This is a terrible idea. I shouldn't be posting about my job search under my own name. How stupid am I?
Not that stupid.
But there are some aspects of the job search which—being incapable of offending anyone—can be written about. Take the application process. In order to apply to similar entry-level positions at similar institutions, I must:
- write a five-page cover letter
- write a ten-page cover letter
- write a 250 word abstract
- write a 1,000 word abstract
- write a 4 page statement of pedagogical philosophy
- write a 6 page statement of pedagogical philosophy
- write a 10 page statement of pedagogical philosophy
- hack a dissertation chapter into a 15 page writing sample
- hack a dissertation chapter into a 20 page writing sample
- hack a dissertation chapter into a 25 page writing sample
And these are the plates I'm juggling today. Tomorrow they'll toss a chainsaw at me.
Saturday they'll set on fire.
On Sunday, me, my plates and a blazing chainsaw will be on a unicycle.
Monday will witness my unicycle on a trapeze wire.
Come Tuesday, a bear on a bicycle will follow me out on the wire.
On Wednesday, they'll hand him a chainsaw.
Thursday they'll set his on fire too.
By Friday I'll be chopped and charred.
Come Saturday I'll be bear scat.
Or so it feels. I understand the different needs of different programs demand different applications. I even understand that the ability to fill out a particular application competently is a sign to some hiring committees that you fit the needs of their particular institution. At least in theory. I wonder, though, how many applications are binned because some types of dissertations are more easily condensed or expanded. Because mine fits in this category:
I find it quite easy to remove large chunks of ancillary material—digressions which relate more to discussions in other chapters, or whose provenance is limited to scholars working in a particular sub-discipline—or limit the types of digressions based on the sort of job I'm applying to.
So, for example, with the London chapter I can remove the large chunks of intellectual history and presented a streamlined literary analysis for Institution X or widen my gyre to include early British or Irish modernist works by reinserting a bit about Shaw and Lamarckism for Institution Y. Not because I'm more qualified (not that I want to go there again), but because I wrote a dissertation which allows me to do so.
Meaning I may not be the best candidate for a particular job. (Of course, this implies my dissertation is good and that I'm not merely streamlining crap. I may well be. At some point, I've been told, I'll be able to assess the quality of my dissertation. I've not yet reached that point.)