It’s been two weeks since I met with the Dean of College in Somewheretown. I’ve been waiting with a combination of anticipation and dread for news from the search committee. I want to be hired. I want to receive a rejection letter. I don’t really care. I just want to hear something.

But, as usual, all I hear is crickets.

I know this means that I did not get the job. They have offered it to the other sucker and are waiting for hir to accept or decline. I fully expect to get a “no thanks” letter very soon.

It’s not like I’m waiting at the mailbox, but I do wonder how long the silence will last.

Although I am used to shitty academic job market experiences, I am still surprised at how weird the whole process is. At one point you’re getting asked a lot of questions about your “work” and people are acting like they’re interested in you and your deep thoughts. They’re even wining and dining you (okay it was lunch in the faculty lounge, but still!). Then, once they decide they don’t like you anymore, you’re dropped of a cliff into an abyss of uncertainty.

I am not terribly disappointed because I had a lot of reservations about the position and may have, in fact, declined to accept it anyway.  I mostly feel angry that I put myself through this all again, like a hair shirt that I can’t bear to remove even though I don’t believe all that Jesus hocus pocus anymore.

Perhaps it had to play out this way. I couldn’t leave academia for good until I had gone all the way through the hiring process to that seat in the Dean’s office where I was reminded that I verge on unworthiness because I haven’t published enough of those elusive “peer-reviewed articles” while I have been semi-employed outside the academy. Yes, why didn’t I do that?

No matter. What’s done is done. At the risk of ascribing meaning to another pointless ritual, it seems that I had to go all the way down the road to the end before coming back, finally, to the start.

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6 Responses to Silence

  1. JC says:

    I’m sorry that (it seems like) you didn’t get the position, although I’m glad that you aren’t too upset about it.

    I also think that I couldn’t make my decision to *really* leave academia until I had gone all the way through the interview process, right down to the interview with the dean. Because until I did that, I could delude myself that another job would be better, or that another department would treat me better or that (in my case) I’d like another academic environment more than the one I left.

    Once I had that interview, though, I realized it wasn’t the case. I was done with academia – done being exploited and strung along and left sitting anxiously on the edge of my seat for some sh*thead slackoff professor to finally vote on my application packet. I was tired of having my whole worth tied up in the mindf*ck of academia. And finally, leaving felt like the Right Thing To Do.

    So here’s hoping that you’re there now. Good luck…

  2. For me, applying to academic jobs was a really hard habit to break. Really hard. Like, I still slip sometimes when someone emails me an opening squarely in my field. No need to feel badly about falling off the wagon–it’s a process, etc. Also, end-of-the-semester crazytimes + a less than organized search could mean that 2 weeks of silence doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t get the job. If you never hear back, just show up in August and demand to know where your office is.

  3. oh the waiting game. Yuck. I love the hair shirt analogy – just the other day I was looking at an aca job that I thought “Oh, I could apply for that…”. Fortunately sanity prevailed, but I was left with the nagging feeling that I should do it anyway. So your post is a timely reminder for me about exactly why I shouldn’t… My last market experience was eeked out for nearly two months and also involved attending a conference and seeing almost the entire committee during that time. Now that was certainly awkward. At one point I was left hiding in the toilets desperately struggling hold on to my dignity (there is NEVER anything dignified about hiding in a toilet cubicle). Thank god there was a drinks reception nearby…

  4. I’m going through something similar right now and I feel for you.

    maybe its some kind of blessing in disguise that while you’ve been internally debating whether or not you even want to be a cheesemaker, these fuckers have demonstrated yet again why academia can be such a shitty inhumane place.

    I’m sorry they treated you so badly, and hope this gives you the strength to move on, if that’s what you want.

  5. Lauren says:

    When did silence become an appropriate and polite reply? Geez. Even a form letter would be welcome. I went on the comm college market last spring and received a rejection letter from a school in Texas nearly six months after I’d applied (and about five months after I figured I didn’t get a bite). Pointless and rude.

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