Saturday, March 31, 2007

The next chapter from ?AA? U

Recall the whole denial of interview-affirmative action saga we have going on, including the follow up email sent Thursday morning to find out why I hadn't heard anything. Thursday afternoon I got a voice mail from the AA director basically saying that she was looking into it and would get back to me. Friday afternoon I got a voice mail and then an email from the department chair. He offered a long and circuitous explanation of their search process, which apparently is still on-going - one that may or may not contain the correct story and that fails to explain why they denied me an interview if the search is still open. The chair's email concludes with an invitation to interview and a request to call him on Monday.So basically, they are giving me an interview because I complained to Affirmative Action - although they aren't going to come out and say that.

Is this proof that the affirmative action system works? Will they give me the interview and then proceed to not hire me because nobody really wants a complaining bitch as a colleague? Will they hire me no matter how the interview goes because the university is afraid of legal consequences if they don't? Do I even want to work in an environment where they are either so clueless or so biased that it takes a complaint to get them to do the right thing? Is it worth the time, effort, money, and sanity to fly across the country for an interview at this place? (My last interview cost us $800 (for fish's plane ticket), two days of lost work for fish, and exposed minnow to enough germs to give her a cold at 4 weeks old.) What would you do if you were in my position?

I should add that two things will happen on Monday morning before I talk with anyone at ?AA? U. First, I'll call the chair at Mystery U and find out what in the world is going on with their search. (I'd accept an offer there easily.) Second, I'll talk to my advisor, who apparently met the department chair at ?AA? U a few weeks ago. Maybe my advisor will have some good advice for me in this situation.


Lab Lemming said...

Is there any reason not to go for it? Reply by email if you prefer.

Sara said...

It is worth giving it a try no? It sounds like they are a little clueless with the hiring process, at least in physics no one would try to fill a position starting in Spring! Maybe that (their cluelessness) is why they botched the whole offering you an interview thing?

Anonymous said...

I think your first step would be a phone call to prof ABC. Depending on your relationship with him, tell the whole story OR just say you were left in the dark, it seems disorganized and now this opportunity has come up. Ask him what he thinks of Dr SS from Mystery U and what he may have learned during that drive around.

Just my 2 cents...and I too am floored by you getting that email.


Twirly said...

I think the phone call to ABC is a good idea. Also you can always interview and if you get a bad feeling there is no reason you have to take an offer - or if you have second thoughts - basically I'm saying you can procrastinate your decision and feelings - because I love me some procrastination.

Dr. Brazen Hussy said...

I agree with what the other commenters said, and I would take the interview. It is possible that somebody dropped the ball, and that the department is actually ok. Of course, it is also possible that they are offering you an interview in order to stay out of trouble... but you won't be able to judge that very well without visiting them and meeting people and talking to other women who work there. Good luck! (and their response was totally not what I expected!).

Anonymous said...

Call ABC. If ABC sees no reason not to take the interview, you have nothing to lose for at least interviewing. Just go in with your eyes wide open.

For what it is worth, one of the harder parts of this academic hiring process is dealing with the ups and downs, knowing and then not knowing again.


Lab Lemming said...

Mind you, it is also possible that this department has a functionality deficit, if they regularly fail to agree on candidates. It might be worth looking for ex-postdocs/ students from there to see if you get get the lowdown on what is going on. It may be that simply looking at the publications that they've produced recently will show you that one of them has co-authored with somebody you know- science is small that way.

BrightStar said...

I would not go.

They appear disorganized. If we err on the side of assuming good intentions, it's still poor form and lack of organization on their part, as well as major cluelessness.

If we assume that they are offering an interview to cover their asses, it's too awkward. They can deny you an offer and waste your time and money.

Plus, it's just weird now, right?

But if you talk with enough people and are candid with them about the situation, the weirdness can be reduced dramatically. So... if you end up feeling comfortable about going, and if you can afford the time and money, by all means check it out!

Anonymous said...

I would go.

When you call up the professor who wrote to you, request pumping breaks and space to do that. If they are genuinely receptive (or want to pretend to be genuinely receptive), they will indulge you. If you sense significant hesitation or hemming and hawing, that gives you more data to make your decision.

The advantage of going is that you can be at peace with yourself regardless of their and your decision. If you don't go, you always wonder. I think $800 << angst.

$800 is quite a bit of money but it depends on your interviewing budget for this season and the number of interviews you have. Also, is there a less expensive babycare solution, leaving baby+Fish at home and pumping or taking baby, leaving Fish and finding a sitter.


Anonymous said...

Sigh. I wish you could tell them to #$%@ off & then write a nice op-ed in the New York Times.

More practically, I suppose you should gather more data and then make a calculated descision based on data & intuition.

In the meantime, it sure seems that Screwedup U is disorganized at best & biased at worst.

Maybe you should treat this whole thing as an interesting ethical adventure. Embrace this adventure & know you have legions of devoted fans breathlessly waiting for updates.

Much Love,
goat mama.

Ms.PhD said...

I'd be amazed if they gave it to you only because of your complaint, unless this whole thing was purely a moment of stupidity on the part of the person who replied to your email. Perhaps someone with more of a clue just chastized this person for embarrassing the department and set the whole thing straight?

In any event, I think it depends entirely on how tasty the place looked before this (location, startup package, etc.) and how many other places you're interviewing. Don't take it unless you're genuinely curious to see how bad it is and willing to take the trip just to find out, or alternatively if you're really willing to try to keep an open mind. Anything other than that... lingering doubts... and given that you probably want to be resting up before and after the baby arrives... I would put it farther down on the list of things worth spending time on.

The point about this dept. possibly being disorganized/unable to agree on candidates is a good one. If there's a lot of infighting already, you might not want to jump in the middle of that. Or you might. You got some fight in ya.

Anonymous said...

msphd, sciwoman already had the wee bebe

Shop said...

Very interesting!

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