As my faithful readers know, I was on the job market each of the last two years, and it's a game that I think I got to know pretty well. This year, however, I'll be undergoing a role reversal: no longer will I be playing the part of the hopeful candidate, but rather the somewhat confusing dual roles of:
a) the supportive consort of the job candidate, andYes. Not only is George Washington Boyfriend going back out on the job market, looking for an advanced assistant position (he's up for tenure this year, but his current institution has an early tenure review and somewhat lower requirements than the kind of place he'd like to end up), but I've recently learned that I'm on the hiring committee for one of the new positions that Regional U is looking to fill.
b) the hiring committee member
Since both GWB and the position we're hiring for are in fields radically different from my own, I guess I'll also have a third role this year: that of looker-on in the Renaissance market. I've taken a gander at the first crop of MLA listings in my field, and I have to admit I did have a moment (well, several moments) where I thought, "Goddamn! That's open? I know the fucking chair of that department, and she loves my work!" or, "Boy, there sure are a lot of jobs in appealing eastern cities this year...!" Aside from those reflex reactions, however, there's nothing out there that fills me with any serious regret; I don't know if I could have stood a third year on the market in a row, for one thing, and I'm genuinely happy with where I've landed and whom I've landed among.
Still, I can't not look; I have a fantasy-baseball-league-like interest in what's out there, who the players are this year, and in making idle predictions about who will end up where. Maybe it's a sign of how new I am to the profession, or perhaps of what an intensely nosy and gossipy person I am, but I like to have a scorecard. I've looked up most of the positions that I cared about that were in play last year to see who wound up where, and it was oddly gratifying to realize how many of the people who took those positions I knew or knew of (see, Mom? I know people! Which must mean that I myself am known). It's also interesting, to me, to speculate about the departments themselves--there are some places that have been listing the same position for three years running, or who listed it the first year, cancelled the search, didn't list it last year, and are listing it again this year. Was it a funding problem? An internally-riven or even dysfunctional department? Hard to say, of course. . . but ever so much fun to speculate about.
So I'm looking forward to this particular job season. I'm excited to be on a search committee and to get to see behind the scenes, and I'm hopeful that there will be something good out there for GWB (something that, ideally, will also bring him closer to me).
And as for all the other hopefuls out there? Knock 'em dead, kids. Maybe I'll even see some of you from the other side of a hotel suite.