Friday, February 17, 2006

Moving On

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.

12 Comments:

At 4:15 PM, Anonymous Janet said...

Wow, I am totally astounded and very impressed! Congratulations. You sound very sure of your decision and that always means it will work out beautifully. Also, thank you so much for offering the lovely hat pattern. I am printing it out for my personal use. I've been wanting to knit with Satakieli for quite a while, so it's a perfect project for me.

 
At 4:15 PM, Anonymous eli said...

Congratulations! My partner is going through the interview process now (his next interview is in London in the beginning of March). I'm fairly confident in my current decision not to remain in academia. It must feel so good, to have that whole process behind you!

 
At 5:51 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Congratulations on the job. It sounds like a great position. I live in a rural area (although Wyoming is very different from New York state) and I've learned that the thing I miss the most is shopping. But, the internet has filled a large chunk of that - blogging for my knitting fix and shopping on-line for the shopping fix. How far away will you be from a city? We're about 2 1/2 hours from Denver, which is a good place to visit every once in awhile for our city fix. And then it's back to the country. Good luck on the move and finding the perfect house.

 
At 6:05 PM, Anonymous diana said...

Emily, hooray! Congratulations on the new position! I'm glad a happy decision was finally reached.

 
At 10:26 PM, Blogger Jofrog said...

Wow Emily! That's GREAT news! Of course we'll miss you, but so so so great that you were offered this position. I didn't expect your story to end that way when I started reading this post. I'm really super excited for you!

 
At 7:48 AM, Blogger Reese said...

It was nice meeting you yesterday and seeing your knitting! Thanks for writing about your life and not about knitting. I so enjoy reading about the other aspects of people's lives.

Congrats on your new position. You will go through withdrawal when you move to the country, but you will find other things to do out there. Plus, you can find a much nicer house there than here for the same amount of money.

 
At 9:52 AM, Blogger Martita said...

Congratulations!! It is crazily competitive and you should be very, very proud to have gotten such a great position.

 
At 11:16 AM, Anonymous carrie said...

congratulations Emily! That's truly an amazing achievement, and it is fantastic that they are willing to accomodate your husband too. Sounds great! We will miss you. As for the rural lifestyle, well, my personal feeling has always been lead me to it....

 
At 11:43 AM, Blogger Jennifer said...

That's wonderful news! Congratulations! I'm sure you'll adjust well to rural living. I just hope there is a local yarn shop for you!

 
At 12:51 AM, Blogger Margot said...

Congrats on the new job!

Boston to Canton will be quite a transition. But perhaps not as much as you think. Although rural, the 4 colleges/universities in Potsdam/Canton make the area richer and livelier than the population data would imply. Plus Montreal isn't all that far away.

The Komi sweater is coming along nicely; I am anxious to see it grow.

 
At 2:41 AM, Blogger Marie said...

Congrats! I'm a graduate student in molecular biology and it is good to hear of someone's experience in landing a faculty position at a liberal arts college rather than a large research-oriented institution. This is something that I have been thinking of striving for as well. Will you continue to do your own research at St. Lawrence or will you mostly be teaching?
Best of luck!

 
At 9:39 PM, Anonymous Bookish Wendy said...

I grew up in upstate NY (Rochester.) I think you'll really love it there. It's hard not too. The only downside is the weather. However, the positives far out weigh that. Good luck!!!!

 

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