Today’s post is a two-parter; in part one, I tell you about all the ways that The Professor Is In is growing and expanding in Fall 2012. In part two, I answer a burning reader question.
Part I: The Professor Is In is Growing!
I’m pleased to announce that I’ve added two new members to the Professor Is In team. The first is Kellee Weinhold, former university professor in the fields of journalism, communication, and literary non-fiction, professional writing coach and consultant, and owner of the Eugene, Oregon writing studio Stir (and incidentally, my partner).
In addition to having twelve years of experience in the university setting, and enormous savvy about the ways of university hiring and politics, Kellee is a fierce proponent of self-expression in all forms and the sworn enemy of wimpy speech. Kellee will be taking over Interview Bootcamps from this month. With the addition of Kellee to the team we are going to be able to increase the available private Interview Bootcamp slots through the interview season.
The second new member to join the team is Petra Schenk. Petra is Dr. Karen’s office assistant, and has been doing yeoman’s work to handle the huge influx of new clients who came to us in Fall 2012. She responds to emails, schedules, and also shares the editing of client documents with Dr. Karen. Petra also works as the writing specialist for TRIO Student Support Services at the University of Oregon. Petra was a nontraditional student, coming from a low-income and first-generation household. After transferring to UO from Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon, she completed her BA in linguistics in 2001. With an interest in documenting endangered languages and with the assistance of the UO TRiO McNair Scholar’s Program, she went on to complete an MA and PhD in Linguistics from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2008.
During her time as a graduate student, Petra cultivated a parallel career track as a student advisor and mentor, focusing on nontraditional college students. When not in the office, Petra enjoys reading, running, cooking, and especially hiking with her amazing daughter.
Both Kellee and Petra are fierce proponents of the message and the methods of The Professor Is In, and allies in the effort to get you ready for the market. With their addition, we can expand our work and help more people get the assistance they need to confront the challenges of an academic career.
Part II: Can I Call the Department?
Today I answer a question that I’ve received from readers with some frequency over the past several weeks.
“Can I call the department to check on the status of my application?”
You can, but there is little point in doing so. It’s truly a “don’t call us, we’ll call you situation,” with the caveat that in today’s uncivil times, they rarely bother to call (or write) to tell you when you have not made the cut. It’s all too common these days to hear nothing but deafening silence….all the way up to and beyond the completion of the search.
But to return to the question of “can I call?” My strong advice to all readers is, do not call. Please remember that all jobs in this day and age routinely get between 200 and 900 applications. Consider the welfare of the poor secretary who would have to field those calls.
And again, to return to my main point—if they want you, they will call. For most of you, for the vast, vast majority of jobs to which you applied, the call will not come. Sorry.
I remember the first year I was on the market (all the way back in 1995—supposedly halcyon days but actually an already brutal time in the anthropology job market), I literally thought that my local post office (this was the era of mailed paper applications) was experiencing some sort of malfunction because I had received not a single response from the 25 or so jobs to which I applied that first Fall. Surely, there had to be some mistake??!!
There was no mistake. I was sending out painfully bad application materials (having received no training whatsoever for the job market as I describe on this page of the website), I had a second-tier Ph.D. from the University of Hawai’i, and I was confronting competition from graduates of the top programs of the land.
The memory of that deafening silence, my painful confusion, my growing humiliation, my desperate calls to departments, my slowly dawning comprehension of my true chances on the market, my panic about money, my realization of the scandalous neglect of my professors….all these things are as fresh in my mind today as they were that Fall of 1995. They are the things that catalyzed me to start this business, and that keep me working to find new ways to tell job seekers the truth about just how hard it is, and what you need to know to improve your chances.
But that’s me. You’re just wondering about the status of your applications.
Approximately one month after you submit the application, if your conference is imminent and you are wondering if you’ll be invited to an interview, ok, sure, you can, if you must, write a single email to the department secretary (not the search chair) to inquire. It won’t harm your chances. That’s the extent of it, and frankly, I say again: don’t bother. There is no mystery here. There is no confusion or delay or problem with the search. What there is, is the fact that you probably have not been short-listed. It’s painful and shocking and devastating, and no amount of reading my blog or others’ warnings will prepare you for the dismay, humiliation, and panic.
As those of you who have attended my webinars know, I urge readers and clients to do what they can to retain their dignity in an inhuman system that doles out humiliation by the bucketloads. It is my opinion that calling departments to ask about the status of your application is an exercise in humiliation. I recommend that you stand on the dignity that you have, do the best work you can to improve your record and your application materials, and be ready for the call when and if it comes.