Low Dimensional Topology

September 11, 2008

Job Season

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jesse Johnson @ 9:07 am

Well, job season is beginning, with more and more ads popping up on mathjobs.org (don’t forget to sign up for the RSS feed, if you haven’t already).  I’ll be applying this fall, so I’ve been reading the Chronicle of Higher education’s On Hiring Blog, in particular this article on dressing for the interview and today’s article on the ambush interview.  (The blog seems mostly intended for members of search committees, but I figure it’s good to know what I’m up against.  Plus there’s this amusing entry about job candidates who want to be university presidents by the time they’re 40.)

Meanwhile, The Chronicle’s daily news blog reported recently about a geology class at UC Riverside that was hit by an earthquake during the lecture on earthquakes.  I’m not sure what the equivalent experience for a calculus class would be… perhaps if a dead body was discovered next door during the lecture on Newton’s law of heating and cooling*.

* Recall that an application of this law often covered by text books is determining the time of death during murder investigations.



  1. Good stuff. Thanks for posting this.

    Comment by Richard Kent — September 15, 2008 @ 8:21 am | Reply

  2. And heres a link the the mat jobs wiki:


    Comment by saul — September 16, 2008 @ 7:55 am | Reply

  3. “math” not “mat”

    Comment by saul — September 16, 2008 @ 7:55 am | Reply

  4. I left off the link to the wiki on purpose. I think it’s a bad idea and want to have nothing to do with it. But I guess it is worth noting that it’s there.

    Comment by Jesse Johnson — September 16, 2008 @ 8:07 am | Reply

  5. But perhaps, to be fair, I should include a link to the discussion of the jobs wiki on the Secret Blogging seminar from last year. But I’ll add that I’ve heard from reputable sources that the information on the wiki is occasionally (perhaps often) inaccurate.


    Comment by Jesse Johnson — September 16, 2008 @ 8:13 am | Reply

  6. Interesting. I apologize if you’d rather not have a link from your blog to the wiki. Please, feel free to remove it. (Or at least edit my post to remove the embarrassing typo…:)

    By the way, I’ve read the conversation at SB — I would be interested to hear your reasons for disliking the rumor wiki.

    Comment by saul schleimer — September 17, 2008 @ 12:57 pm | Reply

  7. I don’t mind having the link there. It is an important part of the discussion of job season. I don’t really have a logical argument against the job wiki and I don’t know if any of the arguments against it that I’ve heard are completely sound. The idea that it does no harm and people who don’t like it can ignore it makes sense and I’m willing to ignore it (or try to), but I still think it adds a certain amount of stress just knowing it’s there. It’s unclear how its presence has changed the job market, and knowing that it could make the job market harder means more stress whether or not the dire predictions are true and whether or not one actually looks at the wiki.

    I realize this isn’t a strong argument against it, but I don’t know if this is a matter that can be decided by a logical argument. The side of me that owns two copies of Miss Manner’s guide to the Turn of the Millenium (one in hard back, one paper; don’t ask) tells me it’s improper to turn something as stressful and demoralizing as the job search into a spectator sport. I’m all for gossiping about the job search, but I prefer the old fashion method where you have to actually talk to people and pretend that you’re embarrassed to be talking gossip. If folks want to use the job wiki, that’s fine with me; I realize that the “does no harm” argument trumps all, but I personally want to be one of the people who has nothing to do with it.

    However, having nothing to do with it doesn’t mean I’m unwilling to hear what others have to say. If anyone wants to start a new discussion of the wiki, this seems like as good a place as any. Is anyone still reading this besides Saul and I?

    Comment by Jesse Johnson — September 17, 2008 @ 6:17 pm | Reply

  8. I’m following. Jesse – thanks for all the info in the article. And Saul, thanks for the link to the wiki, without which I doubt I’d ever have heard about it. In fact, the discovery of the wiki terrifies me somehow, but I suppose it’s better to know about it than not.

    Comment by Henry Wilton — September 18, 2008 @ 11:19 am | Reply

  9. Hey Professor…

    Was talking to a friend of mine whom is a math enthusiast and sent me your blog to check out… Lo and Behold…it was the blog of “Jesse Johnson”…a childhood friend. Indeed a very very small world with the advent of the “internet”…

    Hope all is going well…


    Comment by Nagesh Rao — September 19, 2008 @ 2:58 pm | Reply

  10. About wiki,

    The best suggestion I have heard about making wiki work for us is, once you have a job, posting your name on the shortlist of several good schools. Then going to your chair, asking for a huge pay increase and dropping hints about how interesting math jobs wiki is to read.

    I haven’t tried it.

    My experience from last year was that a lot of the info was incorrect but I still checked it all the time.


    Comment by Maggy — September 19, 2008 @ 3:57 pm | Reply

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