Is anyone else starting to feel discouraged about this year's job market and the outcome of their searches? I am wondering if this is the normal feeling among those who are in the same boat.
Date: 04 Feb 2010 16:00
Number of posts: 21
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I've found out that all the places to which I applied have already conducted or scheduled their interviews, so my chances of getting a faculty job this year are zero. Am I discouraged? Maybe a bit… but I knew from the outset that the job market would be sub-par this year, so I didn't approach it with high expectations. Thankfully, I'm able to stay in my current postdoc position for another year (but probably not longer than that), so I'm hoping things are better in the fall. All I can do now is try to churn out more publications before the next cycle.
I'm trying to keep my spirits up, but it's hard. Especially since this was my second shot on the job market. What I find discouraging is that even if the market is better next year (i.e., more positions in my area), given all the people who weren't able to get jobs this year or last year, plus all the new people coming on the job market, it's still going to be really tough :(
It is discouraging. One thing I found helpful was getting feedback. Last year I had one interview and they hired someone else. Afterwards the SC chair offered to provide me some feedback about my interview. It was INVALUABLE to hear what he had to say. I was doing something I had no idea I was doing that was negatively impacting their perception of me. I fixed it for this year and had better luck. So, I encourage you to ask for feedback.
Look at the bright side. Next year we will all have more experience, more publications, more impressive CV, and all the first timers will complain why they are not invited for interviews, while we will update this site with interview invitations and acceptance of TT positions.
Don't be discouraged. I sat on 2 search committees this year. We were flooded with applications such that our top 10 candidates had nearly as many pubs on average as our tenured faculty. We actually managed to make multiple hires from this group. It's just a nightmare for candidates this year. It won't stay like this forever. You just have to be patient while the competition thins out over the next couple years.
I wish that I could afford to be patient and just wait out this job market, but I am already in my 3rd year as a post-doc and I am not sure I can stay much longer. Many of my peers are in similar situations and have or are thinking of leaving academia for greener pastures. It is a shame that it has come to that - really good scientists are leaving the field. There are no jobs.
It is funny. One of my rejection letters stated:" …when the economy frees up a bit you will be in a great position to land a great position." The questions is: what if we substitute "when" with "if" ? What if the "economy does not free up a bit"? But still, good luck to everyone here.
I'm pretty much in the same boat as anon76. Sure, the job market might get better in 2-3 years, but for people like us who are nearing the ends of our postdocs, it is difficult to play the waiting game. If I don't get a faculty position next year, I'll either have to find a second postdoc or leave academia.
I can't believe the question is who is 'starting' to be discouraged. I'm TOTALLY discouraged and disappointed, as are all of my close colleagues (and I got two R1 offers, which will require my sustained 60-70 hour work weeks).
So many of my good friends are brilliant but cannot get a TT job… They are thinking of adjunct spots or getting another post-doc. Those of us with jobs work like dogs. What the hell is that? I feel like we all got lied to (and USED) in grad school. Folks must have known that only the top 10-20% of applicants would get TT jobs (even in good times). How am I supposed to mentor a Ph.D. student in good conscience? I mean, do I need to say, probably you won't get a TT job… maybe you should think about medicine or engineering—where they actually NEED people. It is just so damn sad.
Don't you think that many people here actually want to work 60-80 hours per week? They would actually kill for that TT position where they have to work 80 hours per week:) It seems that psychology people-no offense to other fields- are extremely hardworking and dedicated people, and I truly wish that more than 10-20% of them could get TT jobs.
Hi anon (guest)— actually, I know this will sound harsh, but in all honesty most folks aren't willing to work 80 hour weeks (and I don't think they should!). Thus, as I've been doing 60-70 for 7 years running, today I'm slightly ahead and so I'm in that narrow 10% margin who get R1 jobs (and grants).
Of course, when it comes to landing the job a large part is still luck (e.g., did you get the right mentor, are they famous, did you get fair reviewers, etc.). Still, my feeling is that 80 hours per week (or 65 a week which is the average for most workaholics I know- i.e., 10 a day plus a half day sunday) is just A LOT more than anyone prepared me for. Did anyone ever tell you that if you only worked 10 hours a day 6 days a week it wouldn't be enough?
