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Online browsing shoulds and shouldn’ts, MLA edition

Posted in Absurdities by Arnold Pan on November 12, 2010
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"Tailoring First Fit Front 01" by SummerWithMorons (Creative Commons license)

We know you can’t spend all your time preparing for secondary application requests or even the possibility of MLA interviews (note: start prepping your real syllabi as sample syllabi).  But you’re probably on your computer, which means you’re probably wasting time online.  Well, you might as well be productive spending your time poking around online and maybe even spending a little money that you might not have too.  Now or later, you’re gonna hafta accrue some (more) debt on your credit card, so you might as well be prepared to do it in advance if you can swing it.

Here’s a brief list of what you should looking for online and what you should avoid…

Should: Kayak it…alreadyThe last time (if I’m remembering correctly) we told you what you could be doing online while on the job market, I mentioned that it’s never too early to go onto Kayak and at least start comparing ticket fares and hotel rates for MLA.  Well, now, you might as well pay out now if you find a reasonable enough deal.  I know, I know, who wants to front around $1000 when you’re not even sure you’re gonna be out in LA for MLA–I’ve been in that situation before.  Last year, I ate the $150 flight cancel fee because I did the cost-benefit analysis on forking over much to go to Philly between Xmas and New Year’s and doing one interview I wasn’t so excited about.  But forget about me and think positively: Just get your itinerary together if you find a good deal, because it might not be there tomorrow.

More shoulds and shouldn’ts below the fold…

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While you’re waiting for that call/email…

"Autoanswer-1" by Kitsya (Creative Commons license)

If you’re not holding on until the last possible minute to mail out your job application packets, you should pat yourself on the back.  And if you are procrastinating, you have about a week to get those November 1 applications in, so get cracking.  Anyway, those of you  more or less done with your end of the bargain are entering various stages of waiting, depending on how much you were asked to send in for a given call.  We already addressed what you should be doing to be prepared for a secondary request for materials, but there are those ads that ask you for everything at once, leaving you hanging until you get the call–or not–for a MLA interview.  And since MLA is in January 2011 this go-around, I’m not sure if that also means you’ll find out news–or hold onto to false hope–later than ever.  Though knowing that university bureaucracy will dilly-dally as long as possible, I hope they either put the candidates out of their misery for the holidays or let them use the time to prepare.

I know, I know, you should use your time productively–like getting ready in advance for possible interviews or working on your diss to knock out two birds with one stone–but it’s much easier to fritter hours away online, which you are, of course, welcome to do so here.  Below are some of the not-so-productive activities I found myself engaging in while playing the waiting game.

Cybersnooping: I know I shouldn’t and I know it’s undignified, but I have become quite a good cybersnoop, starting from MLA season to campus visits to finding out who landed the positions I applied for.  The academic jobs wiki makes this way too easy to do; once the first notifications for interviews are posted, the dang site becomes pretty much like crack, which gets all the more addictive once the x2 (by phone) and x3 (via email) notes pop up, while you’re making sure your cellphone voicemail works and checking that there’s nothing in your spam folder.

More on cybersnooping, below the fold…

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