Not the time to say No

Jan 05 2012 Published by under academia, tenure-track OTJT

Hey everyone! I'm still buried under my grant. I'm trying desperately to beat it into submission. Right now I think the odds are pretty even about who is going to win, but I'm working hard to not get beaten up too bad. I'm lucky to have supportive friends like Namnezia and PLS to make me feel better about freaking out. Here are their responses to one of my tweets (read from the bottom up):

Fig. 1: thanks, guys...I think

That's right. I might be peaking in my freaking. Awesome. While I duke it out with this grant, though, I realize that some of you out there are having your own struggles. One tweet earlier today caught my attention, from @dr_gena:

I agree with PLS's reaction to this that turning down an interview isn't really a good idea. Negotiating a two-body problem can be tough, even if the other body is not looking for a spot on the tenure-track. And it may very well be that there is not really anything for Body #2 at this institution. But (as mentioned by @SciTriGirl), interviews are about more than just trying to get a job. Interviewing for tenure-track positions is a networking gold mine. You will get to speak to a lot of people, some who are very important. You will automatically be on the radar as a person that is "good" (I mean, you interviewed in their Dept., right?) and as a new independent PI. So I say, go to interviews. You never really know what is going to happen until it does. There can be surprises. At the very least you get practice interviewing, have a chance to market yourself and may even get an offer that you can use for negotiating.

My advice: keep your options open, and don't limit your possibilities before you even have the offer.

What do you all think? Are there good reasons NOT to accept an interview when you are on the job market?

 

 

 

18 responses so far

  • Well... after I found out the load was something like 4-3-4 and some summer classes/intersession projects... I decided that particular SLAC was not for me, and not worth the flight across the coast when I had other interviews places I would actually go and needed to keep my energy up. Networking opportunities lost were minimal as said faculty probably never left the classrooms.

    • gerty-z says:

      Fair enough (and that was quick!). But, you did give up an opportunity to "practice" your interview. I think that going through the interview process can help you in subsequent interviews. Also, IME going through the process really helped me figure out what I was looking for in a job. I agree, however, that going on an interview can take a lot of energy, and time away from family. It is a calculation and I will submit that there are combinations of variables that can make turning down the interview the right choice. But I think that most of the time there is an overall benefit to going to the interview.

  • Dr. O says:

    If the specific locale got a "hell no" from Hubby, then I didn't even apply - no sense in leading any place on if there was no way in hell I could ever end up there. On the other hand, I can't imagine turning down an interview if I applied to the specific university; Hubby even understood that some of the less desirable places could have their upsides.

    That being said, turning down an interview has got to be terribly gut-wrenching, and I imagine there was a lot going on in the spousal discussion that influenced Dr. Gena's decision.

    • gerty-z says:

      I also did not apply to some positions that were in places that we would never move to no matter what. I am sure Dr. Gena was not excited to turn down this interview. I didn't actually want to focus on her specific decision and whether or not it was "correct". I was trying to start a general discussion based on 1 tweet with no context (what could go wrong?)

  • Zen Faulkes says:

    Turn down a job offer if you have another job offer that you're planning on taking. Respect people's time and effort.

    • gerty-z says:

      This was an interview. Not an offer. I agree that you should not draw out the process unnecessarily. But going on an interview is not a waste of time and effort. Even if you have an offer at a place you like it could be worth the interview. You never know. What if this new place is unexpectedly awesome and you change your mind and land there? It's been known to happen.

  • Dr_Gena says:

    I know lots of people think I should have gone on the interview anyway. It was not an easy decision and if there was a possibility I could have taken the job, I would have gone on the interview. Still, I would like to explain my decision and add to the conversation.

    I had a phone interview and really liked what I heard. My husband has to do an accredited residency in his field for board certification. Unfortunately, the only residency in the area (about a 2 hour driving radius) is not being offered this year. Without him having a position, I would have to turn down a job offer anyway.

    So, I turned down the interview because I felt it was best not to waste the university's time and money bringing me in for an interview if I had no intention of taking the job. That time and money could be spent bringing in someone who could take and love the job.

    I received a nice email from the search chair this afternoon stating that they "genuinely appreciate your honesty and integrity. Some would take advantage of the opportunity knowing full well that they have no intention of ever accepting the position. This just confirms what the committee already concluded about your character."

    I have already had several interviews and have the potential to stay where I am, so I don't feel that trekking all the way across the country for a job I have no intention of taking is worth my time (or theirs).

