The phone interview went well enough yesterday (despite starting 20 minutes behind schedule). My answers were thorough, polished, and succinct. The committee seemed nice enough. All in all, not too bad.
The problem is that there were far too many red flags during our conversation that more or less confirmed exactly what I feared: There’s no way on God’s green earth or in hell that I am interested in this job. I was already a bit leery of things. A few things yesterday bothered me:
1. There is a major administrative change/reorganization going on at this university. As a result, they really have no idea how the T&P process will change, how they will evaluate people for T&P, etc. What would I do if I came in under one system and then had to be evaluated under another? They say that they are going to prioritize grant writing, but when exactly are you supposed to do that when you’re teaching a 4/4 and under a large service burden?
2. They are looking to add a new graduate program in the department, but really have no idea how they will incorporate the new hire. That just reeks of trouble.
3. There may be a reduced teaching load…or there may not be. Again, the uncertainty is a problem.
4. The department seems very top-heavy. Lots of full and associates, hardly any assistant. What is going on there? Are people unable to get out? Why do junior faculty seem to leave so quickly before they get tenure? Could be a good sign, but given the teaching load, I doubt it.
5. They more or less said that they deal with a lot of students (grad students, even) who are completely unprepared to do the work. Given that I am beginning to think that higher education is one big unsustainable bubble, I’m not sure I want to enable the continually lowering standards in higher education that have been inflating this bubble. That, and I’d like to be able to just teach my classes, do my research, and live my life. I don’t feel like hand-holding nearly half of my class. Especially if I’m doing that while carrying a 4-4.
I just can’t do it. I’m not even sure I would accept a campus invite. If I did, it would only be to practice my new job talk and sharpen my interview skills in hopes of getting something better. At least I would have the decency not to string them along if given an offer so that someone else could be given a chance. I know I could do other things with my life, and I’m not about to take a job that will surely bring me misery.