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some insight

Here is a lesson:
It is very difficult to "move up" once you secure a tenure track job. Indeed, a sociological study I read noted that where an academic is 10 years after graduating with a PhD is generally where they will be the rest of their academic career. If you are at an R1, then you are mostly likely to be at one throughout your career; if you are at a four year college at year 10, then you are most likely to stay there or move to another four year college.


Thank you for this post, Trevor!

For context, I’ve been on the job market for the last 3 years and reading this was both sobering and reassuring. I have found that much of the job market narrative is dominated by stories of “stars” who got multiple good job offers right out of the gate, including some of the other guest posts on this blog that offer job market advice that reeks of survivorship bias as candidates who were extraordinarily lucky. That experience is nowhere near the norm, and highlighting it makes it difficult to know what the average experience of the market is like. I know now that Trevor’s story is much closer to the reality for most applicants who nevertheless end up with a job, but the less we share these stories, the more bound up in shame, misery, and disappointment it is to need more than one or two shots at the job market to land something, especially when one is no longer ABD.

I would love to see a series on this blog where philosophers who didn’t get a job while ABD but eventually ended up with a permanent or long-term academic job within the last few years share what their experience was like. I think this would go a long way towards destigmatizing that experience and moving the spotlight away from the extremely few people who are lucky enough to not need to go on the job market more than once or twice. I know I felt a lot of sadness over the last few years, and had I read more reflections like Trevor’s, I might have felt less lonely.


My own search finally concluded in a (hopefully) permanent job after 6 years on the market, and a little more than 400 applications. Based on that (similar) experience, I think all the points made here are really apt. Interviews are grueling. Though I will say that I found flyouts nerve-wracking, difficult, and exhausting, more so than Trevor suggests. Perhaps oddly, I found *virtual* campus visits to be at least as bad, sometimes worse, than the in-person kind.

I was ultimately successful because I moved into research into a hot applied ethics field. In this last year, I had very few interviews based on my old research. Most were positions with an AOS in my new applied ethics work.

interview hater

!00% agree with points 4 and 5 about interviews (which is why I much prefer job searches that skip them).

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