Well, that’s a thing. A terrible, terrible thing. Everyone tells you how terrible it is, and you think you know, but you don’t know.
First, the numbers: This was my second year on the political science/international studies job market, and total, I applied to probably 100 positions overall (including postdocs), had eight or ten phone or skype interviews (including the one for my current visiting position at Pomona College), three campus interviews, and one job offer.
Now, I only know what it’s like for me, but when people say fit is important, they are so right, at least for those of us from non-elite institutions. Especially for me, researching a non-mainstream topic with a non-mainstream methodology, even though I applied to general IR positions, I probably didn’t get a second look from most of those hiring committees.
What I did get was a job, doing exactly what I want to do. Starting July 1, I’ll be an assistant professor of political science and international studies at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. It’s a liberal arts college with a cool history and is in an area I’m looking forward to moving back to. I even get to teach things I’m really excited about, like African politics, gender and conflict, and even IPE (as long as I can give it a development focus). And I’m certain I got this job on fit. Not only did I fit their requirements and they fit mine, but there’s a general sense of fitting in with the culture of the place and the personalities of the other faculty.
It’s a joy right now to be done with the dissertation and feeling secure that I should have employment for the next few years. I feel extremely fortunate that the right thing came up at the right time for me – it isn’t the case for a lot of people in my position – so I’m trying to honor it by working smart and hard.
Travel and research notes
Fieldwork and travel in Côte d'Ivoire, Senegal, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Mali, as well as Burkina Faso, Morocco, Tanzania, South Africa, and wherever else I end up. Plus occasional research-related thoughts. And now ... Teaching!