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08/02/2022

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Too late

Don't you mean 23-24?

Just in time

@Too late. This is 2022. The cycle runs from fall 2022-spring/early summer 2023. Like the academic year. It isn't based on when you start the position but when you struggle through the market.

MarketMail

Maybe worth a separate thread, but I'm wondering if anyone has had success using MargyMail for their letters of recommendation? See post here: https://dailynous.com/2017/09/26/free-automated-recommendation-service-now-available/

I know some departments have manual, in-house services like this, but if this software has been working for people it would be good to know and good to reduce efforts spent on sending letters more broadly.

Anon

Question about AOS:

There are a growing number of people working at the intersection between M&E and social/political philosophy. E.g., feminist epistemology, metaphysics of race or gender, pragmatics of subordinating speech, implicit bias, etc.

I'm in this category and can never quite get a feel for whether it would be appropriate for me to apply to a job that asks for AOS: social/political. Like many people working in these intersectional categories, my training has primarily been in M&E, though my research applies that training to social/political issues. Is that enough, or are committees generally looking for someone with a more traditional training in value theory, and who could teach a class on, e.g., Rawls?

Assistant Prof

Anon: You never know what search committees are looking for, so I would say apply widely! There's very little marginal cost associated with a few extra applications, and the possible benefit is enormous.

Michel

Anon: I agree with Assistant Prof: just apply, and let _them_ weed you out.

That said, if you know you're going to be applying for social/political jobs, you should aim, over time, to cultivate the kind of profile that will be attractive for such a job. So, over time, you'll want to put together some syllabi for a few courses which are squarely on-topic (such as that class on Rawls), and so on.

In other words, your AOS fits more or less well, but if you're planning to target those jobs, try to work up an AOC that's clearly relevant. That way, you leave no doubt that you're a fit.

How About Now?

My memory fails me: when are most jobs advertised? Early to mid-September? Late-september to early-October? I seem to recall there being a fair number of posts in August itself but haven't seen as many as I expected.

Marcus Arvan

@How About Now: It's actually really easy to find this out on PhilJobs. You just need to search postings for each year during the month of August.

I just did some searches just now and here's what I got for jobs posted between August 1-August 20 for each of the past 5 years:

2022: 34 ads
2021: 28
2020: 14
2019: 22
2017: 20

So actually, this year seems to be stunningly good so far, at least comparatively--easily the best year in the past 5 years.

My sense is that job ads tend to trickle out in August but then pick up in a big way in September and October!

How About Now?

Thanks @Marcus!

Unrelated follow-up: I'm a bit frustrated by job posts that do not say anything about teaching load. For me, that is a very significant factor in deciding whether to apply to a job, and it also seems like a very relevant feature of the job itself. This is not prevalent, in my experience, in ads for post-docs, lecturer positions, or even VAPs. Instead, where I've seen it the most is in TT ads.

Is there some motivation for those posting a TT ad to not list specific teaching requirements? I always make an adverse inference when no such information is provided--that is, if nothing is said, the teaching load is pretty significant. Do those putting out ads figure that even the negative inference of individuals like me may be better than how things actually are?

I'd really like to know more about this because, from my limited experience and perspective, it's a practice that is hard to justify to those seeking jobs.

Anders

Hello,

My name is Anders and I'm posting on behalf of the Center for AI Safety, We're running a fellowship program for philosophers interested in working on conceptual problems in AI safety, and we wanted to invite users of The Philosophers' Coccoon to apply!

You can find out more about our program here: https://philosophy.safe.ai/

Curious

I am not on the market this year, but I have a question about future ads. I have sometimes heard people talk about "x job" before an official post has even gone up because it is somehow known or expected that there will be a hiring line created at x school. My question is, without being too ingrained in any back channels/gossip rings, is there any way to know what jobs might be coming up in future hiring cycles in a particular area? Or, is this specialized knowledge restricted to the privileged few?

UK Postdoc

@Curious I am not sure if there are any 'semi-official' channels for this, like a website were these jobs are listed, but I think this is basically what your network is for. Ask your supervisor, people you've met at conferences, people you know at departments where you'd like to work.

You call this 'back channels/gossip', but in the non-academic world, it's totally normal to 'put feelers out' and often people will respond to say 'hey, we have a position coming up, keep it in mind if you're still interested'. Is this unfair? I don't think so, since the jobs in question are still listed eventually and I don't think it affords applicants that much advantage to know about it a few months earlier.

anon

Curious, my sense is basically no, but that this sort of knowledge comes along relatively rarely and there's no real sense in which it offers someone a benefit.

For instance, suppose a school has a collective agreement / other understanding with leadership which specifies that a search will be funded in area X as soon as a professor in area X retires (it does happen sometimes!). This means that a search almost certainly follows a retirement (exceptions might include: the department is very busy for a year and needs to delay). And maybe this is common knowledge amongst everyone in the city where the school is located, because these people all talk to each other.

