Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Mid-Career Search, part 2: Dos and Don'ts (a commenter bleg)

Hi All!

So, after the very long post last time, I promised a part 2 in which I made suggestions as to what to do if you decided you wanted to do this mid-career search thing. Only later did it occur to me that I have no earthly idea.

BUT: in the comments to the previous post, a couple of people who made a midcareer move, and so I thought I'd ask my commenters to weigh in. Have you done a mid-career search? Have you been on a search committee with mid-career applicants? What's your advice?

I've only got one piece, and it's based not on my experience, but my observation of others: Be professional. This includes, but is not limited to:
  • Don't trumpet the fact of your search all over the department, especially in a way that lets your colleagues know that you don't value them or your institution.
  • Don't approach the search as if it's in your pocket just because you've got an impressive CV.
  • If you get a campus visit, let your chair know -- even if you don't think you'll want a counter offer. Chairs need to plan, and announcing in March that you won't be there in August can make things a bit difficult. (The exception to this would be if you were leaving a truly toxic situation: then, for your own protection, you might want to wait until you had a signed contract in hand.)
  • Do things to stay engaged in your own department. If you wanted to develop a syllabus for a new course, do that. If you want to take on a mentoring commitment, do that. Maybe don't run for chair, but otherwise, remember that with the job market being what it is, there is every chance that you'll be where you are come next year. Keep yourself grounded, and stay engaged where you are.
  • Approach the search committee with confidence that your experience brings, but not with arrogance.
  • If you take another job offer, be gracious to your colleagues at your current institution. Even if you're not particularly feeling all warm and fuzzy, remember that they gave you your first opportunity and supported you to the point where you could actually make a move. It costs you nothing to be nice (I had one colleague who even wrote a long note of appreciation to the department as a whole, as well as telling those of us personally close to her how much s/he'd miss us).
So, based on my (lack of) relevant experience, that's all I've got. But PLEASE, if you've ever experienced this kind of search, either as an applicant, hiring department/search committee member, or colleague watching from the sidelines, will you jump in in the comments? From the reactions I've gotten, there's a lot of interest in this topic, yet it's something that no one really talks about much.

Next up: Technology and the academic job search.


Susan said...

I think your list is excellent. In general, assume that you will stay in your current job until you get another job offer. I've been the choice of a search committee that got rejected by a department. So there is no offer until there is an offer.

Tree of Knowledge said...

Are you taking requests for job search posts? Because I would really like to know what the differences among "student evaluations," "evidence of effective (or excellent) teaching," and "teaching portfolio" are. I have all of the documents that qualify, but I'm not sure what to send when an ad doesn't specify what they want in a teaching portfolio or if "evidence of effective teaching" is just course evals. For my own situation, I'm not applying to jobs with a 4:4 or greater course load (I already have one of those).