Tall, Dark, and Mysterious

5/2/2005

The Job Search, or, Blog Posts That Write Themselves

File under: Righteous Indignation. Posted by Moebius Stripper at 12:43 pm.

Someone sent me an email the other day (reply forthcoming!) wishing me luck in the job search, adding that on the one hand she wanted me to have good students for my sake, but that on the other hand, the irritating and clueless students were so much more fun to read about. I see the tension between those goals. I am confident, however, that, even if by some miracle I end up with students who can add fractions and such, the well of irritation and cluelessness will never run dry, so long as I must deal with administrators, many of whom have been clueless and irritating since before my students were even born. The students who think that they won’t have to write finals, remember anything they learned prior to last week, or come to class to get the assignments? Amateurs, amateurs all:

Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2005 17:27:00 -0700 (PDT)
From: Moebius Stripper
To: employment@math.bcschool.ca
Subject: Posting #XXX-XX-XXXX

Hello,

I am writing you regarding Posting #2005-XX-XXXX, seeking a full-time mathematics instructor for the period beginning May 1 and ending August 31. I applied for this position last month; could you please tell me the status of my application? Your website indicates that applications have not been screened yet, but I assume that this is incorrect.

*

Date: Mon, 2 May 2005 9:14:23 -0700 (PDT)
From: Secretary to the Mathematics Department Chair
To: Moebius Stripper
Subject: Re: Posting #XXX-XX-XXXX

Dear Moebius Stripper,

Thank you for your query. The information on the website is correct. We had intended on screening the applications earlier, but there have been some unexpected delays. They will be screened in the coming weeks. Thank you for your patience. We apologize for the inconvenience.

* * *

Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2005 7:35:18 -0700 (PDT)
From: Moebius Stripper
To: jobs@bccollege.ca
Subject: Application: mathematics and statistics instructor

To whom it may concern,

I am writing concerning an application I sent on February 15 to BC College for the limited-term position of full-time mathematics and statistics lecturer, starting August 1. I received confirmation for my application, but have heard nothing since. Could you please advise me on the status of my application? I intend to be out of BC for several weeks this summer and will at times have limited access to phone and email.

Thank you very much,
Moebius Stripper

*

Date: Fri, 29 April 2005 9:47:53 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jobs Secretary, BC College
To: Moebius Stripper
Subject: Re: Application: mathematics and statistics instructor

We did not advertise an opening for mathematics and statistics instructor at BC College.

*

Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2005 10:42:44 -0700 (PDT)
From: Moebius Stripper
To: Jobs Secretary, BC College
Subject: Re: Application: mathematics and statistics instructor

Hello again,

Thank you for your quick reply. I checked my files to confirm that I had indeed applied for the aforementioned position at BC College on February 15; attached is the email I sent to this address, along with my CV and teaching dossier. My application was confirmed by you on the afternoon of February 17 (see attachment). Could you please inform me on the status of this application?

*

Date: Fri, 29 April 2005 1:11:20 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jobs Secretary, BC College
To: Moebius Stripper
Subject: Re: Application: mathematics and statistics instructor

I have checked the advertised positions, which are available online at http://bccollege.ca/jobs/faculty.htm. All of the positions advertised in the last year are listed here, and the position you mention does not exist. Perhaps you are confusing us with another university, as we did not advertise for a mathematics and statistics instructor this fall.

*

Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2005 3:18:28 -0700 (PDT)
From: Moebius Stripper
To: Jobs Secretary, BC College
Subject: Re: Application: mathematics and statistics instructor

Hello again, and again thank you for your quick reply.

Attached is a copy of an ad for the aforementioned position, which was sent to you on January 31 by the BC College math department head, and which you then forwarded to my department chair; it clearly mentions that BC College was seeking a mathematics and statistics instructor for the fall. Could you please check this with him? Apparently the website is incomplete.

*

Date: Mon, 2 May 2005 12:15:00 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jobs Secretary, BC College
To: Moebius Stripper
Subject: Re: Application: mathematics and statistics instructor

I have checked with the department head, who confirms that you are correct, and that BC College did advertise a position for a limited-term, full-time mathematics and statistics instructor beginning this fall. However, the advertisement was later retracted as it was determined that BC College is not in need of a mathematics and statistics instructor.

We apologize for the confusion.

* * *

Date: Mon, May 2 2005 7:46:04 -0700 (PDT)
From: Moebius Stripper
To: postings@uokanagan.ca
Subject: University of the Okanagan Math Faculty Search

Hello,

I am writing to check the status of the application I sent on March 8, for the temporary, full-time position of mathematics faculty beginning September 1. Have these applications been screened yet? If not, when are interviews expected to take place? I ask because I will be out of the province for several weeks in the near future, and will not have regular access to phone or email.

