(Closed) Academia bees – do you feel unsure as well?

posted 6 years ago in Career
Post # 3
2281 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@Oxfordnerd:  It took me three attempts on the job market before I got a tenure track job – two years working as an instructor at the school where I got my PhD, with a massive course load and pennies for compensation. When I did get a t-t job, it was awful and I hated the school and the city and most of the people I worked with. So, back on the job market I went, exhausted and wondering if I should just go back to waiting tables like I did before grad school. 

But, I completely revised my cv and cover letter – I haunted the CV Doctor section on the Chronicle of Higher Ed’s job site, and I got amazing advice there http://chronicle.com/article/The-CV-Doctor-Returns-2010/124492/ – and tried again, and got the job I really wanted. 

A couple of things that might help:

Don’t let a bad review turn you off of what you do. I’ve gotten some vicious reviews, on work that someone else thought was fabulous. Don’t take any one academic’s personal opinion to be the true measure of your abilities. In fact, my book, published almost without revisions by one major publisher in my field, was first rejected by another, with a reviewer who wrote that not only was the work insufficient, but that I appeared to “lack the intellect necessary to make the changes that would render it readable.” What a douche. And then the very next place that looked at it loved it. 

Have you sent your dissertation out to publishers yet? If you’re in the humanities, guess what? You’ve written a book! Which has now been vetted by a whole committee of experts in your field! Before the end of this week, compose your proposal letter and send it to whatever publishing company appears most frequently in your Works Cited. If you’re in the sciences or another field that is more about journal articles than books, by the end of the week, send at least one chapter to the top journal in your field. You won’t believe what a difference it makes on the job search to have publications even listed as “under submission.”

Don’t try to apply to lots of places all at once. It can be too exhausting. Apply to one job a week, if it helps.

I have been there, and now I’m tenured in a job I love, so hang in there. PM me if I can help at all. If you’re in the humanities, I’d be glad to look at your cv or cover letter, if you’d like a different set of eyes to suggest any revisions.


Post # 4
6597 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2010

I agree with you on feeling insignificant. A PhD is supposed to train you to be a confident expert in your feild. However, how are we supposed to be confident when all they do is rip us down.

I am not done yet, I am defending in October. But I do have a job lined up for January that I am really excited about. Luckily, I have a REALLY marketable skill, I teach cadaveric anatomy.

I feel like doctoral training programs often forget that they are trying to create marketable PhDs and only allow them to do research, even though teaching is a very marketable skill in academia.

Do you have teaching experience? Can you apply for limited duties positions at your current school or near-by schools to gain more teaching experience? Do you submit a teaching dossier with your CV? I did submit a teaching dossier to every position even if they did not ask for it. I agree though that it is frustruating job searching in academia. My job search numbers look a little like this: I applied for about 50 posiitions, got two interviews and two offers.

I don’t know what feild you are in but another idea would be to expand your job search to include industry?


Congrats on your PhD and just remember you are a PhD – you should be able to find a job you LOVE!!!

Post # 5
2889 posts
Sugar bee

As I am finishing up my dissertation this week for defense in 2 months, I totally get the feeling of frustration. Have you considered applying for jobs in your industry? I have no idea if it will work for you but as soon as I submit my dissertation I will begin looking for positions in industry as I need some time away from teh ivory tower! If you and your partner are both academics, have you considered applying for jobs abroad? I know in my field there are frequent postings for 1-2 year positions in various Asian Univeristies. If Darling Husband could get his company to send him to Asia, I would follow up on something like this as it seems like a great way to get some international experience and the positings I see are looking for Western, English speaking PhDs. Also, what about a related field? Is your research relevant to another field where it will be seen as unique and cross over as opposed to ordinary (not saying you are not doing something yunique, more that some theories are applied to specific fields moreso than others and switching fields with the same knowledge could reposition your skills as more outstanding).

Post # 6
1423 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

I can commiserate.  I’m in my last (supposedly) job-searching-filled year of my program — if I can pass the scrutiny of the committee that gives the verdict on my market-readiness.  I feel woefully unprepared and underaccomplished.  I’ve hated grad school.  The sad thing is I love my subject, teaching, and even don’t mind the writing and research.  But, there are some people in the field that are super competitive and aggressive (aka just rude and mean to others) that I’ve never managed to get comfortable in the profession. 

@ProfessorGirl:  thanks for the link.  I at least drafted a copy of my cv this morning!

Post # 7
2281 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@bluegreenjean:  No problem! I found the Jobs area on the Chronicle to be very helpful in general – there are also some great articles on interviewing that helped me improve.

Good luck!

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