    • gerty-z says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Dr. Gena! I am sure that turning down the interview was really hard.
      I wasn't trying to start a discussion about whether or not you made the right decision. I may not have been as articulate as possible (this does not bode well for the grant I'm writing right now). I was hoping to start a conversation about what I think are the benefits of going through the interview process, which can be unrelated to whether or not you take the job. In the end, it is not possible to make black-and-white rules about anything in this business. You have to do what is right for you and your family.

      Good luck with your job search!

  • Dr. Zeek says:

    If the specific locale got a "hell no" from Hubby, then I didn't even apply - no sense in leading any place on if there was no way in hell I could ever end up there.

    Same here. There were a few places crossed off the list immediately when I couldn't imagine us living there. There were some big-city places, though, that I absolutely had to apply to that Hubby was not too keen on locale-wise (think some bigger cities on the east coast). That was when I put the "30-min commute rule" into effect. Essentially, I would be willing to commute 30-min to get to work in order to live in a more "suburban" locale.

    Luckily, I don't have a two-body problem (Hubby is a non-science, non- academia person). I have to admit, Dr. Gena, in your shoes I would have probably done the same thing.

  • Namnezia says:

    I totally see G's point. Especially if she already has other interviews nearby, why waste everybody's time? That being said, one can always accept a position and defer for a year, to give time for the certification program to be offered again. But everyone's circumstances are different.

  • Interviewing for tenure-track positions is a networking gold mine. You will get to speak to a lot of people, some who are very important. You will automatically be on the radar as a person that is "good" (I mean, you interviewed in their Dept., right?) and as a new independent PI. So I say, go to interviews. You never really know what is going to happen until it does. There can be surprises. At the very least you get practice interviewing, have a chance to market yourself and may even get an offer that you can use for negotiating.

    YES! YES! YES!

    You should *never* turn down an interview invitation. And all this "Oh, the poor department/institution is wasting its time and resources on me, when it could be interviewing some other deserving applicant!" is a total load of bullshitte. Fucke the department/institution and fucke all the other applicants. You think any of them give a single flying fucke about you and what you "deserve"??

    This is about getting the best job offer you possible can. PERIOD.

  • Oh, and by the way, this is absolutely horrifically horrendous gobsmackingly stupid advice:

    Turn down a job offer if you have another job offer that you're planning on taking.

    Don't turn down *any* job offers until you *actually take* one and already have an offer letter signed by both the institution and you. Only then do you turn down the other open offers you still have.

    • gerty-z says:

      I agree with CPP. Keep all your options open until you have the final letter negotiated. You never know what is going to happen.

    • Zen Faulkes says:

      Darn it, that was what I *meant* to say.

      I was trying to talk about the "I have signed on the dotted line at this university" situation, not, "I really like this university that I have already interviewed and will probably take it".

  • My partner turned down a job interview for a place that he wasn't really excited about because they wanted him to come out a week before I was due (with our son), and could not be flexible about changing dates. It was also not close enough to an airport that he could come home easily if our kid decided to pop while he was away.

    This was a very weird case, and a difficult choice to make, but I'm glad we decided the way we did.

    • gerty-z says:

      what a douchey way to run a job search! Really you can't be flexible enough to let someone be at home for THE BIRTH OF THEIR CHILD??? That is just fucked up.

  • DrLizzyMoore says:

    While I agree with both Gerty and CPP, relative to turning down interviews. This is hypocritical because I actually turned down an interview. Why?

    This occurred over many conversations. This particular search committee was highly limited on funds, so conversations about start-up package needs started during the phone interview. I was on the verge of getting a K grant, and I knew that actually getting your K funded meant having a bright and shiny start-up. Their start-up was not going over $50K and that was a stretch. Folks, that was NOT going to get my K grant fully funded. Additionally, the expectations for teaching were HIGH. Basic equipment that I needed was not there, and certainly couldn't be bought with only $50K to work with. I was looking at giving up my research program AND a grant. Clearly, I wasn't kewl with any of that. Why did I apply in the first place? Their ad stated that they were looking for a 'research intensive' hire....

    Related: we are currently living in a place that was not on our 'desirable' list, so I am still in the camp of keeping an open-mind and applying widely, because you never know what is going to happen.....

  • [...] it would just be a waste of everyone's time. This is bullshit on so many levels. First, as I have argued before, IMO job interviews are almost NEVER a waste of time (for the applicant). There is a lot to be [...]

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