*

Date: Mon, May 2 2005 7:46:21 -0700 (PDT)
From: Employment Secretary
To: Moebius Stripper
Subject: Re: University of the Okanagan Math Faculty Search

I will be away from the office until May 16. Please send any concerns about employment to the appropriate department. Contact information for our faculty can be found at http://www.uokanagan.ca/resources/faculty/directory.html.

*

Date: Mon, May 2 2005 7:56:18 -0700 (PDT)
From: Moebius Stripper
To: mathdeptchair@uokanagan.ca
Subject: Fwd: University of the Okanagan Math Faculty Search

Attached is an email I sent to the employment secretary, who is out of town this week and next. Could you please inform me on the status of this posting?

*

Date: Mon, May 2 2005 7:56:44 -0700 (PDT)
From: mathdeptchair@uokanagan.ca
To: Moebius Stripper
Subject: Re: Fwd: University of the Okanagan Math Faculty Search

I am away at a conference until May 9. Any queries about employment may be directed to the Employment Secretary at postings@uokanagan.ca.

8 Comments

  1. Hmmm… well, after you’re done with job applications, I wish you all great students except one very blogworthy one. ;)

    - Andrea — 5/2/2005 @ 1:23 pm

  2. Well, it’s not like corporate life is that much better. When I applied for jobs, sending out about 20 resumes to companies that said they were soliciting for actuarial positions in January, only one responded in February (as they said they would do).

    I didn’t hear from the other companies… until about May, when one called me. They had not contacted me before, even to indicate they had gotten my resume. I informed them I had already gotten a job.

    Now I have a recruiter calling me every 4 months or so asking me if I want a job. That’s something most teachers don’t see, I must say.

    - meep — 5/2/2005 @ 1:24 pm

  3. Much as I like the email redirects in #3, I have to admit to being charmed by #1, where they will review applications very soon, though the hiring period has already started.

    - wolfangel — 5/2/2005 @ 2:13 pm

  4. Seems like navigating bureacracies is a rite of passage. The best one usually hopes for is to survive with an amusing to tell. I worked on educational math software at Apple back when, as one person described it, they were: “suffering from a blight of mismanagement that may well have been a biblical plague.” http://www.PacificT.com/Story

    - Ron Avitzur — 5/2/2005 @ 5:11 pm

  5. Sounds like California’s public school system. We have layer upon layer of redundant administrators all of which are very jealous of their turf…

    - EdWonk — 5/2/2005 @ 5:25 pm

  6. Loved the first anecdote where you had to convince them that yeah, they really DID advertise the position.

    If you think *this* stuff is funny, you should try seeing it from the opposite direction — from the standpoint of the search committee. I was on the search committee for a tenure-track math position here. Some of the applications and applicants we got were a riot.

    One, from a candidate from Russia, contained an immense CV with over 50 research mathematics publications, and his cover letter stated how excited he’d be to work at our college which has such a fine collection of mathematicians working on computational fluid dynamics. Um, sir… we’re a liberal arts college with three math faculty.

    We did a phone interview with a guy currently teaching in a small university in a Latin American country who, when we asked what lead to his teaching outside the US, went on a diatribe about American education and into loving detail about how HE WAS IN THE RIGHT to yell at his students in class that one time, even if they did fire him for it.

    Like I said, fun stuff.

    - Robert — 5/2/2005 @ 5:26 pm

  7. The fellow in the office next to me and I had this debate last month: if we could eliminate one group in order to make life more enjoyable, would it be the students or administrators? I think we concluded that about 5% of each group are acceptable, hence it was basically a wash. [Though I confess that I once wrote a recommendation letter saying that if all my students were like this one student, I’d teach for free.]

    - William — 5/2/2005 @ 5:39 pm

  8. Ron A - oh, wow, that’s a riot. There’s dedication to one’s job. Or non-job…

    Robert - I used to work (still do, in some capacity) at a summer camp for gifted math students; every now and then we’d get a job application from someone claiming that they were looking for a research job at an institution just like ours. These brilliant researchers apparently couldn’t figure out, from our website, that we were quite decidedly not what they were looking for.

    William - I’ve had considerably better luck with both groups. Regarding students, I was actually between neutral towards, and fond of, the overwhelming majority of mine. Unfortunately, the complement of that set were the biggest drain on my energy, if not my time.

    - Moebius Stripper — 5/2/2005 @ 5:46 pm

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