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Patrick McCray @LeapingRobot
, 23 tweets, 8 min read Read on Twitter
THREAD: What does a job interview and an animal shelter have in common? Read on…

#AHA2019 #Twitterstorians (to @kevinbaker...since you mentioned it...and also, (@Historiann @GordinMichael @elmilam @TheTattooedProf @STS_News who might enjoy it as well)
Around 2002, I made the short list for a history of science position for a major school which has an amphibian for a mascot. It was a good job. I knew the chair of the search committee and viewed them as a mentor.
But....his mentor had never advised students.
And it was my first real interview.
I had no clue.
Mentor advised me to ‘talk about my research.” I didn’t understand this to mean “you should give a formal 40 minute talk drawn from my research with slides that connects to larger historiography etc.” So…um. But this was my bad. I should have known better.
The breakfast meeting with the department chair was…odd. He spent much of the time talking about what awful bastards his colleagues were.
I winged and ad-libbed my way through the lunch talk. It didn’t go well.
So, c’est la vie, right?
Most of the faculty avoided me in the halls or cancelled meetings with me. One confused me with the holocaust studies hire they were also doing when I visited his office. This made for an odd 20 minutes of chatting...
Other meetings revealed something else…this made for a full and glorious catastrophe ballet at the obligatory after-talk dinner.
At the dinner, it became painfully obvious that the members of the search committee HATED each other. I mean, some serious deep-from-the-belly loathing. One would not talk to his colleague directly, asking me literally to ask her to pass the salt.
Needless to say – our dinner conversation was forced.
Which made the table quiet. Everyone kinda did their own thing.
And the restaurant was quiet too. The town that Mystery University is in isn’t known for its fine dining.
But the restaurant shared a wall with another business.
It was the local animal shelter.
All through dinner and its awkward silences, I heard the sad low moans and howls of lost and abandoned dogs.
Dinner lasted about 2 hours.
Did I possibly sense some connection between myself and the dogs?
Needless to say, I was not offered the job.
But it worked out OK in the end. I landed a TT job the next year (I was very lucky and I know this) in a great part of the world.
I hope the dogs fared as well.
That's my job interview story. Moral, if there is one: Don’t treat your job candidates like dogs. Be nice to each other. One part of being a successful academic (or anything) is simply not being a jerk.
Thanks for reading...
cf: @SHOT_ECIG @colinkgarvey and all the other graduate students and postdocs out there at #MLA2019 and #AHA19 #AHA2019
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