This is one of my rare posts that does not focus on knitting. If you want knitting, come back Monday and I'll show you some progress on my Komi sweater. If you are a graduate student or postdoc in the sciences, or if you are planning to do graduate work in the sciences, you might find this post helpful.
You may have noticed that I have made very little knitting progress lately. The reason is that I was on the academic job market this year, looking for a job as a professor of biochemistry. For anyone who is not familiar with the process, it involves putting together a flawless multi-component application that is personalized to each job, sending it to many colleges and universities, and then waiting to see if you get an interview. Preparation for interviews requires many hours of research about the institution and the 30+ people you will meet with over two days, as well as preparing a presentation about your research. This is all extremely time consuming, and could easily be a full-time job for 4-5 months. It is also extremely stressful. Unlike the job market in other industries, there is only one time per year that you can apply. If none of your applications are successful, you need to wait a full year to try again. It is also very competitive. There are typically at least 250 applications for each position. These are facts that every graduate student should know before they begin their first year. If I had known, I may not have decided to finish my degree.
I decided a long time ago that I wanted to be a professor at a small liberal arts college. Because of this, I decided not to do a traditional postdoc. Instead, I stayed in the lab where I did my PhD for an extra year to finish up my project and apply for jobs. I applied for relatively few positions (I applied for 7 jobs while everyone else I know who was on the job market applied for 30-40 positions). Looking back on the process, I would have applied for even fewer positions. I now realize that it is all about fit, and any one individual only fits in a few of the available jobs.
I feel very fortunate that I am now finished with the process. I was offered a tenure-track position at St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY and I have decided to accept their offer. This job seems like a perfect fit. They even made a job for my husband. The only problem is that it is in a VERY rural location. It will be quite an adjustment after living in the Boston area for the past 6 years. But at least housing is cheap! Do any of you live in the Canton area?
The adventure of moving will begin soon, but I'll hopefully have a little bit of free time first.