Saturday, February 24, 2007

A bit of the past?

This from last Tuesday, before the [Industry Conference] began:
Hi Jon,

It's been a while. Tasse Plein tells me you had a nice visit to [Big East Private] a little while back. I just wanted to touch base with you, let you know what I'm up to, and solicit any advice you might have to offer. It's been a long couple years since finishing up my dissertation. Quite a frustrating time to be honest, looking for a faculty post. With the retraction of the recent [true subfield] posting at [Lakeview U.] (it's been reposted as an old-line [subfield 2] post), I hear the death knoll for academic [true subfield] in the States. So, I'm branching out as I can.

I'm looking beyond academia as well, thinking that two years is long enough to put all my eggs in that basket. Recently, I've taken a strong interest in applied research applications, in particular [details], which engages my [Field 1/Field 2] focus. I'm heading to [Industry Conference] in a few hours. I've got some meetings set up with different folks, including the CTO & Strategist for [Applied Research Field] at [Corporate Giant]. I'm also going to meet with Larry Strope at [Research Center] at [Big Western Private] which last I heard was still considering my candidacy for their open post. Hopefully something will come of it all.

The biggest frustration for me lately is simply that I spend more time and energy applying for jobs than I do engaging in the research that motivates me. In any case, I know you followed a non-traditional path to where you are, and thought I'd see if you had any words of wisdom to share with me. You seem to have landed on your feet.

I hope you are well, and thriving at [Top Notch Canadian]. Let me know how things are going. And... congratulations on the success of your book.
Two little notes: Jon Levitz was a visiting scholar at [Big West Private] in the [Research Center] during the four years after finishing his PhD. His recent book, last I checked, was somehwere below 300 in Amazon sales rankings, quite a success by any standard, which will become more significant as you read on.
Hi, Articulate.

It is a tough job market and I sympathize, but I would suggest you not give up too soon. I spent four years looking for a job after I got my Ph.D. I applied to 150 jobs, and was only offered two interviews. One of those was [current job]. For the last two years of the four that I was job-hunting, I didn't even have a job. I earned only $8,000 a year those two years doing odd jobs. Something ought to turn up sooner or later.


Thanks for this. Sometimes it is so isolating being here "on the market" with little to hang on to, and much despair. It's good to know others, whom I admire, have found themselves in similar straits, and survived another day to tell about it.

Perhaps I'll see you at [upcoming SII conference], if not sooner. It'd be great to sit down over a beer or coffee and catch up.


It is difficult to fathom why someone so capable as Jon could be left to wallow jobless four years after completing the PhD. I mentioned Jon to Larry Strope in the afternoon on Thursday. Larry's eyes widened at the thought of applying for 150 academic jobs before landing a faculty post. I have applied for over 100. Makes you wonder...

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