A philosopher currently on the job market writes in:
I wanted to start a thread/have a place for job market candidates to talk about what is, and is not, helpful for our friends/mentors/professors/
colleagues to say around this time of year.
The job market is, by all accounts, abominable (and not only for those of us who don’t land jobs—there are different stresses for people on flyouts, making decisions, losing out to someone in the last round, etc.). But different people deal with the stress of it in different ways. I’m interested to see if there is any consensus about what things to say and not say to those of us dealing with the stress/disappointment/etc. (I suspect there will be some consensus about “what not to say” and not much about anything else, but I still think this might be productive.)
I’ll start out with one small point: for me, one of the hardest things about not getting a job so far has, somewhat surprisingly, been that very few of my friends/mentors/colleagues/
professors have checked in with me about how I was doing, or offered any support, etc.—I almost feel like they are all avoiding me, because there are people who I typically talk with regularly from whom I haven’t heard anything from in ages. I suspect this isn’t malicious or because they are disappointed in me; still, in my fragile psychological state, it’s hard not to read “x is disappointed in me and that is why she hasn’t been communicating with me at all” into x’s actions. (I suspect, instead, it is at least partly because people simply don’t know what to say, or how to say it, which is part of why I wanted to start a conversation about it.) So anyway, in terms of positive things my friends and colleagues could do for me, keeping in touch is high up there!
Job market candidates (and recent/past job market candidates): what are some do’s and don’ts, from your perspective, for talking about (or avoiding talking about!) the job market with you? What do you wish people were doing that they aren’t? (Within reason!)
(image: detail of “The Scream” by Edvard Munch)