No Hard Feelings

25 05 2010

As I’ve posted on here previously, my job search came down between two schools. They each had their pros and cons, and I ended up picking the job with more pros. However, I feel terrible for turning down the other job. When I had to call them to tell them that I wasn’t going to accept their offer, I had this horrible knot in my stomach and I felt terrible for having to do it. I guess the fact that they were my first interview and I really liked the people made it much more difficult that I thought it would/should be.

I felt bad for dragging our my decision for the length of time that I did, but it was necessary on my end in order to make a completely informed and responsible decision. In the end, I feel as though I made the right choice, but I can’t help but feel badly for the school that I turned down. It appears that any applicants other than myself had already accepted other positions or were no longer interested for whatever reason because the ad for the position is back in circulation. I truthfully hope they find the perfect person, and whomever they hire is going to be very fortunate. The department that they have in place at this institution is great and all of the faculty appear to genuinely get along…which I have discovered is rather rare. The pay that they offered me is quite good considering the type of position, a lecturer. It was even on par with some higher level positions at other institutions.

That was almost a month ago, and I still feel badly about it. All I can do now is move on and focus on the current task at hand…moving! It is going to be a whirlwind month before my new job officially starts on July 1! A new chapter of my life…FINALLY!


Life After the Defense

3 05 2010

My life seems completely different, now, than it was just last week. It feels like a huge burden has been lifted off of my shoulders, and I can breath again. In reality, my dissertation is due to the university today, but unfortunately mine will not be turned in today. Our dissertations have to go through and extensive format review process that can take up to 8 weeks! Due to various circumstances, I was unable to obtain full format approval from the university before the deadline, but thankfully our university has contingency plans in place. Since I had the body of my dissertation complete and I have successfully defended it, I have been granted a “walk extension.” This means that I will get to fully participate in graduation, walk across the stage and get hooded, and receive my blank piece of paper. However, I will not get my official diploma until my dissertation is accepted by the university. I have until July 31 to complete this task, and my diploma will still say May 2010! I will receive and “I” on my transcript until it is turned in, but then it will be changed and the university will provide me with written documentation to provide any potential employers. You all should have seen me Friday running around trying to figure out what I was going to do since I didn’t get final approval in time, and then when I discovered this process I let out the biggest sigh of relief…ever! In theory, I don’t have too much more work to do on it, so hopefully I can knock it out ASAP and be done with it completely.

In related news, my official interview (that I have known was coming for over a month) has finally been approved, and I should get the details today. It will be this Wednesday and Thursday! I am very excited to go and see if I will be a good fit for this place, and to meet the faculty in person. I’ve learned that you can NOT tell a lot about people from their faculty pictures on the school’s website. The good thing is that my talk is a research talk, so I will just give a shortened version of my defense presentation…that makes it a lot less nerve racking for me! I’ll be sure to let you all now how this one turns out!

JB, Ph.D.

The End is Nigh

25 04 2010

The past 5 years has had its share of ups and downs. There have been times when a year would pass in what seemed like a month, and then there were times when a month felt like a year. However, this semester has passed in what seems like a week! It has been insane! Between family, writing my dissertation, the job hunt, etc…life just hasn’t stopped. Alas it is all drawing nigh. My defense is this Thursday!!!! I can’t believe that this moment is finally here. Do I have time to savor it? Absolutely not! Between making final corrections on my dissertation for my boss, correcting format issue for the university, and finishing the presentation for my defense, I have no time to savor this amazing time. I guess that will have to wait until Thursday night!

Well, it looks as though I may have a choice between two jobs when it is all said and done. I am going to be offered the position with the university at which I recently interviewed (although they are waiting on university officials to send back the offer before they can officially offer me the position). I have also been informed that I am the top candidate for another position that I have an interview for during the 1st week of May (in other words, I should expect an offer unless I screw it up big-time)! While I was hoping that this would be an easy choice (i.e. I would only get one offer), it may ending being a decision that comes down to one or two deciding factors. If it does come down to that, I’ll be sure to post my pros and cons list so that you all can help me make up my mind!

Ok, now that my break is over…back to work!

The Interview

18 04 2010

This past Thursday and Friday, I had my first ever on-campus interview! It was an awesome experience. I honestly have to say that I was very pleased with the entire process and I absolutely fell in love with the department, the university, and the city.

They flew me down Thursday afternoon, and took me out to dinner with two of the faculty members from the department. They then dropped me off at the hotel for the night. I then proceeded to open up my laptop and go over my presentation for the next day…only to realize that my screen got busted during my trip!! Enter “FREAK OUT MODE!” Obviously, I had my presentation on my jump drive, but still how was I to go over my presentation?! Luckily, the hotel had a business center with up-to-date computers, so I was saved…although my laptop is still busted.

