So, since some of you have asked. Since I am on the Academic Job market this year and I had an interview with a school last week (Ohio University). The application deadline was August 15 and I was contacted for a phone interview shortly thereafter. I dont know how many other candidates they talked to on the phone, but 6-10 is pretty standard for phone interviews. The interview was only 20 minutes, so I dont know how standard that is. It went pretty quickly though.
I was a little unsettled by the fact that the committee seemed mostly interested in my dissertation work, which was odd, because I dont think its all that interesting anymore. Maybe its because I have been writing or working with that data for 6+ years. Maybe its the main take home point that I have taken from doing research on infant health disparities: that what we really need is better data sources to go beyond what we already know. I thought they were interested in me because I am at a college of medicine and my current research is in an area that complements their current research. But turns out they just wanted to know about my main dissertation findings. I tried twice to turn the conversation to my current work, but I felt like a big-time spaz during the call. Plus, I just got some weird feelings from the committee. It seemed like they were humoring someone by interviewing me…
Then I got an email from Ike, who had spoken to the search committee chair. I dont know to what extent it is protocol to call a candidate’s advisor- my guess is that it varies by college and search committee (the dissertation advisor is theoretically, the closest faculty member to the candidate). Ike told me about how the conversation went which was mostly positive, but the committee had some concerns about my publication record. At this point in time I have one publication (published in 2009, one coming out later this year, and one that will be under review this week, plus I have another paper that will be out by the end of the fall- all from my dissertation.) That is not even to talk about papers I can write with the data I am collecting.
I guess the good thing about me as a scholar/candidate is that I am self-aware enough to know that my lack of publications may be a problem. I know this. I know that the gap from my first paper (2009) to the one coming out this year (2012) is weird. Although to be fair, this current paper was supposed to come out in 2011. I wish that I could put an asterisk on my cv and say regarding the gap: “During the period 2009-2012, I got married, had a kid, did an internship in DC, worked for AHCA, worked for DOH, taught for the FSU Dept. of Sociology, tutored athletes, coached three seasons of high school soccer, graduated, and got a paper rejected.” But in the end, it really doesn’t matter. It seems (and not just based on the feedback from OU) that the only currency that matters is publications. Of course, its possible that the OU experience was just a fluke… it was my first interview ever, so maybe the whole thing was a crap shoot. Maybe I will get other interviews and it won’t matter. Maybe OU was always out of my reach. I was surprised when they wanted an interview. My thought was, “Have you seen my cv? You know I have 1.5 publications, right? Okay, you want to interview me… you must be into my “potential”. Okay, I can dig that…”
I would like for once, just once, for something to be easy. I guess there are two ways of looking at it… that maybe all the things that are hard are really just red flags. Maybe it’s the Universe’s way of saying, “It’s never going to happen, man. It’s a pipe dream. I keep putting up road blocks, but you keep climbing over them. Can’t you just go do something else?”
Or maybe it’s the Universe’s way of saying, “If you can swim in the deep end with chum, sharks and concrete shoes, swimming in the shallow end with a bang stick, minnows and floaties should be no problem. Get to swimming, kid.”
I don’t hold much hope for getting invited for an interview at OU. But I am trying to be as thorough as possible with the job market. I kinda just wish I could fast forward to next year at this time…