conferential: January 2007 Archives


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Came into the office today to find a promotional flier for this year's CCCC:

front page of CCCC flier
back page of CCCC flier

Wait a second. Scroll down the right hand column there for me on the back. What's that?

who's a featured speaker?

That's right. For one brief, shining moment, I'm a rockstar. We're far enough in advance of the event that I don't feel any nervousness at all. And I can't have messed up or anything. Our featured session exists in a state of pure, perfect potentiality and as long as it stays that way, who's to say I'm not a star?

Well, okay. Lots of people. But I'd appreciate it if you didn't ask them, at least until after March.

That's all.

From the land of MLA Statistics

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Happy new year, everyone.

I've got one or two more MLA posts to unload, and then we'll move on to matters more properly 2007. This entry is inspired by the fact that I ran into three different friends this year, each of whom had double-digit interviews. My own feeling is that there's a law of diminishing interview returns once you get to that point, but I also understand how difficult it is (in a very weak market) to turn anything away that might be an opportunity. Upon hearing about each of these ambitious schedules, I started doing a little figuring of my own where I came up with the following numbers. Counting this year, here's what I've done in the job market, as an applicant, in the 10 years I've been out:

3 MLA interviews
4 campus visits (none of which resulted from MLA interviews, and only one of which didn't result in a job offer)
3 phone interviews (two that resulted in campus visits)
5 MLAs attended (2 where I interviewed, 1 where I didn't interview and 2 where I was on a search committee)

Compared to these friends of mine, my entire career has involved less interviewing than their past week. Two things suggest themselves to me. First, I've been exceptionally lucky. In the case of my position at Syracuse, for example, a campus visit and offer came by the first week of December, allowing me both to cancel several interviews and skip MLA that year. And this year was the first that I'd done any interviewing since I took my SU gig.

My second point is that each of has different stories and paths to our careers, such that there is no real norm. It hadn't occurred to me until this year that I'd interviewed as little as I have, or that I've yet to have a "successful" MLA interview as we define them. As someone involved with preparing our students for the market, I tend to communicate a stable narrative of the "normal" path to the tenure track, but very little of that norm is true of my own career. And as someone involved with searches at a few different places, I can say that the idea of a "normal search" is anything but.

I don't really have any grand conclusions here. If nothing else, thinking about this underscores for me the dangers of generalizing from my experience, or from anyone's experience, about the whole MLA/job market scene.

That's all. Time for bowl games.



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This page is a archive of entries in the conferential category from January 2007.

conferential: December 2006 is the previous archive.

conferential: March 2007 is the next archive.

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