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Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Home Stretch

If you have an academic job offer, what next? Don't forget to negotiate. I wrote a post on negotiating last fall and in particular you should read the Chronicle article. Worst mistake: Not negotiating.

If you don't have an offer yet, don't panic (at least not too much). We are just entering the home stretch of the CS academic job season. Many of the same few people get the initial interviews and once they get sorted out, more interview and offers are still to come. Don't be afraid to contact departments still in play and remind them of your continued interest.

My first time on the job market in 1989 I didn't get my first offer until June and still had an interview after that. The system has only become even more insane since.

Still you might start getting ready for Plan B. Consider lowering your sights, seeking temporary and/or overseas positions, or thinking about industrial jobs.

Searching for jobs is perhaps the most stressful time in one's academic career. Do your best to keep your spirits up and your options open.

19 comments:

  1. The fallacy here is the assumption that if your starting salary is higher by $nK, then your annual salary will be higher by $nk for the rest of your career.

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  2. The fallacy in the Anonymous poster's assumption is that no such assumption exists.

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  3. One consideration in taking atemporary overseas position if your goal is to return to a position in North America: It probably won't matter much for top departments but places with tight budgets are somewhat less likely to want to pay the costs of travel for you to come to interview.

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  4. actually, the first poster has a point. many universities have clever little systems setup so that it _looks_ like you're getting a higher starting salary, but that's just because you're getting your 3rd-year raise early (or some such). so that 5 years into your tenure track position, you're making the same annually that you would have anyway. (of course by then, the incoming younger professors are making $20K/year more than you...)

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  5. Well, at the two places I've worked at if you start with $nK extra at the begining you are likely to stay that way for the rest of your career.

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  6. The two places I have worked, if you start with $nK extra, you are likely to stay ahead for the remainder or your career with two caveats: (1) across-the-board raises will be amplified by a higher starting salary, and (2) if your school, like mine, has a convoluted "market-equity" correction from time to time, then the $nK extra will result in a smaller raise or no raise at that time.

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  7. More relevant gossip:

    Whos is getting offered where and who is going where?

    Are have decisions not been made yet?

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  8. How does one negotiate a raise (or other perks) once one has been at a position for a few years?

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  9. How does one negotiate a raise (or other perks) once one has been at a position for a few years?

    I guess that you need to find a job at another place and threat you will be leaving if there is no raise.

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  10. I guess that you need to find a job at another place and threat you will be leaving if there is no raise.

    Make sure you are willing to go to the other place. I know of someone formerly at a good place who walked into the Dean's office and said "I have an offer from Minor State University". The Dean stood up, shook his hand and said "Congratulations!"

    To this date he regrets the move.

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  11. I'd like to add a comment to Lance's point. Don't just negotiate, find out what a reasonable goal salary is.

    I negotiated $4,500 extra on my current (first) faculty position, only to find out my new dep't chair had made a very lowball first offer, and had given $10,000 more to the other new (simultaneous) hires.

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  12. I really liked the last sentence in the chronicle article.

    Remember, the worst they can say is no.

    As if that would make my life easier.

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  13. This won't be an issue for another few years, but my wife is also a PhD student in a non-CS field. How flexible are schools likely to be in offering joint positions, or how can we preemptively increase our chances for joint positions?

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  14. Seems a little bit like in an oriental market. (The happy, randomly selected people getting faculty positions in the US "earn" anyway too much money.)

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  15. Putting "earn" is quotes is hilarious. Professors and teachers in general give greater benefits to society than the market price dictated by supply and demand.

    In economic terms, it's called a positive externality. One of the ways the government helps is by publicly funding K-12 education and offering ridiculously low APR student loans. After you account for the great cost such taxation has on society we still come out ahead.

    And note, I'm simply saying the pay is well deserved. I'm not saying it should be higher. The market has already determined what it should be.

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  16. I'm simply saying the pay is well deserved. I'm not saying it should be higher.

    I have no complaints about my salary (really I don't), but in industry doing a not too disimilar job, it would be at least twice as much + stock options.

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  17. "I have no complaints about my salary (really I don't), but in industry doing a not too disimilar job, it would be at least twice as much + stock options."

    Because I want to teach, I consider that a fair deal.

    Why? Because I'd much rather have a teaching and research job than just an industry job. I have every right to bid down the prize in order to compete with people who aren't as interested in teaching. And, yes, I'm serious. Teaching means more to me than working in the industry and accepting a lower salary is one very real way to show how serious I am.

    Were people to not feel as strongly between these two similar but different-enough jobs you'd likely see similar compensation. It's the same reason K-12 teachers don't get paid "so much" (though, they don't do badly): so many people want to teach K-12, they all bid each other down. No matter how you slice it, it's supply and demand.

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  18. I traded the salary for the freedom to pursue problems that interest me plus the interaction with enthusiastic students.

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  19. I agree with MacNeil. We provide primary goods for society. Farmers produce food, we produce education. Our fields are the students' minds, and putting quotes around the word "earn" is slightly offensive. Education is more important than most other activities in society.

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