My colleagues in the US speak each year for months about job interviews, smokers, syllabi and teaching-related stuff to show at the interviews. Since most of the readers and authors of this blog are active in the US, you might wonder about what happens in Europe.
Well, nothing like that.
1. Philosophy is taught in many countries at the high school (typically to boys and girls aged 16 to 18), but if you choose to teach at the high school level, your post-PhD career will have little or no impact on it and you will probably aim at that straight after your PhD.
2. There are no (as far as I know) colleges of liberal arts (or other SLACs) in Europe, so that basically you cannot specialise primarily on teaching and hope to find a job through that (unless you want to find a job in a high school, but then see 1.)
3. Thus, research is the thing you have to specialise on. This also means that there are (as far as I can see) way more research-positions if compared to the situation in the US.
4. In several (but not all) European countries, from Germany to Poland, from France to Italy and so on, after one PhD one has still something to reach, i.e., the venia docendi or Habilitation. Without that, one cannot become a professor (although one might well be a lecturer). This means that there is still one book (cumulative habilitations are possible but usually looked upon with suspicion, at least in the fields I am more familiar with) one needs to write and have evaluated.
5. Thus, typically, after a PhD one either starts working in someone else's project or one is able to have her own project financed. Post-Doc positions are the norm, not the exception, whereas professors who are younger than 40 are a very unusual exception (due to 4).
In case you love research and are now considering moving to Europe, please remember the following:
Just like US-scholars waste much time sending cvs, writing cover letters and the like, we waste (even more?) time writing applications for projects. Applications have almost become a genre in its own right. And, if you liked Marcus' trilemma, consider mine: my current project (of which I am the principal and only investigator) will only be funded until the end of September 2014. Thus, I have already started writing new applications. And I wonder:
a) shall I aim high (e.g., a European ERC project) and risk a lot (3-4% acceptance rate)?
b) shall I aim low (e.g., submitting a project to the FWF, which is the funding body I know better and which has an acceptance rate around 30%)?
c) shall I do both (which means: not doing anything else but writing projects)?
Suggestions, questions and general comments are welcome!