Wednesday, November 12, 2008

the pro's and con's of a professorship job.

Well I had my interview last week. I think I'm going to take the job if offered, but I'm trying to think about it in a more rational manner. I won't find out until December that I got it, but I want to know before then what my decision would be, so I'm not trying to make a decision in the 2 weeks you normally get to make such decisions.

*2 and 2 teaching load (2 classes a semester), which is basically the lowest teaching load you can get outside of an ivy league university
*everyone was really really friendly and seemed happy with the department.
*I would have complete flexibility over at least one course a semester (which course to teach) and complete flexibility over when to schedule courses.
*no one is doing research very similar to mine, so I won't feel like I'm in competition with specific people
*I would never have to teach introduction to sociology, since that's taught by adjunct faculty

*tenure expectations are not impossible- out of the last 9 people who went up for tenure in the University(which represents 3 years of hires in this school since they hire so few people a year), 1 person didn't get it, and he was denied at the university level and not the department level. I looked up this guys CV later, and it seemed that since he got his phd he only published 1 book based on his dissertation and 1 article, so it seems to me that they were fair in denying him tenure.
*so research is expected, and supported by the university
*the school is unionized, which means guaranteed raises every year and an excellent benefit package.
*it's a public university so I wouldn't be teaching a bunch of rich spoiled white kids all the time- there is a very diverse student body.

Grad students:
*although there is no grad program in sociology, there are some grad programs in affiliated departments (like women's studies) that I would be able to teach in if I wanted to do graduate teaching
*no grad program might actually be an advantage cause that means no time taken up with advising and mentoring grad students.
*I don't even know if I want to teach grad students, I think my passion is much more for undergraduate teaching.

*The school is about a half hour drive from where i grew up, and where a lot of my friends still live, so I would have a built in social network.
*The school is in the NYC metro area, so I would not be living in the middle of bumblefuck

*The department is really really small (~9 faculty members including whomever they hire this year) which may lead to small department infighting, although I was assured on my interview that this has been a really great place to work for at least the last 20 years (but that before that, there was some infighting)
*No one is doing research similar to mine, so I would have few people in my department to bounce ideas off of, or to give me technical help with stats
*I would be required to teach research methods and stats every year, which I don't mind right now but which might get tedious after a while. Also those classes are known for low teacher evaluations since the topic can be pretty boring, which may hurt my teaching evaluations (which may affect tenure)

*I would be judged for tenure using the same criteria as the other campus's in this university's system, some of which have grad programs and grad research assistants to help them do their research
*it's a public university and subject to budget cuts at the government level. The economy sucks, so there will probably be budget problems
*public universities generally have less resources at any given time.

Grad students:
*No grad program in sociology so I wouldn't be able to have graduate research assistants to help me write papers, which might make me less productive

*the NYC metro area has a freakin insane cost of living compared to anywhere else in the country. I was checking out housing prices around this area, and even places further out with longer commutes have what I would consider insane housing prices- like $300k MINIMUM for a piece of shit that needs work. So we might not be able to buy a house right away. A LOT of junior faculty seemed to rent instead of own. The salary is a little higher for this job than in jobs in other locations, but definitely does not make up for the huge cost of living increase
*It's near my parents. And we're not on great terms right now, obviously. In fact, I refuse to visit them until they agree to meet B, and they refuse to meet B, so we're at a standoff right now. Being closer to them might mean we would reconcile (in a dream world where my parents are reasonable people), but more likely will mean having to deal with them 9and related drama) more then I would if I moved to, say, the west coast.
*B really hates the place and doesn't want to live there. To be fair, he has only visited the area 3 times, and I think if he visited it more he would like it a bit. He has reassured me repeatedly that he will follow me wherever I go, even to rural Texas, and has reassured me that he would follow me to this area too. But just because he WOULD follow me there, doesn't mean he will be happy living there, and even as I try to convince him that it wouldn't be so bad, I'm afraid he's right, and that the reasons he has for not living there (congestion, high price of living, etc), are good ones.

So this will all be useless information if I don't get the job offer, but I have about 30% chance of getting it I think (since they are interviewing 3 people for the job), and I think they are looking for someone who does pretty much exactly what i do, so I am a really good "fit". Then again, maybe the other people they are interviewing are better fits. I have no way of knowing.

My options if I don't take this job are to wait and see if anyone else wants to hire me this year (which is pretty unlikely at this point, as I applied to 7 jobs, 5 have scheduled interviews, and 1 of the remaining ones is Princeton which I don't think I am good enough to get a job at. So I have 1 more chance for an interview). So If I don't get or take this job, I will stay in grad school for an extra year and apply for jobs again next year (for professorship jobs you can only apply once a year, around fall of the year before you want a job). I have full funding for another year of grad school, but I will probably be finished with my dissertation before that year (since I definitely will be finished if I do get/take this job). So that means an extra year of fucking around, no reason to be in this city, not earning as much as I could be earning, etc.


  1. If you are looking for an opinion, I think you should take the job and rent a place. It would probably help you get a job in a better location later if you really hated the area. It's possible that you won't have as good of an opportunity next year.

    Homeschool Mom

  2. Oh, gosh, this is a hard decision. Good luck!

  3. I'm with Margo. You're going to have to figure this one out. You and B.
    But it's nice to have options, isn't it?

  4. I hate making decisions, I usually just fall into things...

  5. If you get an offer take it. The job sounds OK. In the current financial situation many universities have hiring freezes or will soon. They are less willing to fire someone once they are hired than to just not hire anyone. There's a low likelihood of firing a tenrue track prof because of budget cuts. They'll cut everything else first usually.

  6. I actually really hope you get this job. For good reasons for you, like I think it would be a good job, and selfish reasons, like it would be in business-travel distance from me!

    Good luck. I really am proud of you. You rock :D

  7. >the pro's and con's of a professorship job.<

    Make sure you don't apply for a professorship in English!


Anonymous comments are enabled for now