The next morning I was picked up at the hotel by the chair of the department and taken out to breakfast with him and another faculty member. Breakfast was very laid back and a nice way to start the morning. We then traveled to the campus and I got a quick tour of the department’s building before beginning the faculty rotations. each faculty member was extremely nice and very happy to be in their current position. After meeting with a couple of the faculty members, it was time for my presentation. This was an interview for a lecturer position, so the only presentation that I gave was a teaching lecture. It was a very nerve racking time, but I ended up doing fairly well and everyone seemed pleased. After my presentation, one of the student groups sponsored lunch and I ate lunch with the students so that they could ask me any questions.

I then continued my faculty rotations, and mixed in there was a trip to Human Resources, a more detailed tour of the department’s building, and a tour around the campus. As the day was drawing to a close, I kept getting a stronger and stronger positive vibe from the whole department. I was then taken back to the airport and left on my way back home.

Despite this being my very first on-campus interview, it has to be my best professional experiences to date! I can’t get over how genuinely happy everyone seemed. Not only were they all happy, but they all got along with one another. Not once did anyone talk negatively about anyone else or say anything negative about the department. I know that they were probably asked to be on their best behavior, but you would still expect one or two to not fully cooperate. I am still gushing over the great feeling that I received from this department.

Oh, and while on the campus tour with the chair of the search committee he unofficially said that the position was mine for the taking!! This is absolutely an amazing feeling!!! To know that I have somewhere to go in the Fall, and not having that feeling of dread and doubt. I am still waiting on the official offer which he said should come either tomorrow of Tuesday. I am also waiting on one more interview at another university before I make my final decision.

Now, back to reality…


5 04 2010

Things are still in a holding pattern with the job situation as of right now. I’ve been told that I am going to receive and invitation for an on campus interview at my #1 choice, but it has to be approved by some upper-level administrators at the university and that is holding up my official invitation. I’ve had a couple more phone interviews, and I’ve had a couple of more rejections filter through. One of the phone interviews that I had was extremely short. There were two interviewers and they asked a total of 3, yes three, canned interview questions and that was it. They weren’t even the types of questions where I could really expound on my answers…oh well.

The next phone interview that I’ve had recently is a job that really interests me, but it also worries me at the same time. First off, it is a VERY small college and a VERY small department (they currently only have 1 full-time faculty member). So, with it being so small, in my first semester there (this Fall) I would be teaching Organic I (with lab), General Chem I (with lab), and Environmental Chem (with lab). The first two aren’t an issue, but I’ve never even taken an Environmental Chem class much less taught one. I’ve been browsing some syllabi that are online for various Environmental Chem course, and it really seems like gen chem with an environmental twist, which I guess isn’t too bad. I really like this job for the opportunity that it offers me in expanding my knowledge through teaching, but I am worried that I would be a little overwhelmed with it being my first semester of teaching full time EVER!

Well, all of this talk about jobs is useless unless I finish my dissertation…back to work!

Life in The Slow Lane

2 03 2010


There are lots of slow things in my life right now; the decision making process by search committees, the writing of my dissertation, and my research. However, some things are going by at warp speed; time until my dissertation is due, my child growing up, and my life outside of academia. 

I knew that the search process in academia was slow, but I had no idea just how slow until I actually became the one waiting on the responses. I know that I may be a little (OK a lot) impatient, but it is just so nerve racking waiting to hear back from a university about the status of your application.  However, I can’t complain because I am about to have my 2nd phone interview, and I could potentially hear back from the 1st phone interview this week!

The Phone Interview

18 02 2010

I had my phone interview this morning for Potential Job #1, and I have to say that I think it went pretty well.  Especially, considering that it was my first ever phone interview and I was extremely nervous heading into it.  They asked what seemed like pretty standard interview questions about my teaching experience, my research experience, what can bring to their department, how would I balance my time between teaching and research, etc.  I didn’t feel as though I stumbled over any particular question, and I thought my answers were very straightforward and to the point. 

Now that I have that one phone interview under my belt, I am ready to hear back from some of my other Potential Jobs (not that I don’t want PJ#1, because it would be a great opportunity and would take it in a heartbeat if it was offered to me).  So, for those of you on the job market….how is your search going? Are you starting to hear back from anyone? I would love to have some comments from anyone in the job market, but I would really love to hear from some chemistry people.