A few of my friends worked about the same hours as me but are now out of luck or have already left academia. People are literally missing their kid's childhoods just to stay competitive. It's sad. It's not a very healthy system. I mean, how many folks will have sacrificed so much just to write one more paper that only 8 people will read, about something that most of the time borders on trivial? It's great to have a passion for one's job but what I see is a system leaves a lot of folks out in the cold. It's discouraging.
I think I was pretty aware of the fact that academia is a career (especially early) that requires a lot of work. But there are a lot of upsides. New lawyers are working 80 hours a week but do they have the option of working in their PJs half the time, or taking off a whole morning? (Ok maybe you make up for it on the weekend - but you have the flexibility to decide.)
I second dev08. I know the market is flooded this year and will probably be flooded next year as well. After having an interview last year, I had some hope/expectation that I would be selected for at least one interview. I am also discouraged by keeping up with publications and building an impressive vita. I have been trying to get the same paper accepted on two rounds of the job market, and it looks like it will be a third. There's no doubt that getting started in this field is tough, and as you all know, after so many years of graduate school/post-doc, we want to find a job and start our own careers!
Most economic forecasts suggest that university hiring will not return to previous levels for at least 5-6 years. Even then, hiring will probably never be what it once was, with the decades-long shift away from TT positions and toward temporary teaching posts continuing through and being amplified by current economic conditions.
I hate to say it, but if you couldn't find a job this year, you may be wasting time continuing with postdocs, unless you're onto something really hot in your studies and think you'll have a good chance of becoming a truly prominent researcher within the next couple of years. As others have said, the backlog of competitive job candidates is growing with every passing year, and these candidates, along with today's new crop of Ph.D. students, are working extremely hard right now, with the knowledge of what the job market has become.
Anon- Its sounds like you got a job this year. Postdocs are not a waste of time… What's the alternative? I have also applied to research jobs outside of academia, and there is not much out there either. Don't give up folks… Getting the TT job today is like grant-writing, its like getting the RO1. You may have to submit that application over and over. This field is about persistence. I also know someone who had no interviews 2 years ago and several last year, when things were at the worst. Things can change. But, don't expect to have a life until you sign that contract.
I got a job three years ago, actually, and I know I wouldn't stand a chance on the current market! :-)
If you finding psychology research to be an absolute calling in your life, then yes, I agree with your assessment—eventually, after *some* number of years, a candidate who's willing to keep moving around to different postdocs and teaching posts will eventually find a job at *some* college. I just think that people who have any other career interests might want to pursue them if they find the academic job market to be impossible in the current economy, because there's a high likelihood that after doing, say, a 3-year postdoc, getting a TT job will be no easier than it is today for them. Hiring is slow in other industries as well, but you don't typically have 100+ applicants for each job opening elsewhere.
Hey all, Another thing to consider is the visiting professor gig. I spent three years doing this. The pay is good, you get full benefits, a sense of belonging in the department, access to research space etc - its much better than the adjuncting option. I finally landed a t/t job at a teaching-focused place, and they were attracted to that previous experience. Yes, I spent four years on the market, but they were not horrible years…
I most likely will not go on the TT market again. I spent years as a RA getting prepared for grad school, then years and years working extremely hard in grad school, then more time in a post-doc. I've been publishing, writing and receiving grants, and teaching… all in high quality places with great people. I'm pretty good at what I do… but at this point I am just getting frustrated and I will likely opt to go another route. This is, in part, a reflection of the job market and just plain old bad timing/luck, but it is also a reflection of a field that is already asking an awful lot of people… and continually asking more and more. I am a hard worker - I enjoy it - but there has to be some balance, and at this point I am not sure I have the drive to succeed in a TT position.
I know how yetanotheranon feels. I do hope you get a shot at a TT job though. I have friends who struggled to get good TT jobs these last few years and when I asked how they felt during the job search process, they expressed that they were discouraged and were beginning to question their desire for a TT job. In the end, both received great offers and both LOVE their jobs! I think these are common emotions that we all experience during this process - I know that I am sickened by the rejection letters I receive every other day (FYI: I applied to 85 jobs, so I will no doubt get 84 rejections in the end). But, being an academic means brushing off the rejections and negativity and trying to move forward with an optimistic view. However, I too am being realistic about the current economic climate, the shortage of jobs, and the abundance of good candidates. I know that if I do not secure a TT job this year, I too will likely look elsewhere (i.e., outside academia) for something (I just started my 3rd year as a postdoc).