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Two Quick Questions

2 June, 2005

Two Quick Questions

  1. It is now well past the time that the last two places I interviewed said they’d be in touch. At what point can I call/e-mail them for an update? Or do I just keep hoping no news is good news (although who knows, maybe there will be rejections in the mail today …)
  2. I realized when I wrote the piece below that I am actually capable of writing stuff that relates to what I do. Duh. But none of you colleague types seem to be laughing at it. So does that mean I can actually write readable (if colloquial) English? If so, can I rediscover how to transfer these skills to actual academic writing? Because I think I just remembered that I like the process a lot. I didn’t revise and clarify as much as I would have liked, but this blogging thing seems to be useful. Do you think so? not a quick question, but comments are invited
18 Comments leave one →
  1. 2 June, 2005 2:04 am

    I really don’t mean to be raining on your parade, but I want to be a realist. It took us FOREVER to tell the remaining candidates that we weren’t going to be offering them a job. Way after we should have been waiting. I’m not sure we would have said one way or the other if they’d asked us point-blank, but it may be worth a shot. When you say “well past the time”, how long do you mean?

  2. 2 June, 2005 3:15 am

    Actually, only a week after they said they’d say …

  3. 2 June, 2005 3:15 am

    Wait — two weeks after for one

  4. 2 June, 2005 3:43 am

    Well, FWIW, when I did the phone interview for the job I have now, they said they’d be in touch by the end of the week, and they didn’t call until two weeks after that. It wasn’t like they’d gone through other candidates and come back to me, other stuff had just legitimately intervened. So it can happen – although I think it’s more likely at earlier stages than later stages; but they may have run into administrative stuff, especially if they’re on semesters and have run into finals etc. That said, I would think it would be perfectly legit to call them if you haven’t heard anything after three weeks, especially for on-campus interviews. I’ve been lucky enough not to run into this, but I have heard stories where schools never told candidates they’d hired someone else until the candidates asked… totally crappy.And yes, you write completely readable English prose! Personally I think that’s an important quality in academic prose as well as in blogging, but I’m lucky to have had an advisor who (whatever his/her other faults) really emphasized making work comprehensible to a general audience. (Not sure they succeeded in my personal case, mind you…) Pretend you’re blogging your argument?

  5. 2 June, 2005 3:54 am

    NK, I like your writing! I hadn’t thought about the ‘pretend I’m blogging’ approach … good idea! at least to start. It would be totally different, though — I usually write first drafts in longhand on two pads, one for text and one for notes …Yes, I also take notes longhand. I dread having colleagues see my process, because I’m sure it’s totally inefficient 😉

  6. 2 June, 2005 4:16 am

    For what it’s worth, no news is usually a sign that either they’ve offered to someone else who hasn’t accepted yet OR the offer is strung up in-house on funding or whatever. As soon as we had written acceptances, we were able to phone up the other candidates and let them down, but that was more than a month after the end of interviews.In one case, the offer to the successful candidate went out a month after the interview.If you’re clearly past the deadline, it’s probably not a bad idea to drop the chair of the search a line and let them know you’re still available and waiting to hear. They’ll let you know if there’s anythign more they can let you know.

  7. 2 June, 2005 4:49 am

    Um … I just re-checked the dates and they aren’t quite as overdue as I thought. It’s only been 18 days since the first interview, and 8 days since the phone screening …Thanks, though — at this point, I think I’m just a wee bit on edge …

  8. 2 June, 2005 5:12 am

    I think the most efficient process is whatever one works for you, regardless of what it looks like. 🙂 I can’t do longhand any more, but that’s because I never have to write longhand and my handwriting has gone completely to hell!

  9. 2 June, 2005 5:22 am

    My longhand is only decent if I use a decent fountain pen. That will be my divorce present to myself … a new Pelikan!

