As I’ve wandered onto the secondary school market, I’ve been struck by both the similarities between this process and the higher education market. The first point of continuity is that the ritualistic aspects of the application process are virtually the same. I get up in the morning, and check the NAIS website to see if anything has shown up in the wee hours. Once at work, I check email
occasionally constantly in hope of receiving an interview invitation. Then I check the job board again, and log onto the Carney Sandoe website to see if there is anything new there. In other words, applying for prep school positions is no less an obstacle to getting real work done than applying for college positions.
As annoying as this similarity is, even worse is the fact that that while the market is different, my neuroses are pretty much the same. I find myself agonizing over inconsequential choices in my cover letters: Should this be a comma, a period, or a semi-colon? Which will impress the committee most, Arial or Times New Roman? I convince myself that nobody will want to interview me. I convince myself that I’ll have to choose from five great offers. I wonder when I should buy plane tickets to the conference. I wonder when the search committees will meet. I wonder if I should call the department chair and ask when the committee will meet, so I know whether to buy plane tickets. I wonder if I can afford to live in Boston/San Francisco/Chicago/DC/San Diego. So for those of you thinking that the wounds left by many years on the academic market are easily healed, it may not be so.