Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Welcome to Reality PhD Bon Qui Qui...,


slate |  As my Slate colleague Katy Waldman has written, it appears that in the buyer’s market of academia, “lean in” is a dangerous fallacy. For men and women both, it’s not “lean in” so much as “bend over.” According to the widely read blog the Philosophy Smoker, a job candidate identified as “W” recently received an offer for a tenure-track position at Nazareth College, a small liberal-arts school near Rochester, N.Y. Like many recipients of job offers, W viewed the original bid as the opening move in a series of negotiations, and thus submitted the following counteroffer, after informing the department—with whom she says she had been in friendly contact—that she was about to switch into “negotiation mode”:
As you know, I am very enthusiastic about the possibility of coming to Nazareth. Granting some of the following provisions would make my decision easier. 
1) An increase of my starting salary to $65,000, which is more in line with what assistant professors in philosophy have been getting in the last few years.
2) An official semester of maternity leave.
3) A pre-tenure sabbatical at some point during the bottom half of my tenure clock.
4) No more than three new class preps per year for the first three years.
5) A start date of academic year 2015 so I can complete my postdoc. 
I know that some of these might be easier to grant than others. Let me know what you think.
However, instead of coming back with a severely tempered counter-counter (“$57k, maternity, and LOL”), or even a “Take it or leave it, bub,” Nazareth allegedly rescinded the entire offer:
Thank you for your email. The search committee discussed your provisions. They were also reviewed by the Dean and the VPAA. It was determined that on the whole these provisions indicate an interest in teaching at a research university and not at a college, like ours, that is both teaching and student centered. Thus, the institution has decided to withdraw its offer of employment to you. 
Thank you very much for your interest in Nazareth College. We wish you the best in finding a suitable position.
The candidate was shocked. “This is how I thought negotiating worked,” she explained to the Philosophy Smoker in a follow-up missive, “how I learned to do it, and, for that matter, how I think it should work: You ask about a number of perks and maybe get some of them. I was expecting to get very few of the perks I asked about, if anything … I just thought there was no harm in asking.” The Philosophy Smoker found it “flabbergasting.” (A representative for Nazareth College told us they were unable to comment on a personnel matter; an attempt to reach out to W for comment has so far been unsuccessful.)