Tuesday, December 9, 2014

On Faculty Hiring

Can selecting the wrong thesis topic be the difference between getting a faculty job and not? I am working on an area which I find very interesting, but that doesn't really fit the buzzword categories necessary to get published in glamor mags. Yet, it seems like everyone I talk to mentions the importance of impact factor in publications when you're looking to apply for jobs. It feels very much like picking a hot topic when you first enter grad school, and may therefore have no idea what the hot topics in your field actually are, is critical to succeeding in this crazy game. 

Of course, there are always compounding circumstances, but it isn't very reassuring to hear the head of your departments current search committee say that they're only considering applicants with at least one Nature or Science paper. Then again, my particular MRU is well known for having a major prestige boner. 

Last week's conference left me feeling very mixed about where I stand right now, and where I want to go next. I love my field, but after spending two years in the DoD, my publication record isn't going to be spectacular (for very obvious reasons), and I worry. Of course, that could just be the cold-induced insomnia talking. 

Colds, my favorite conference souvenir...