The “Right” Job?

Being on the job market is a funny thing. As I look at different job ads, I have to live hundreds of possible lives. Could I do Job X? Do I want to do Job X? If I took Job X, where would I live?

This article in the Chronicle finally made its way out of my Instapaper, and it really resonated with me. In it, the author works through the tension between seeking out and taking the best job and taking the right job. To some job seekers, this might be the same job. We’re urged to think that we should go after the most prestigious, the highest ranked. We’re often told that we should apply for all the jobs, even if they’re not really jobs we want (and even if they are jobs that we think we could do).

I’m not sure if there’s any way to know what the “right” job is so early in my job search; so much of it comes down to a fit with the people, the program, and the university. But I think it’s important to talk about this process and hear about other people’s experiences. Because graduate students are not a homogeneous group. Some of us will take awesome jobs at research intensive schools and hardly ever teach, some of us will end up teaching and doing barely any research at all, and some of us (all of us?) will be rockstars.

 

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