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« Philosophical Research after the Virus (guest post by Eric Steinhart) | Main | Time between PhD and getting paid? »

03/18/2020

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PhDsoon

I'll soon get my PhD and some of my senior coworkers have not found a postdoc yet, although they graduated quite a while ago. This raised the question, how long does it usually take between handing in your dissertation or getting your degree, and actually getting your first paycheck as a postdoc?

I realize that this depends on a lot of factors, but a rough average or some experiences would be great so as to not have an unrealistic idea.

StillAPhDstudent

Related to the question above is my question.

What is the average time for people who just got their doctorate to find a postdoc? Do I have to expect to be between PhD and postdoc for months (or possibly over a year)?
If so, how do people cover their costs? Simply resorting to work outside academia, or is it usual to work as e.g. a tutor?

Ben

I've noticed that people sometimes omit to indicate that a publication was a discussion note/reply, on their CVs. This strikes me as at least slightly deceptive. Do readers share this impression? Impressive though an discussion piece in Mind or Ethics is, the designation 'original article' (along with a difference in reviewing policies) suggests that we recognize there to be a meaningful difference in weight between ('original') articles and discussion pieces/replies. One can of course find out whether some listed publication was a discussion piece, but one worry is that, when CVs are compared at a distance, philosophers being transparent (in designating a reply as such) may be disadvantaging themselves via their transparency. (Of course, when CVs are compared at a closer distance, the fact that a reply is not indicated as such might count as a strike against the 'non-transparent' philosophers.) Anyway, I'd be interested to hear whether others share my reaction, and think that the norm ought to be to list replies/discussion notes as such, at least when their titles don't make this fact obvious.

you thought the job market was bad before?

I would appreciate a discussion on what is happening to ongoing job searches in light of the COVID-19 crisis. While some searches might be able to switch to Zoom/Skype interviews, I have heard of searches are getting cancelled outright, and others are being placed on hold until the crisis clears up (whenever that will be). I can also imagine that for some searches that do eventually resume, the start dates for the positions might be significantly delayed. From a candidate's perspective this adds several additional layers of uncertainty to an already uncertain process, and that might lead to different kinds of decision-making for them (e.g. prioritizing short-term employment certainty over long-term career prospects). It would be informative to hear from both search committee members and job candidates on how they are dealing with this situation.

Prosphd

I’m not sure that there’s anything anyone here can say to help, but I am a prospective Ph. D student in the process of picking my program, but COVID has made any visits impossible. Obviously, I’ve tried Skyping/phoning various students and professors in the departments I’m thinking of choosing, but it simply doesn’t feel like I’m getting the same wealth of information I would have with an in-person visit. Is there any fix for this?

Amanda

So several schools have stopped their searches in the late stages of hiring because of COVID-19. It seems likely that next year's job market will be significantly worse than prior years, and we all know, prior years are already bad. But at my grad PhD program this year, applications were up! I heard from others that said the same, or at least that their applications were stable. Is COVID-19 going to force us to do anything about the ever escalating problem concerning the number of qualified candidates and the number of jobs? Should we do something? If so, what? I am someone in a pretty privileged position, but I don't think anyone should be too confident these days. I am really worried about how this health crisis could impact philosophy and higher education economically, especially at smaller liberal arts schools with less money. I'm not at one of those, but if a school or department closes anywhere, it has ramifications for the entire profession.

anon

What are the chances university admin. could use the current crisis to fire or not renew contingent faculty contracts?

Amanda

anon: very high. I guarantee a lot of it will happen. I would be highly surprised if not more than a few *tenure track* assistant professors were let go. A number of universities will close, and of course, faculty are gone then. The SF art institute is folding.

