Blogrolling: On the Market: Fumbling Towards Tenure Track

Oct 02 2009 Published by under Blogging, Careerism, Neuroscience, NIH

I think you will like this one, Dear Reader. The author is:

..a neuroscience post-doc in New York City, about to go on the tenure-track job market in earnest. My journey will likely begin as a comedy of errors, but almost certainly end as a heartwarming tale of human triumph.

In "What happened last year", she cautions you to be ready for the phone interview at all times if you've sent in an application!

As it turns out, no, "a few questions" is not very casual. When I called FMC back, they asked:
-What kind of research would you plan on doing here?
-How can you incorporate undergraduates into your research?
-What courses would you like to teach?
-Other Serious Interview questions
I was caught completely off guard, and that combined with the fact that I was FREAKING OUT with happiness

Hmm. Sound advice.


"This is actually kind of serious" is dear to my own heart of course and this blogger needs to start reading the younger prof blogosphere pronto!

I would seriously love to hear from everyone here, especially if you or someone you know is a new faculty member. How is it going? How do you balance securing funding with all of your other responsibilities? Do you think we need major reform in the grants system, and if so, how do we go about making it happen? This, I feel, is the biggest hurdle, and it will never be cleared if we don't talk about it.

Taking up the embarrassing-social-media-Googletrail in "I admit it, I've been drunk before".

I'd like to remind certain tenured professors about certain stories you've told me regarding you and certain other tenured professors on a certain night in Prague....

My answer to this post is that yes, this IS part of the test.

I went through a similar period of self-doubt when I applied for a K99-R00 Pathway to Independence award from NIMH earlier this year. The NIH grants website is nearly impenetrable, and you need to cross-reference the guidelines there with a 250-page pdf manual, out of which you must extract the scattered instructions specific to your particular grant. It's a real exercise in Not Repeatedly Smashing Your Laptop Into the Wall, and I quickly became certain that it was all part of an elaborate filtration process by which most people would, in frustration, give up on science altogether. Wheat from the chaff, you know?

It's a young blog, but this one shows great promise. Go Read.

No responses yet

  • Pinus says:

    Ha, I think I may have applied for that same position and gotten the same phone call!

  • Yeah, nice fucking blog!

  • Becca says:

    DrugMonkey, WOW! This is a huge compliment, thanks so much for the publicity! I'm totally freaking out, but will try and get it together if anyone has any Serious Interview questions for me.

  • ecologist says:

    I noticed that this post mentioned the "embarrassing-social-media-Googletrail" issue. I realized that I have seen it mentioned several other times. The idea seems to be that a potential employer will scour the intertubes, searching for embarassing pictures of you, as part of the process of screening applicants.
    Hmmm. I have been a faculty member at a VMRU for a Vlong time. I have served on search committees. I have been in department meetings where the recommendations of search committees have been debated. I have never --- not even once --- heard anyone even mention the idea of doing such a search. I have never heard of any such material being so much as mentioned in a hiring debate. I cannot imagine the suggestion being greeted with anything other than a bemused "WTF?".
    So, here's my question. Has anyone out there actually seen this done? I mean actually been on a search committee and set out to scour the interwebs, or been in a department meeting where the search committee reported the results of their googling? Or is this just another academic urban legend?
    And since this post is about a post on another blog, I think I'll make my comment there as well. I'm curious.

  • JPop says:

    ecologist: Yes. Certainly at the 'X is coming for a postdoc interview, look him/her up on facebook' level, if not in official search committee. Also remember there may be 'innocent' name-googling for publications or conference presentations, which then stumbles across... less professional material.

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