. No response.

Mid May (16 days later): A sort-of offer: "I have not communicated with you in a few weeks while waiting on word about possible funds to bring you here for a visit. It is best for everyone to meet before making a commitment, but our budget is a bit uncertain at present (not always) and I am not sure that is going to be possible with you. Nonetheless, I would like to offer you a position (pending approvals, of course). The start date is flexible until September (we need to use the money for this position this fiscal year)."

I reply within an hour getting it that I was very interested in working with them, but I accepted a job two weeks earlier and said where it was, as my current position runs out in June, but I would be interested in working with them in the future, please keep me posted if any position comes up in the future, and also if they have any seminars with their research in places where our paths may intersect.

I get a 2 liner in reply that they're happy I found a place.

It must be frustrating for them that they can't act faster. The people in the department are all from solidly middle-ranked places, which is surprising because it sounds like they have really great resources that you don't have in universities, no teaching, and not soft money. I wonder why.

But really, what can they expect? I can't turn down another offer or sign a lease for a "position pending approvals".

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