Academic career: two steps forward one step back?


I thought quite awhile about whether I should blog about my latest experience with applying for a professor position, or not. Following up on an earlier of my posts on blogging and academic career (read here), I’d rather like to share my thoughts.

Over the last few weeks I went through my first complete application process for a professor position in the UK, learning a lot about myself, about my motivation. Nobody had asked me so many questions about myself over the last, let’s say, ten years; at least, I think. I asked myself nearly all of the questions when I prepared for my presentation and the interview. But, as each of you knows, the real deal always is different. The context in which you answered the questions for yourself is in many ways different from the context of the actual interview.

Applying for a professor position is a complex process for sure. In order to be successful you need to learn about a new environment, in my case a different university in another country. You have to invest quite some time and—and that is the crux of the matter—emotions into thinking about a place where you perhaps spend a lot of your future. I have to say I was not fully prepared emotionally how much you need to attach yourself to a place where there is only a certain possibility to get the job.

I was quite proud to have made it onto one of those legendary short lists. „This is quite an accomplishment“, more experienced people, who already hold a professor position, tell me. But as soon as you are shortlisted you, of course, want more. You want to win the whole deal, and coming out of the application process second place, even though as a close second … well, that’s nice and great and all, but it will take some time to feel that way.

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