Thursday, January 17, 2013

Academic dream phone

"Bye. Have a great day."

Who signs off a phone interview like that? Like a shop girl. Why do I do that? As soon as the words slip out of my mouth there's an awkward silence that I can only imagine is the noise of five professors in a room looking vaguely perplexed. I immediately think to myself "cuuuuuuuuuuurses, now I will never be taken seriously and will have to go back to my old job folding women's sweaters and averting my eyes when women open dressingroom doors in only their underwear."

You're clearly supposed to say "Looking forward to hearing from you. Good bye." I know it's not that bad, it's just an unfortunate way to cap off an interview where I think I otherwise sounded pretty competent.

I have the same fatal flaw in person. I wave at people when I say hello or goodbye. It just happens. I remember once in high school when I was walking home from the bus. Unusually for me I was walking with one of my neighbors who went to my school. Anyway, there were some, for lack of a kinder word, bros up the stress playing basketball. Neighbor-girl started talking to them (she knew them I assume) and I waved. And they laughed and said I waved like a drag queen. Thanks, dude-bros! That was just the thing for every 14 year old girl's confidence. After that I made a point to avoid suburban neighbors at (almost) all costs.

Anyway, another interview done! It's so hard to gauge how these things go. I always feel like I get a good response, but so far it's been a challenge to make it to a second interview. Although to be fair, out of (now) four interviews, I only have one official rejection in hand. I also have three more applications floating around in the ether right now, which may or may not turn into interviews.

It's like a giant game of academic dream phone. Which school really likes me!? Is it the hunky state school? That's where'd I'd place my money, but I could be totally wrong. I think unusually for me though, I have a growing sense of awareness that this will all work out in the end. Whatever job I'm supposed to have, I'll be offered and accept. The thing about academic job searches, especially for newly minted PhDs, is that you don't really have the ability to be picky about where you end up geographically. So I've made an effort to just not spend too much time worrying about if I would actually like to live in X location (although I've excluded much of the deep South from my search simply because I have no capacity to function in the heat). If I get offered the job, then I can worry about it. So when a job offer doesn't pan out it also spares me from living in Hotlanta, or moving a million miles from our families, or living in a squalid shoebox apartment in NYC. The system corrects itself, and in the end I will (of course) be left with the perfect academic job for me (or no academic job at all, which might not be a bad thing either. Sometimes you just need to let the academic dream die).


  1. Good luck. You are right, no use in worrying about it. Whatever happens, happens.

    1. Thank you! Yeah, I can't lose any sleep over it anymore. I did what I could and that's all that's in my control.

  2. I don't feel like that was a big slip-up or anything, just nicer than what they're used to. And if they're not assholes, they probably won't fault you for that.

    1. Yeah, it's not terrible or anything. I think I just wish I was a bit more dignified!

  3. "You're right, I really like you.."
    "He likes most sports, but not basketball."
    "He's not at... the movies."

    Yeah, I was a major fan of Dreamphone back in the day.

    Don't knock all of the south! I'm from Cocoa Beach, FL. It's about 90F on the absolute hottest days, but the sea breeze is constant year-round. Keep the air moving and bearable. Plus, beach. Every damn day.

    1. Does FL count as the deep South? I think most of FL is probably an exception. I was thinking more along the lines of Tennessee and Mississipi. Hot and humid is bad news for me.


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