Thursday, 26 February 2004

Emotional ties

My daily routine now goes something like this:

  1. Visit the Chronicle jobs web site.
  2. Visit
  3. Fight with APSA’s eJobs system to get it to show me the last few days’ postings—bearing in mind that the “show jobs posted in the last two days” function doesn’t actually work because their website’s database isn’t synced with the actual jobs database, so jobs actually “posted” today may have been entered into the system several days ago. Also bear in mind that the “Full Professor” job at Rockford College (that I didn’t apply for, hence why I’m mentioning it by name) is actually a junior-level position, that jobs that don’t list your field on the main list may actually be looking in your field when you get to reading the actual text of the posting, that the same job at one college is in the database twice. Oh, the “print” version of the page actually takes up more paper than the non-print version. (Did I mention that eJobs sucks?)
  4. Write cover letter(s) as needed.
  5. Make pretty mailing label(s).
  6. Stuff cover letter, vita, and other requested materials in big manila envelope(s).
  7. Weigh and put stamps on envelope(s).
  8. If before 1 pm, stick envelope(s) in mail box. If before 4:30 pm, get in car and go to post office to stick envelopes in mail box.

Writing cover letters at this point is a simultaneously easy and hard process. It’s easy in the sense that after you’ve written 50 of the damn things, one you’ve already written is pretty close to the one you “need” for the particular job. It’s hard in the sense that you have to remember which of those 50 letters is the right one to massage for the particular job in question.

It’s also hard in the sense that you have to show some enthusiasm for the job on paper—which for me entails doing some basic research about the college and putting in some thought as to I’d fit in there, something that makes me a bit more emotionally invested in a process that more closely resembles a meat market than anything a reasonable person would want to be emotionally attached to. It’s hard not to go from “I’d enjoy the opportunity to teach at X because I can contribute in ways A, B, and C” to actually feeling like you’d enjoy going to college X—and thus running the risk of being disappointed if you don’t get to go to college X for whatever reason, even if it’s not the “dream job” you expect to be doing when tenure time rolls around.