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« Mid-career reflections - part 1: doubts about some conventional wisdom | Main | Mid-career reflections - part 2: life and luck »

06/06/2018

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Anthony Fernandez

It's important to note that "taking a break" and "not taking a break" aren't the only two options. There's a huge difference between (a) applying to every job you could conceivably fit because you have nothing lined up for next year and (b) applying selectively to jobs you'd really love (and having the time to put a lot of care and energy into these applications). A two-year postdoc affords you the luxury of option (b). I recommend you take advantage of it—because next year you're back to option (a). I was in the same position as the commenter above. I applied to a small fraction of the number of jobs I applied to in the previous cycle, but only to jobs I really wanted—and I put a lot of time into each application. In my case, it made all the difference.

Another thing to keep in mind is this: Going on a market with a renewing position is a completely different (and considerably less overwhelming) experience. The stakes aren't so high (if you don't get the offer, you're still employed) and, since you're applying only to TTs, the application season effectively ends by December (with a few ads possibly showing up after that).

Michel

I had a 2-year postdoc starting last year, and like the OP I work in what was described above as a "micro-sub-field" (but it's only "micro" relative to the number of jobs, not to the number of people working in it!). I took last year "off" and applied to just a handful of TT jobs, rather than the 100 or so I would apply to before landing the postdoc.

It's worth it. You're not losing anything at all by applying selectively that year, and it feels glorious. But *do* apply to jobs you really want, or which are advertising for your micro-sub-field. It'd be silly not to do that.

I didn't have significantly more success (1 interview for 6 jobs, rather than the usual 0-1 for 100+), but it was a big morale-booster.

Amanda

I agree you should apply selectively. If there are a few jobs that are a perfect fit, it would be silly not to try (assuming you still want a career in philosophy). And because you have a 2 year post-doc, try not to get stressed about it. No harm, no foul.

I didn't exactly take a year off. But my first year when I was ABD I applied very selectively, mostly because I wasn't sure how bad I wanted a philosophy job. By the end of the job season my mind was changed, and I regretted not applying more widely. But...things worked out in the end, so, idk.

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