Thursday, March 10, 2011

Numbers and Thoughts about CSA and the Secondary Market

I'm recently back from an on-campus interview, and will write on that soon, but I want to wrap up a few loose ends from my visit to the NAIS conference. First some numbers:

# of schools I could have interviewed with: 6 (ie. schools at the conference to which I applied)
# of interviews: 5
# of interviews a typical humanities candidate had: 2
# of interviews a typical math candidate had: 20 (no kidding)
# of invitations to campus I have received: 3
Average salary I could expect: $55,000 (PhD with five or so years teaching experience)
# of candidates schools bring to campus: 3-5 (yes, five)

Okay, what does all this mean?

First, having the PhD (and decent supporting materials) puts you head and shoulders above other candidates. While at the conference I met a candidate with a PhD in the same field as me, and she had about the same number of interviews. (Any on campus yet?)

Second, and perhaps in contrast to what I've implied in previous posts, landing a job is hardly a given. Obviously I'm doing very well (for a humanities guy), but one of the things at which I excel is coming in second in the on-campus phase of job searches. There is no reason to think that this won't continue.

Finally, I want to make a couple of points about the candidate's relationship to CSA. I want to be clear up front, that my CSA Representative has been extremely helpful. Thanks to my years on the collegiate market, I'm pretty neurotic, and my rep has put up with some pathetic emails and questions.

That said, you should always remember that you are not the client - the school is. Your CSA rep might like you very much as a person (or think you are completely insane), but he does not care if you, qua you, get a job. All CSA cares is that the position is filled by a CSA candidate. If it's you, that's great. If it's the woman who interviewed before you, equally great.

In other words, you are a prostitute, CSA is your pimp, and the schools are the johns. (I know this is awful to say, but if you have a better analogy than this, please let me know!) The pimp doesn't care which of his prostitutes goes with a particular john, so long as the john pays up and the pimp gets his cut. You don't have to worry about your CSA rep slapping you around (and believe me, I deserve it), but it would be good to remember where CSA's interests lie, and that in many cases they do not coincide with yours.

Next up - on campus! (And more neursois!)


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a better deal for humanities PhDs than the academic market, based on odds anyway, but it's cearly still a gamble. I am hesitant to invest more time and effort into something (like getting classroom teaching experience the year before I apply for a prep school job, for ex) if I'll still only have 4-5 interviews anyway. What's the point?! Wish I'd never gotten this stupid PhD frankly . . .

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on surviving the conference and your first on-campus interview! I eagerly await the stories, since I've finished most of my campus visits and I'm nervously waiting for news from my dream job. Don't let your past experience in academia get you down--smart people who genuinely enjoy teenagers find school jobs all the time!

Thanks also for posting your numbers--Oh, those math teachers...

-Uta Hagen