My interview last week went really well. Everything looks good. I like the sound of the position and responsibilities, the people seem great and are of varying ages and experiences, the facility is nice and has the potential to be really great, there are plans for all sorts of exciting projects and initiatives, the dean actively supports professional development and provides good funding for travel, and the state seems to support the university and is committed to increasing salaries and funding for resources. The location is the only thing giving me pause. It would be expensive to fly home for visits and it's a three-hour drive to the nearest big city. The roads can also become impassible in the winters. If I get an offer, I have a lot to consider. I also have a number of other interviews on the horizon.
Anybody who has gone through the academic job search wringer knows how tiring, labor-intensive, and frustrating it is. Well-meaning friends and family constantly ask if I've heard from University X, no matter how many times I try to explain the peculiarities of the academy and its complicated hiring processes. They don't seem to believe me that an application might not be acknowledged for 4-6 weeks (if at all) and that I really do get calls for interviews months after a search closes. It does no good to try to describe the committee process and the prep time needed for all-day interviews with a dozen or more scheduled meetings and activities. To my non-librarian peeps, it doesn't make any sense.
After several months of feeling like I was shouting into the void, I started getting a lot of response to my applications. Lately I've been wondering if I haven't applied to too many positions. In addition to the couple of on-campus interviews I've been lucky enough to get, I've done an average of one phone interview every ten days or so for the past couple of months. The whole thing's starting to wear on me. While I'm seasoned enough to answer most general questions about my work experience, teaching philosophy, reasearch interests, and the like, I still have to put some work into prepping for each interview. Before applying for a position, I reasearch the libraries--their missions, instruction program structures, new campus initiatives, etc. Before an interview, I have to review all that and prepare my questions accordingly. While I'm grateful for the interest I'm getting, I need a break.
Of course, I have another telephone interview tomorrow, for an instruction position at a university a few hours away from the one I visited last week. I also have an on-campus interview in the southwest in a few weeks. The position I'm especially interested in doesn't close until early January, so I might have to make a decision on something else before even finding out if I get an interview.
The upshot is that I'm really looking forward to this part of my life to be over for a while. I start my part-time community college reference gig tomorrow, too. Maybe that will be fodder for some more interesting posts.