Today I’m sharing our first Job Market Digest in a long while. With the trials of 2020 it just never seemed the right time to share achievements… and then I couldn’t summon the focus to do it anyway. 2020 was actually a little rocky for The Professor Is In. We managed ok but there were some scary moments. We did qualify for the PPP loan and that helped. (It was disorienting to get help from the trump administration though). 2021 looks to be possibly harder. In my next blog post I’ll share the latest numbers for the higher ed economy, just published by the Chronicle. They are cataclysmic.
But, despite that: our readers and clients keep striving to move ahead both in the academy and beyond it, and we keep offering the help that we can. We’ve all been a wreck together…
This is just a tiny fragment of the wonderful testimonials that have come in over the past 12 or so months. I can’t wait to share them all; I will do a little each time.
I’m incredibly grateful that we could play a role in so many peoples’ lives as they navigated both in and outside the academy. And remember, if you have not emailed me to share your story, please do, at firstname.lastname@example.org! I always keep anonymous, and it can be short or long.
TT job & postdoctoral fellowship, reader/negotiating assistance: ABD in anthropology, Ivy, one-year postdoctoral fellowship and a TT job offer in two top-ranked R1s in Canada. “When should I start applying for jobs?” I remember asking a friend three years ago. “Prepare your cover letter over the summer, and you’d start applying the next fall,” she answered. “Cover letter?” I responded. My friend looked at me worryingly: “Ok, the first thing, we’re getting you a copy of The Professor Is In.” This is how it all began. Using advice from the book and the blog over the last two years, I made 3 postdoc applications (awarded 1 in a top-ranked Canadian R1) and 5 TT job applications (landed 1 preliminary interview, 2 virtual campus visits, and got 1 dream-job offer!). I also worked with Karen to negotiate the offer and learned how to frame my needs and requests correctly, which resulted in a nice increase in the salary and startup fund. I’d like to thank Karen and the team for their detailed and solid advice, but mostly for ‘democratizing’ the academic job market processes for first generation, international, BIPOC, working-class, women, and queer students/scholars like myself, who often do not have the necessary sociocultural capital to decode, understand, and respond to the ‘hidden curriculum’ of academia. Thank you!
TT Assistant Professor position offer. Both previous client and reader. ABD. Public R1 PhD program. Joint PhD in Social Work and Psychology. Public R1 tenure-track assistant professor in social work. I started working with The Professor Is In staff, including Karen, starting in early 2020. I was extra nervous about the job market due to COVID-19 and knew I would need additional guidance and support that go beyond those I regularly get from my academic mentors. By having my statements completed by the summer of this year, I was able to apply to jobs as soon as they came out and felt confident in navigating the rest of the job market process during this exceptionally challenging and uncertain time. Further, I’ve referenced Karen’s advice and book countless times throughout this year. Practically, 90% of the book is highlighted, underlined, tagged in various areas. Based on the book, I knew what I needed to do at each phase of the job search process. Now, I have a job offer I’m about to negotiate 🙂 No doubt, Karen and her team’s help and guidance have been invaluable!
Negotiating client. I truly appreciate your guidance in this process and feel comfortable at this point to accept.
I wanted to reiterate that I have appreciated all your assistance through my career thus far. Thank you very much for helping me to feel confident and level-headed through these negotiations.
Sabbatical: “Every time I have worked with Karen Kelsky, I have been successful. In the past, she helped me in getting the job I currently have at a R1 institution, and NOW she helped to get a major national Sabbatical Grant. This is what I have found out it works for me: I listen very carefully to the The Professor is In, and then I make that feedback my own. This is what I mean: no one better than you knows what is best in your career, but Karen’s advise helps in wrapping up your strengths and gifts in a beautiful package! ”
Admin job: “There’s no way I would have nailed my interview without our 1:1 appointment. Specifically what you said about how I need to frame every question in regards to what are the potential problems that could arise, and how would I solve them—this helped me to succeed because it was a theory to apply rather than specific words to say. The interview process, a campus interview by Zoom, was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and I am so thankful to not have to do it again for a while.”
Leaving the Academy: I just finished reading chapters fifty-eight and fifty-nine in your fundamental book, The Professor is In, and I wanted to thank you for your words of wisdom and validation. Today I received rejection letter number 11 from the multiple academic jobs and postdocs I have applied for and I am seriously starting to consider quitting the dream of an academic career and moving on to something else. I have not yet received a single offer–not even after receiving external funding for my doctoral research from prestigious foundations, or after getting a departmental prize for my dissertation, or after having a paper of mine recognized by a section of the most important scholarly and professional organization in my discipline. Thank you for reminding me that it is ok to quit and to try to find meaning professionally, and personally, in something else. Your voice is a necessary one and I am grateful for it.
Job Talk: Thank you for all of your assistance developing my job talk. Your insights and advice–from the outline, pivot points, use of language, and use of powerpoint slides–served me well. There were some funny glitches along the way that I was fully prepared. The question and answer session was absolutely grueling–I was prepared. In the event that I receive an offer, I will be in touch. The interview was all day on Friday and I mailed off my thank you note on Monday afternoon (on the advice from The Professor Is In).
Doc editing client: I want to thank you and your team for the excellent work on my CL and your patience and willingness.
Doc editing client: Working with you these past two weeks was excellent. I want to thank you for the work you’ve done to help get my job documents ready for submission. I learned a lot from you in the process and I am very glad I signed up for your services. I will likely be in touch in the future to see about purchasing other kinds of advising and document support!
Fellowship: Just wanted to inform you that I’ve accepted an offer for the fellowship at [Ivy League] Medicine. I am SO incredibly thankful for your book and services. The search committee stressed that they were really impressed with my materials and how well I communicated my work and future directions.
Leaving the academy: “I want to write a brief note of thanks. I worked with Karen on my four TT application documents in summer 2019 and then spent 18 months applying for postdocs and TT jobs. Right before I had my dissertation defense, the pandemic hit and … you know what happened to the academic job market. Prior to that I dared to feel hopeful about my second year of applying for jobs, with degree in hand and additional publications forthcoming. Then everything changed, positions kept being cancelled, and I started to re-think my career plan.
Ever since starting college I wanted to be a university professor. I did everything I needed to do to have a chance at that path, and never considered a different one. Now I know that I unfortunately also sacrificed my mental health, hobbies, and valuable family time. After much mid-pandemic soul-searching, feeling sorry for myself, feeling angry at the world and the unfairness of it all, my husband and I decided that the best action to take was to take a literal step back. We moved (with our two cats) from the UK to XX, where I can at least feel sorry for myself in the sun. Haha! ?
Along this soul-searching journey I clung to Karen’s book and the new podcast. I also read the post-academic posts on the website. For the first time ever, I feel like there is a world of possibilities for me outside of academia, where I might find more fulfilment and reward. Thank you for your work on normalizing the non-academic career track.
But most of all I want to thank you for your honesty, kindness, and transparency. It’s not easy for me to let go, and it’s complicated by some ongoing collaborative projects. Your message saying it is OK to leave academia makes all the difference. Now that I’m in XX, my first project is to learn the language and then – who knows! It’s exhilarating and unsettling. I’m learning to find my self-worth outside of my CV, starting a little garden, and baking my way through a stack of my grandparents’ recipes. Maybe I’ll open a café or teach at a school, or maybe there will be a teaching position at a university here. In any case, I’m no longer stubbornly clinging to the academic career track or making ridiculous sacrifices for it. Long story short, I would not be in this better mental health state without the materials you share with the world. I am so grateful.”