A job candidate at the APA

I just returned to Pittsburgh from the American Philosophical Association meeting, where I had job interviews and gave a talk. This was my first trip to the APA, and many people had painted for me a picture of it as red in tooth and claw. There was a fair amount of anxiety in the air, but that's to be expected when 600 or so job-seekers are stuffed into a cage (I'm making up the number 600; there may have been more). But the whole affair was less psychologically traumatic than I had expected -- it was good to see old friends, all my interviews led to interesting and enlightening conversations (I never felt like I was being 'grilled,' much less attacked), and I met people I had only previously known in blogospheric form.

There was one difficulty with the conference that I did not expect: it was physically exhausting. I remember one faculty member who, a few months ago, advised job-seekers not to apply to every single job that they could, on the grounds that you don't want to have too many interviews at the APA. "Too many interviews?" -- I thought -- "How can you have too many?" Well, that person was right. I had a hard time keeping up my energy and focus for the interviews I had, and some people in my department had many more than me... I don't know how they did it.

I expect blogging to remain light here for the next couple of months, since I'm now entering the final stage of the job search process.


Anonymous said...

I'm impressed; you certainly didn't seem exhausted during your talk. In fact, you seemed totally on the ball!

gualtiero piccinini said...

I was at the APA too. Sorry I didn't run into you.

gualtiero piccinini said...

Congratulations on having too many interviews. You might want to keep in mind that most job candidates are not as fortunates. They struggle to get any interviews at all, and they feel fortunate if they have a handful. I definitely recommend applying to all jobs that one qualifies for. It's much better to risk having to decline interviews than to risk having too few. In addition, I would think twice before declining an interview. Let's not forget that interviews do not automatically translate into job offers. Plenty of people have gotten many interviews but found themselves with zero job offers.

Greg Frost-Arnold said...

That's nice of you to say. I only realized that my brain had completely turned to mush during your talk. After reading the abstract of it, I was excited to see what you had to say -- it's a talk in my favorite kind of area, namely, 'I don't know a whole lot about this area but I've wanted to learn about it in more depth.' But after I sat down in the audience and started trying to follow the argument, I felt like I couldn't put 2 and 2 together to make 4.

Good to hear from you! And I'm sorry I missed you at the APA. And I think you're right about my original post: I really just wanted to say that the APA was more physically tiring than I had expected -- at least in part because I couldn't sleep, since I was thinking about what had happened that day, or what would happen the next day. 'You can have too many interviews' is probably too strong -- and this post will look even worse if I get no job offers, which is of course a very real possibility.

Also: I didn't say that I had too many interviews. (People who write dissertations on Carnap tend not to be in overwhelming demand.) I was trying to say that I was approaching my limit -- but if I had had as many interviews as some of the other job-seekers in my (our) department, I would've been completely brain-dead for the last few interviews.