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Interviews You Don’t Want to Have #4: The One I Didn’t Want to Have

Posted in First Person by Arnold Pan on December 9, 2010
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You know the trainwreck I hinted to last time?  I’m gonna get to that for our series finale, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have more to write about.  The one I’m describing today was an interview I felt totally ambivalent about, not because the job, the school, and the people there weren’t fine, but because of a confluence of circumstances.  To blow the ending in advance — as if you didn’t know already — I didn’t get the job.  What’s different, though, was that I basically gave up on it before the interview, which I more or less tried to pull the plug on by asking the search committee to reschedule my MLA tête-à-tête as a videoconference.   The crazy thing was they agreed to it, which was very nice of them, although I almost think that I ended up just going through the motions anyway.

"Gesto Communications Videoconference Room" by Gesto Communications (Creative Commons license)

Here’s what went into my kamikaze mission decision…

Cost-Benefit Analysis: The main reason I begged off the convention interview was that I didn’t have any others lined up, so I couldn’t justify the $1000+ expense, multiple connecting flights, and days cooped up at a hotel for a single 45-minute meet-up for — let’s be real — a job that I wasn’t super-psyched about .   I know, I know, beggars shouldn’t be choosers, but still.  So when December 20-ish rolled around, I called an audible and emailed to ask if I could do a phoner instead, because there was really no reason to keep hope alive that a bunch more interviews were going to come through.  I guess the moral of the story here is that search committees are more humane and more accommodating than you’d expect, so you might as well tactfully ask for you’d like if you don’t really mind totally blowing it.

More factors below…

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