Tuesday, February 07, 2006

being greedy

So I've got an interview coming up in a few weeks. After months of applying and waiting , I finally get some payback. January was a month of constantly checking my email and voice mail, hoping that one of the schools that had requested letters was actually going to bite and ask me for an interview. I even woke up in the middle of the night, panicked that I had put my old office phone number on my CV. I rushed to school the next morning to check it out, and I hadn't. But then I couldn't decide whether I was relieved because there wasn't a potentially unheard message waiting for in the vacant office down the hall or disappointed because it confirmed that indeed noone had asked me for an interview.

So when the email came requesting dates I was available to interview I was ecstatic, jubilant, etc. It's a big school and a big name school and I'd be an incredibly lucky ABD to land the position.

But for the past few days I've felt the knot returning to my stomach. I am once again constantly checking my voice and email, hoping for another interview.

And I know why. It's a combination of things really. I have some concerns about the department (30 faculty and only 1 woman!), about the part of the country, and the nature of the search (reopened with no deadline). But I also feel like my whole future is riding on this one interview and I'd like to have another one for insurance. I've had a lot of people (okay, 3) tell me that it's nice to have more than one interview to work out the kinks and the nerves. But what if this is the only interview I get? I've had some problems with nerves and speaking before, what if I totally blow my job talk? What if they find out that I really am the impostor I sometimes feel like? What if they decide I'm just not a good fit?

Sure, I know there will be other job cycles. Sure, my advisor will find money for me to stick around for a while if I don't get anything lined up. Sure, I've got a few places I could still apply. Maybe a good post-doc will fall in my lap. But it doesn't stop the worry.

I could go on, but I'm not sure it would help. I'm not sure whether writing this post has eased or exacerbated my tension. I'm just not sure...


Prof. Me said...

CONGRATULATIONS on the interview!

I know this feeling of worry and self-doubt, and it stinks.

But really, the only thing you can do at this point is let go -- rejoice in the fact that you have this interview (which is an achievement in and of itself), prepare to shine during it, and wait and see what happens. You know your research, you know what kind of place you want to work for in the future, and you know the environment in which you'd feel comfortable. Take stock of those things again, and instead of worrying if YOU will measure up to THEIR standards, think about whether or not THEY will measure up to YOURS.

phd me said...

I know exactly how you feel, ScienceWoman, since I'm feeling much the same way right now. Don't tear yourself down with "what if" thoughts, though. You have an interview!! Don't worry about any of the things you can't change and don't know about yet; your concerns are valid (I so know how you feel!) but they aren't under your control. Just concentrate on what you do so well - being lovely scientific you - and see if this school is good enough for you. :)

seadragon said...

I hear you, sister.

The above advice is excellent, and if I may add a bit: 1) let your concerns work for you. Tell yourself you don't really want the job that much before the interview-- not so much that you'll put on an "I'm too good for you" air, but just a bit. It will help you feel friendly and relaxed, as if it really were a practice interview. Be interested in their program, but slightly detached. 2) If it isn't for you for whatever reason, visiting positions are also a good bet. It gives you a year to get your feet wet with less pressure, and that year helps you with your next job cycle, too. That's what I did, and it seems like this year lots of schools think I'm more interesting than I was last year. Even though (whisper: I'm not). 3) go to Target and get yourself some Supergirl underwear. Then wear it on your interview. I swear it helps.

Congratulations, and good luck!

post-doc said...

Congratulations! The job search is terrifying at times, but it's quite cool at others. I have every single confidence that you'll wow them. From the little I know of you from your work here, you seem amazing. I'm sure that'll come through in interviews, whether you have 1 or 1000.

It's good to know you can stay where you are until the right job comes along. That saved my sanity several times when I was looking around.

Good luck, and again, congrats!

*statgirl* said...

Congrats on the interview!

I have just been through all of this and had many of the same self doubts you are having. The best advice given to me was "you are who you are" --I know it sounds simple but it was a good grounding thought for me. You put "who you are" on paper and they liked you enough to invite you for the interview--now just go and be "who you are". It worked for me.

Also, on the job talk worry--just practice, practice, practice. It is especially important to find a few practice audience members who are not "living with your work" who can really remind you of the little things you might be skipping over too quickly because you live it everyday.

Good Luck!!!

Jane said...

Congrats! You will do just fine.

I echo everyone else's advice. Also, remember that this is as much about you interviewing THEM as it is about them interviewing YOU. You've already won them over, so just go and be yourself and see what happens.

Good luck!

B said...

Congratulations! Just go with an open mind, you never know how much you may actually like the program, dept., faculty and students etc. Remember to enjoy the experience, you have worked hard and this is your chance to showcase your research to a captive audience.


sheepish said...


As to the imposter thing and nerves during an interview, just keep in mind that you've been breathing this stuff for the last few years and you will definitely know it better than anyone else in the room.

I understand the desire to have more interviews. Options are always good to have. Good luck!

Astroprof said...


I remember the rather disheartening job search that I went through. As with the others above, the interview works both ways --- they get a good look at you, and you get a good look at them. Hopefully it will be a match. If not, then you don't really want to be there anyway.

As for being nervous over the interview, I remember some advice given to me years ago: Everyone gets butterflies when facing something new, big, and scary. The trick is to just to make them all fly in formation!

Mrs. Jill Maisch said...

Kudos for representing women in the sciences! I teach middle school science, and middle school when girls seem to start losing interest/confidence in themselves as scientists. This year I've been using a blog to encourage science writing (blogging in lieu of hand-written science journal entries), improve interaction between teacher/student and student/student, and allow a forum for asking questions about what we're doing in class. The girls especially are really enjoying blogging. I've seen this confidence translate into increased participation in class.
Jill Maisch
Rocky Hill Middle School