Some days I think I have this faculty thing down–work like a dog, survive on little sleep, slug coffee like a champ. Other days, I go…..derrrrrr……
My job is currently going great. It’s going so great that it’s ending–you know how it goes. Funding is finishing up and there’s going to be some major personnel changes in the near future, me being one of the personnel changes. While I cannot share much yet about my next steps, I have one learned one valuable lesson this spring on the job market:
Just be yourself.
Everyone is already taken. Being someone or something else to fit a standard or ideal is physically and mentally exhausting. Not to mention that in the world of getting hired, saying what you think people want to hear vs. what you actually believe is pretty transparent to most people.
I struggled with this out of grad school. I was full of theory and wisdom and methods and….crap! I had no clue what I wanted to research, where I wanted to go, or what I thought about ________. A recent slew of interviews taught me a few things though.
I can verbalize what I know vs. what I don’t know now.
I have some clear thoughts on research, evaluation, program management, and other fun things.
I know a whole lot more now that I did when I was bright eyed and bushy tailed grad student. Is there always more to learn–of course, but it’s taken me a couple years to wrap my head around it.
I’m not afraid. I don’t fear these interactions. I don’t get the nerves. I approach them differently than I did a few years ago.
I’m also finding myself more confident about negotiating what I would want in a position vs. what I actually need. Sure, I’d love 100 billion dollars for research, but how would I even manage that? What’s more realistic? What are my professional goals and how do they align with the positions that I’m interviewing for?
As a grad student or a young faculty who might not be in the exact place they want, it can be difficult to navigate the job market. Higher education isn’t going to stop changing and as long as you’ve got a horse in the race, the smartest thing you can do is just be yourself.