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Sebastian Lutz

I somehow fell into a fire-and-forget routine early on: I submitted about 80 applications the first time around and didn't keep track of their status at all (and I never checked the job-wiki or the like). After months had come and gone, I just figured that none of them had worked out. And that was my procedure from then on.

A side effect of this was that I actually preferred /not/ hearing back from departments, since an explicit rejection would just interfere with my state of ignorance.

resist the temptation

Put your phone and computer in the other room whenever possible.

All about luck

I personally fantasise about what sorts of luxurious products I may buy should I get an academic job or leave academics and find a real job. The speakers I'm looking at started from mid-end active speakers to one-level-above entry level passive speakers over the course of three years on the market. It's very materialistic, but hedonistic pleasures in the future give me just enough hope to apply for the next job.

don't shoot the hoster

I hope Marcus won't take this the wrong way, but the Job Market Reporting Thread is a terribly unhealthy resource for me. If it weren't there I would just have to crack on with life and wait until someone emailed me. Instead, there's something I can refresh 20 times a day in the hope (fear?) of seeing that someone else has heard from something I applied to. It means I can't really crack on with other things properly.

If I were strong willed enough to follow the advice, I would not look at that Reporting Thread—but, alas, I am not. Regardless, that would be my advice to you (if you are able to follow it).

Also Refreshing

I agree with the fire-and-forget strategy. And I think there are lots of other opportunities, and reasons, to practice this in the profession: Sending out papers to journals, sending out emails to fancy professors you've not met yet, sending off grant proposals, etc. The anxiety inducing waits for responses won't end when you get a job, so start practicing just forgetting about it as early as you can. Not that I am entirely successful at following this advice, but I do think I have gotten better over time.

Perennial Candidate

Fire-and-forget is the way to go, if you can manage it. The truth is that regardless of how good your file is, you *will* be rejected for the vast majority of applications you put in. To the extent you can, get fired up and excited about the application while you're writing it and when you prepare for interviews, but in the lulls between updates, try to assume that you've been rejected. The process is like auditioning for a part in a film: you almost certainly won't get it, so prepare for rejection but hope for your big break.

That said, this strategy is psychologically difficult! Academic job applications ask for so much, and for many of us academic work is what we love, so it's hard not to get invested, especially when you're just starting. So know that you're not alone in obsessively refreshing the reporting thread 😅


For those who can't help but check the reporting thread but also think they'd be better off without it, I recommend setting a weekly reminder on your calendar to check it. I found this helps put it out of sight out of mind. Understanding, subconsciously, that I'm not going to straight up miss any news let me get on with it, and it's a lot easier than trying to go cold turkey or trying to tell yourself not to look continuously.

Mike Titelbaum

This is one of the hardest times of year because you don't have teaching or other in-semester activities to distract you from job market obsession. Find something to do to occupy your time. Finish and submit that article! Reorganize your closet! When I was on the market, my wife and I had a baby due at the end of January—that provided me with plenty of distractions. But maybe it's too late to take that approach.…

Michel X.

Exercise. Get lost in a novel or, better yet, a series. Watch television. See your friends. Play video games. Throw yourself into a new paper or into a book project.

That's all I've got.

A Verteran

A tech solution to the reporting thread: don't check it manually, get an RSS ('feed') reader on your phone to ping you when there's a new comment. It's not ideal compared to just ignoring it, but you don't get into the habit of continually checking it.

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