Thursday, May 9, 2013


I've been absent from the writing world for the last week or so. My blog and Facebook posts have been brief (and about my hatred for airports). I've spent little to no time on Twitter and little to no time editing and writing. Instead, I was preparing for a job interview.

Interviewing for an assistant professor position is quite different than any other interview experience I've had. These things last about 8 hours. It gives you and your prospective employers a chance to see how you are over a day. You see the campus, the town, meet possible fellow employees, chat with deans, etc. It gives you a chance to say the same things over and over to different people until your nerves are melted away by fatigue.

My committee seemed more interested in Fluffy's research than mine, but I have the skill set they want. One might say this job is perfect for me, for the direction my career has taken. I would be preparing future teachers -- something I've been doing for about 6 years now -- but with the opportunity, in fact the main goal, of designing courses for the master's program. This is extremely exciting! No more freshmen who couldn't make up their minds and just picked teaching. No more eye rolls and class time spent texting instead of actively involved. Small classes!! Tiny classes -- something I haven't encountered since I taught community college -- and a dean and department that keep classes small, no matter what the student population is. 

On paper, I am a great candidate for this position. In person, I believe I come across as genuine and open. I don't make false promises or claim knowledge or experience I don't have, as those types of mistakes ALWAYS come back to haunt me.

I felt the interview was going swimmingly until the end of my research presentation. One of the professors asked me to draw a diagram. I drew it but then I couldn't figure out where all the arcs inside it should be. Without preparation, this type of figure takes some time, a good 10 or more minutes, to draw. After five minutes of staring at the paper, I called it quits. In hindsight, I realized I had the correct diagram and should've stopped. In hindsight, I realized I needed to start with a different version of the parent diagram in order to get a nice ending diagram.

The really annoying part is that none of them knew that I was right all along.  I looked like a fool for no reason. Nothing to do about it though. I can't go back and say, "Oh, hey, I was right." When the committee chair picked me up to take me to dinner, he said the committee didn't feel that my mistake was a deal-breaker. That's a relief, but I still hate looking like an ass in front of twenty people AND on video!

I think the school interviewed three other people, and I was the last. I wasn't told where I was in the hierarchy of candidates, but the committee chair made it clear to me, several times, that I am the one he wants for this job. I would feel good about working there. I always feel good about teaching, but it will be a very nice change to work for a dean who appreciates his underlings.

Now, until I know more, back to writing and peddling my book!

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