I’m on the job market again this year. The horrible, horrible job market. The job market whose very WEBSITE instills fear and loathing in my heart and causes my stomach to churn angrily as soon as I point my browser in its general direction.
Well, I exaggerate. It’s not so horrible. There are, in fact, a few jobs on the list this year whose descriptions correspond almost perfectly to my qualifications.
I’m trying not to think about how perfect they would be, though, and just quietly apply for them without setting myself up for disappointment. It is surprisingly easy not to think about that in spite of the fact that I have to send each of them a letter boasting about how perfect we would be for each other. While I have to write about it, that writing comes from the fakety-fake-fake LIAR part of my brain that only initiates in job application scenarios. You know, the Tracey-Flick-like part that tells potential employers that your greatest weakness is that you just work TOO DAMNED HARD. Only in this case, the fakeness required to sell myself as a candidate is much more involved and complex:
“I am not only the most brilliant researcher ever with the GREATEST POSSIBLE POTENTIAL to publish and bring money and fame to your university, but I am also the GREATEST POSSIBLE TEACHER who inspires my students to excellence and fosters an active intellectual and social discourse community! Of course, I am also, like SO TOTALLY CONTRIBUTING TO YOUR DIVERSITY! I am a woman! And I love people of color! Some of my best friends are people of color! And women! And I am totally, like, so progressive and stuff and totally not a colonialist fascist. I SWEAR.”
It is exhausting. Of course, I make the process worse for myself at every turn. For one thing, I hate asking people for things (as you may recall), so I delay as long as possible the process of asking my references to update their letters and then sending the inevitable forty-seven “friendly reminder” emails begging them to please for the love of dog do it already.
I also tend to make stupid mistakes, usually in the act of trying to make my life easier. I made a file that sorted all of the job postings by the due date, so could easily focus on the ones that would be due soon and leave the later ones aside. Brilliant, right? Except that I had all of the November deadlines on one page and the October deadlines on another, and in spite of the fact that November first is a goddamned SATURDAY, there are still a shitload of job applications due that day. Even though I thought I would be done when I finished sending out my materials for the October 31st deadlines, I still have, as it turns out, like eighty-seven more things to do this week. See? Am brilliant.
Just for the fun of it (FUN. HAHA. I LARF.), here’s a sample list of materials that one potential empolyer would like me to send by Saturday:
A letter of application
A curriculum vitæ
A two-page abstract describing my dissertation or current research
Evidence of teaching excellence (= sample course evaluations)
A 25-page writing sample
Three letters of reference
Both graduate and undergraduate transcripts
Needless to say, the cost of postage is also an issue, as we are looking at about 100 pages of shit here.
May I also point out that one of the jobs I am applying for is at an ivy league university? What this means is that I am stressing out over the 100 pages of shit I am about to send them, and they are probably not even going to look at most of those pages, a decision they will make based on looking at one page: the page printed on Wordsmith’s letterhead. Why do I bother with applying to the snootiest of the snooty, you might be wondering.
Frankly, I am kind of wondering, too. It’s just that there aren’t that many positions out there that are both desirable and seem to fit my field well, so I am applying for every damned one that does, whether or not I have a chance in hell of getting an interview. Besides, I am in full-on career/financial ambition mode, and I KNOW those assholes pay well.
Luckily, this huge batch of applications will be out of my hands by the end of this week and I will be able to celebrate HEARTILY at the Halloween party I am throwing on Friday. Oh, did I mention I am throwing a Halloween party on Friday? I am and you are invited! Yes, you there with the face! I hope you can make it! Also, do you think you can pick up a bag of ice on the way?