D


Given the global circumstances at the moment, this may be an ill-timed inquiry for a number of reasons. (Who knows how the fall-out from the pandemic will affect these programs.) But I’ll pose the question nonetheless. I’m curious about the kinds of post doc funding made available by grant agencies like the early career funding available through the Humboldt Foundation, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, Leverhulme Trust, and such. Would anybody be willing to provide guidance as to how one might go about obtaining such funding? I don’t mean just submitting the applications, which I take to be pretty straight forward (aside from the process of making one’s research appealing to the evaluators for such agencies). Some of these seem to grant postdoc funding for one’s individual projects at a host institution, where the host institution itself isn’t financially on the hook the person. How does one go about connecting with a desired host institution or faculty member at such a host institution? Is it all a matter of one’s antecedent connections? Is it ever acceptable to write a such a faculty member, in effect, saying “I’m interested in this project you’re working on, and it relates to my work like so. Would you be willing to sponsor my application to X?” Is there any other practical wisdom worth knowing about how to obtain such a postdoc? Perhaps this is obvious to job market candidates from Europe, but I'm a US grad, and this info seems harder to come by.

Euro

D
I can say a bit about Marie Curie. They are very competitive, and more universities are spending money running workshops to help people write strong applications. You really need to have your research project connect tightly with a faculty member sponsor. So, clearly, it is best if you have already connected with the person, not only corresponding with them, but actually engaging with their research. I have sponsored two applicants (who did not get them ... which is not a surprise, given how competitive they are). But the evaluation reports explicitly talked about me, the sponsor, in the evaluation. (Incidentally, I was not the weak link). But they are not the sort of thing you just apply for. You need to have connected with your sponsor, and they need to support your project. As you note, universities love them because you essentially pay your own way. These sorts of grant schemes are common in Europe.

D

Euro: Thank you for your input, that was very helpful. I assume that the answer would be more or less similar for other grants. You indicate “these sorts of grant schemes are common in Europe”. Are there a bunch of other postdoc opportunities with this kind of grant scheme besides the ones I listed in my OP?

Euro

D:
In most of northern-western Europe (Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Scandinavia, Finland), the national funding bodies (and sometimes private foundations) support faculty research. One common form of support is to get money to support a project, which allows one to hire a post-doc or two (or more). The post-doc is tied to a very specific project, and is expected to work on it (though they can often spend some time on other research as well). These post docs are advertised like jobs (because they are jobs, and in many cases they pay well). But to be competitive you need to actually work on the topic of the post doc project. Here is where stretching things just does not work - I have seen applications that try. The most competitive candidates are already working on the topic, and have probably already read the supervisors work.

N

This may be a silly question, but I've been wondering recently if there have ever been postdoc or other positions that focus on teaching, SoLT and philosophy? I want to shift more towards a teaching focus after completing my PhD, but I still feel like I need more time to devote to learning about theories of teaching and pedagogy. Does anyone have advice for shifting to focus more on teaching and pedagogy, after doing a PhD in philosophy? I think I'm on a good start, but could use some advice!

reader

How much pleasure reading do you all do? I'm not necessarily talking non-philosophy. Non-philosophy can be work-related and philosophy can be for pleasure (not related to any project and not aimed at coming up with new projects or for improving teaching).

I ask because so many of my friends in philosophy barely ever read outside of work (sometimes they haven't read a novel in years). I'd say I read about 20-30 books a year for pleasure. Mostly novels, but some history and science mixed in, maybe a philosophy book or two. I'm on the TT at a SLAC and tenure is a lock, but it's not that much more compared to when I was a grad student (maybe 10-15 a year then).

I'm not being judgmental, or at least not trying to, but I'm genuinely curious

Reading

Reader
Like you, I still enjoy reading. I do not have a good estimate of how much I read. Like you, I read widely. I enjoy history, art, literature, history of science, biography. And I even enjoy rereading books from the past - that is, books I have read before. I also read parts of books ... and then pick them up later, to finish them. To add to it all, I am learning a new language and I now read books (though, quite basic) in that language as well.
Keep reading ... I have heard that heaven is like a library

Reading

Reader
Like you, I still enjoy reading. I do not have a good estimate of how much I read. Like you, I read widely. I enjoy history, art, literature, history of science, biography. And I even enjoy rereading books from the past - that is, books I have read before. I also read parts of books ... and then pick them up later, to finish them. To add to it all, I am learning a new language and I now read books (though, quite basic) in that language as well.
Keep reading ... I have heard that heaven is like a library

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