So some local people will have heard about the retirement, search approval, and upcoming ad in area X, and they may have in turn told their social networks about the ad, etc. But at the end of the day, the ad is a normal philosophy job ad that gets posted for a good stretch of time, and everyone who visits PhilJobs gets an opportunity to apply. Candidates interested in the ad presumably were preparing their materials long ago, because candidates are almost always interested in applying for more than one job.

But if you really want to pick up lots of hints like this early (due to retirements as well as other processes), I guess just follow a lot of people on Twitter/Facebook.

ecr

@Curious, basically what everyone else said seems right but sometimes people also simply guess that a line is opening up at a certain department in the near future if they know someone left that department recently (e.g. retirement as someone else mentioned, but also lateral moves within the last few years). No guarantees that the rank/AOS for the search will match the departure though.

A job seeker

Any thoughts on just how important it is to submit an accessible writing sample? My best work is very formal/technical, and while I've heard it said that writing samples should be accessible to everyone (e.g. not just people familiar with the intricacies of formal logic), it feels wrong to use a paper that seems significantly worse than my best work. Can't shake it.

Also wondering if the rule here should vary by institution.

Oh No

Is it just me, or are there far fewer jobs at this point in the cycle than there were last cycle? I'm getting scared!

on the tt

@Curious: just to second what ecr said, a natural thing to do is ask someone who might know (e.g. someone at the same institution) if there will be an opening to replace someone who recently left. Obviously you should be somewhat circumspect about this and make an effort not to appear crass, but I think people in the profession generally do realise that this is crucial information for junior people, and will not take it amiss if you ask. They may not be able to say anything helpful, of course. But it is often worth asking.

(There is sometimes an inverse to this: a job posting in a particular area at a particular institution can lead people to wonder if the specialist in that area at that institution is leaving, and the institution is hiring their replacement…)

Oh No x2

I would like to second Oh No's worries about job postings to date. I realize the total number of postings is apparently higher than the past few years, but it sure does feel like the number of tt jobs is lower... Any thoughts on why that might be?

not on the market

PhilJobs shows about 30 tt jobs since August 29.

I'm not sure what "feels like" means, so I thought the number might be helpful.

AOS watcher

I wonder how much of the impression that there are not many TT jobs is driven by the AOSes in the ads. This seems like a big year for social / political, and a particularly bad year for LEMM. But I haven't crunched the numbers to verify my hunch.

(And personally, I suspect many places that would hire a metaphysician would be especially interested in someone doing social metaphysics.)

Marcus Arvan

Hey 'Oh No' (and others): If one does a PhilJobs search for 'junior faculty' jobs that are 'TT or similar' from Aug 1st - September 20th (today) for the past series of years, we get:

2022: 51 job ads
2021: 51 job ads
2020: 11
2019: 60
2018: 78
2017: 54
2016: 66

So, it indeed does appear not to be a great year for TT jobs so far, though perhaps not catastrophic.

However, if we look just from Aug 29th - Sept 20th, we get:

2022: 34 'TT or similar' junior job ads
2021: 33
2020: 10
2019: 45
2018: 56
2017: 39
2016: 47

So, here again, things indeed don't look very good on the whole (indeed, even a bit worse), even setting aside AOS differences.

What explains these differences, particularly given that (at least as I reported last month) the overall # of ads this year seems pretty good?

Two possibilities stand out:

(1) It could be a statistical anomaly, as it's still early in the job season--and it could well be that a lot more TT jobs will be advertised.

(2) Institutions are doing more non-TT hires, such as postdocs, VAPs, and 'Teaching Professor' positions (which may be permanent but not tenurable).

My money is on explanation 2, as this seems to me (for better or worse) to be a trend at colleges and universities these days. But I don't know for sure, and plan to keep an eye on things here at the Cocoon. I'll try to give some updates on what I find in the next couple of months, and open things up for discussion when I present whatever it is that I find.

Good luck, everyone- I know it's hard out there, and I hope the market starts to look up.

Take it easy

@A job seeker: I would try to think about this from the committee’s point of view, which will certainly vary by department. I would not assume that every committee will understand highly formal/technical work. Consider a small liberal arts school or a state university where nobody really specializes in anything formal (hence the possible need for someone that does logic). From their perspective, there might not be any noticeable difference between a highly formal writing sample and a mediocre accessible paper, even if the formal paper is really good. I suspect the paper will not make an impression and so the application might get skipped over, especially if other samples are accessible. This isn’t to say any technical paper is automatically out of the question, but I would make sure that at a minimum the main line of argument and significance of your thesis is accessible for a general audience even if the details are not. (There are lots of really good phil logic and language papers where the main view/argument is clear even if the details are not.)

Of course, perhaps the research statement can help orient the committee, presumably that is accessible. Or maybe the letter writers will help orient the committee, though the committee will have to have some reason to trust the letter writer’s judgment.

The OG Oh No

Thank you, Marcus!

Open Question

I have a question about open searches. Suppose that I specialize in X and am competent in Y and a department runs a TT open/open search. But also suppose that the department already has 1-2 people that are strong in X and Y. Is it still worth taking the time to apply? I feel that it isn't. Unless maybe the department wants to be stronger in X and Y, but I feel this might not be likely for LEM specializations (and if the department is not a big R1 program on top of that).

