Hi All - I was just informed that I am a "finalist" at one search, and that the next step is for the SC to speak with my current supervisor, i.e., my current Department Chair. I am in a tenure-track position, and will stay on in the Dept. if the present job search does not work out. The problem is that my current institution does not know that I am on the job market, and I am hesitant to disclose this to them unless I have a job offer in hand. Any suggestions on how I might navigate this situation? Thanks!
Date: 31 Jan 2013 08:31
Number of posts: 12
RSS: New posts
I would tell them what your concerns are and ask if there is an alternative reference that can be used (like your previous mentor or Postdoc advisor). This has to be something that comes up on occasion.
A lesson to all is that, no matter how hard you try, someone at your current institution will always find out that you are on the market. It doesn't mean you have to tell people ahead of time, but be prepared for situations like this. Some schools still list job candidates on their dept websites, and even if not, someone is bound to notice if you end up cancelling class for no reason or skipping a faculty meeting.
I agree with Worried: ask if there is an alternative and explain you are not afraid of what they will say about you, rather they simply don't know and you'd rather not cause bad blood if you don't get an offer. Another suggestion if they won't accept talking to your advisor is a senior person in your current dept who is not the chair and who likes you and can keep a secret, but that's getting risky. Even better might be someone from your dept who either recently left or was recently on the market but ended up staying. They'll be less likely to judge you for it. If you go with the chair, go talk to your chair first and explain the situation and expect them to ask why you're on the market. It's a tough situation Anonny, good luck!
Thanks for your suggestions, Worried and Anonbanon.
I have emailed the SC Chair and apprised them of the situation. I have also asked if they might consider speaking to a former Chair at my previous employer instead. If not, I will have to speak to my current Department Chair and get back to them (the SC).
Let's see what the SC says!
Original poster: Out of curiosity, have you already interviewed and do they want to talk to your chair before proceeding further, or is all of this pre-campus interview?
i'm not the original poster, but a SC asked to contact my references post-campus interview. i'm also currently in a TT job, but had already alerted my chair and department, so i didn't have to finagle alternative references… but the SC did ask prior to contacting b/c they are understanding of these exact situations.
dualcareer - when did you notify your chair? When you went on the market, or only after you had (phone or campus) interviewed? How did s/he take it? Just curious because I'm on the market, and thinking about dealing with this issue causes me great anxiety!
In my case, this was a pre-campus visit call. The SC agreed to speak with my former Chair, which was great!
Jobseeker - I did tell my current Department Chair recently that I am on the job market. I was planning to disclose this only after getting a job offer, but I decided to do so earlier, as I would have to miss classes to interview! The Dept. Chair took it pretty well, and there doesn't appear to be much uncomfortable unpleasantness (the Chair was pretty understanding about my having to miss classes, faculty meetings etc.).
I told my Chair prior to the semester because I decided that it would be appropriate to have a letter from her (4 years in my current position with her as chair for all of them + she'd observed my teaching). She understood that it was necessary b/c my partner would be completing his PhD at the end of the academic year and we'd both be jointly going on the market (while also exploring job options for him at my home campus). She was sad to hear it, but understood the situation and offered her support with writing a letter.My department is very gossipy generally, so I felt that at some point I'd need to tell the whole department — I waited until our second faculty meeting of the year to bring it up, again citing the dual career problem. It's been difficult because my colleagues now feel comfortable to constantly ask me for updates—which seems intrusive to me (when I have concrete offers/updates, i'll tell the department as soon as I know them, but until then, it's my business). I've gotten a lot of "we're happy you're getting interviews, but we hope you don't get offers." :
I am currently in my fourth year at a TT position, and I am looking for a new post. I decided to ask my current department chair, as well as two of my colleagues to write reference letters. After all, my former mentors really don't know me well at this point. I wasn't sure how my colleagues would take it, but they were all great. None of them seemed off-put by it, and all have been very agreeable.
My situation may be comparable to dualcareer, in that my spouse's job situation is one of the motivating factors for us leaving (location is another since we have a new baby and need to be nearer to family). I suspect that the 'spouse excuse' is a good one to have - helps offset any hurt feelings about a negative critique of the department.
That said, so far I haven't had any job offers, and at this late date, it seems unlikely that I will get one. So, I will be on the market once again in the fall. I hope that my colleagues will continue to be kind and generous. If the next year doesn't produce anything, I may be stuck going up for tenure, and I don't know how my lack of commitment might play out in the tenure review process.