  10. 2 June, 2005 10:29 pm

    ADM, I have been reading your posts as a fellow medievalist, and I think you write very good prose, and have lots of strong ideas. Forgive me for saying this, but I think that for you to get your research project going, you need to commit the time to write every day. Maybe thinking of it as a blog will help, in that it will encourage you to write frequently. You’ve got the summer ahead of you! Let those stupid household projects moulder for a while: academic writing is the single biggest thing you could do to increase your chances of getting a good job. I know you must know this, but it can be really hard to prioritize! Scholarly writing is like any other skill: it takes practice, practice, practice. You should try to write something, anything scholarly every single day, and you will be surprised at how much you have written in a month or two. Make your regular blog your reward for your scholarly “blog” and just force yourself to do it. Start slow, with fifteen minutes every day. Then gradually increase until you are working at a good clip. The great thing about this method is the feeling of being guilt free for the rest of the day as soon as you have done your “assignment”–no thinking about it and feeling bad because you haven’t been getting writing done. I know you have heavy teaching responsibilities, but you *can* be productive and teach a lot: I started in a 3-3-3 job, published two books, and moved up–all with the “write every day” method. I think you have a lot to contribute to the field!!!

  11. 2 June, 2005 11:16 pm

    Waiting: If it’s past the time they said they’d get back to you by, you are entitled to check in. About once a week, unless they give you a new “tell by” date. And if you have some other “iron in the fire” you can sometimes pry more information out of them, if they have it (sometimes the holdup isn’t in the committee, but in HR/Dean/Provost/other administrative offices)Writing: I have to think about this one. There’s a difference between your post (or anyone else’s punditry), which is largely conclusions, and most academic history, which is mostly evidence, and those are very different reading experiences. There’s more there, about integrated vs. structured knowledge, but I have to think about it.

  12. 2 June, 2005 11:58 pm

    Anonymous — you are so right … and you sound like someone I know! Thanks, though …it’s definitely a goal that goes along with the other life changes, and will, I hope, be easier because of them!

  13. 3 June, 2005 12:01 am

    Jonathan — Thanks, too. On the writing, I think you’re right. I just worry that I’ve lost the ability to connect thoughts in a sensible manner. Since I worry more about style than my ability to use evidence (although I worry more about not having found *all* the evidence and incorporated it even more).But now, it’s off to the book review. Fortunately, that’s not unlike blogging!

  14. 3 June, 2005 2:18 am

    Anonymous — thanks again. And I meant that you sound like someone who knows me! Although it’s pretty obvious from the blog, I suppose! But I just did one of those things that can’t be ignored (dog walking) and it gave me time to get things in perspective, at least for the moment. I just need to be reminded! A lot, apparently!

  15. 3 June, 2005 4:19 am

    Is there a reason you’re concerned about your style? I realize blogging and articles can be radically different (or not, as you’ve written), but you seem to flow and your prose is clear and concise.

  16. 3 June, 2005 4:57 am

    yes — I am finally getting back into this whole ‘how to be a real academic’ thing, and it’s been so long since I’ve written for an audience of my peers (although that *is* what I’m doing when I blog), and so long since I’ve given a paper, that I really do just freeze up and then go and hide. Blogging has helped to overcome the fear of an audience, and my thoughts flow much more easily now, but I’m starting to write something for publication (just a book review) and there’s a bit more at stake in writing for the non-bloggers.Although I just realized that, once upon a time before I ran away from the Wikipedia, I was writing quasi-scholarly stuff that was considered pretty decent …Still, constructive criticism is always welcome! Thanks! (blogging break from getting through another chapter of the book now over!)

  17. 3 June, 2005 8:15 am

    On not hearing, I could tell you a terrific horror story about a distinguished senior history professor at a major midwestern state university who applied for an important position in a department at a major private Southern university that ADM knows very well. He sent his letter of application, followed by his _huge_ prize-winning manuscript, and waited. Letter of application and receipt of manuscript were never acknowledged. Search was conducted and unsuccessfully concluded. DSP was never notified of anything at all. He learned that the search was unsuccessfully concluded via grapevine gossip. It is unknown whether his prize-winning manuscript was ever returned. I suppose that knowing that people are sometimes very badly treated even at the very senior ends of the profession puts some kind of perspective on things.

  18. 7 June, 2005 8:56 pm

    If you like fountain pens, make sure you check out Fahrney’s. I like the paper catalogue better than the website. Pen porn!

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