(Also, I don't think the "it doesn't cost much to apply so just do it" reason is good. It seems to me that if I just submit a throw-away app then it likely won't be taken seriously and hence a waste of time. So that means I should take the time to really show in the cover letter why I'm a good fit and to tailor other documents, e.g., sample syllabi, in a way that reflect the department's presumed needs. All of this takes a significant amount of time, especially with heavy teaching, research, and other services to the profession fighting for your time (not to mention mental health).)

ancient_ancient

From time to time, I've seen searches for general humanities positions (like core/liberal studies/integrated programs) pop up on philjobs and other job databases (e.g., https://philjobs.org/job/show/21346). Yet I have a sense that there are more of these jobs to which philosophers could apply, but which aren't actively advertised to philosophers. Any sense about how to best search for these jobs? And any thoughts on how to best present yourself to them when applying (e.g., how it should differ from an app to a standard phil department)?

anon

Question about letters of recommendation. When I apply for jobs that are a combo of teaching and research, I've been providing (at least) one recommender who speaks strictly to my research, one recommender who speaks to both my research and teaching, and then one who speaks to my teaching. In past years, the recommender whose letter speaks to my teaching is the chair of a dept. where I taught as an adjunct for 3 years ('17-'19). Currently, however, I just started a one year position where I'm teaching a 3/3 and none of the TT faculty in this new dept. are philosophers. Should I ask someone in this new dept. to write me a teaching letter or should I stick with the person from the old institution?

closed answer

@Open Question, FWIW, I don't bother applying to Open/Open jobs in departments that already have people working on my AOS.

This is year five on the market for me, and I can't recall any such past Open/Open job leading to the hire of another person in my subfield if the department already have one. I also can't really imagine a scenario in which the department would want another one of my types and not specify that in the job ad.

But, needless to say, not all subfields are equivalent, there are other factors like geography, etc. Good luck out there.

closed answer again

@ancient_ancient, FWIW, I applied to a lot of generalist humanities positions in my first two years on the market, and then stopped doing it after getting zero interviews or bites of any kind on them. (And it's worth adding that I also work in the history of philosophy.)

Still, I'd be curious to see a good answer to your question, and myself only know of the 'Humanities' section of HigherEdJobs.com as a place to look for such ads.

Non-US citizen

I am on the job market and curious about citizenship. Today I submitted my application to a US institution. I thought it was open to all, including non-citizens of the US. But as I was filling in my info on their website, it became pretty clear that they are not willing to sponsor a visa for a non-citizen. I totally wasted my time curating my application for this job and am very irritated to learn about their policy only at the very last stage of the process. Am I too naive to assume that all jobs on PhilJob are open to all unless the ad says something explicitly about their policy? I really wish the ad at least hinted their policy...Ugh....

non-US too

@non-US citizen, similar things happened to me during my time on the market!

Usually the ad does explicitly say close to the end whether the institution is willing to sponsor a visa for the position or if it's only for US citizens. In my experience, only a few shorter-term positions (postdocs mostly) were closed to non-Americans.

But even if the institution is open to sponsoring visas, I was often nervous that they wouldn't want to do the extra paperwork to hire me when they could just hire an American instead. In fact I often got interviews for VAPs in the US later in the job market season that I assume I didn't get because it was too close to the start of the term and people were too busy/didn't want to do extra work to get me a visa. I have no proof that this was why, but as a non-American I was always nervous anyway that I wouldn't get hired because of visa stuff. It sucked! For what it's worth I did end up getting hired in the US for a permanent job but I definitely share your frustration.

non-US three

To non-US and non-US too
To hire a non-America requires that an institution argue that there was no qualified American to fill the position. Elite universities have easy ways around this .. after all, they are hiring the best people in the world! So, assume for ALL jobs in the USA, it is primarily intended for a US citizen. Given the law, there is no requirement to advertise that. How do I know? I was a non-American working in the USA. And it does cost the institution time and money to process such things.

Non-US citizen

@ non-US too & non-US three
Thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts!

Yili

@ ancient_ancient
Maybe try this website:

https://www.higheredjobs.com/

They will send job application recommendations according to your interests to your email box almost every day, and it is free!

curious

Does anyone know what is going on with this ad? I can't find any information on what Omniphysical is, what it does, or who runs it. Very mysterious!

https://philjobs.org/job/show/21626

Curious

Anyone else notice the number of ads that are open, or close to it, but specify analytic philosophy? I don't think I've seen that before, yet there are like three positions so far with that specification.

WANTJOB

@curious: I had the same question, but the fact that nothing shows up on Google (beyond the filing of the LLC) makes me weary of the whole thing. Cool name, I guess

Out there searching

Is there a reason that the UB job, https://www.ubjobs.buffalo.edu/postings/37937, is not listed on philjobs? Beyond maybe just I'm impatient and it will show up?

Related: are there other (US) jobs which are not showing up on philjobs?

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