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My top 25 campus visit lolsob stories

The good(?) thing about being on the job market for 6 cycles is that I have lots of funny-not-funny stories to share. This is not the OMFG I NEED TO SIT DOWN HOW ARE YOU OK post, for that you’ll still need to find me in person and buy me a drink or two; this is the hahaomgwow post, which I put together in just under an hour on a Tuesday evening, and which I’m not even going to try to rank. So, here are 25 anecdotes off the top of my head. I’d be curious to read about your stories in the comments!

  1. That time on my very first campus visit, still a grad student and very much clueless, when a search committee member I was meeting with told me “I’m sure you know [Israeli linguist who I’d actually never met] and I don’t care what she told you, this is actually a good department.” (The Israeli linguist left soon after; it probably wasn’t a good department.)

  2. That time when my first meeting on a campus visit turned out to be with my champion on the search committee, who proceeded to tell me who the members of the search committee were who had another preferred candidate, what trick questions they would ask, and how to answer. (To their credit, they were totally right about the trick questions.)

  3. That time when I had a meeting with an absolutely ancient search committee member and he fell asleep as soon as he sat down after greeting me and I just .. sat there for 30 minutes until my escort came to take me to my next meeting. The ancient dude thanked me for the conversation before I left (lol).

  4. That time when a search committee chair asked me if I’d prefer their job or another one he heard I was shortlisted for.

  5. That time when a search committee chair asked me if I thought I might have to move back to Israel because my parents weren’t getting any younger.

  6. That time when a search committee chair asked if I wanted to have kids soon.

  7. That time when a dean asked if my then-partner would be ok following me to the job’s location.

  8. That time when the search committee chair asked how much I was making at my post doc and when I told her she said ‘Oh. We can’t pay that much’.

  9. That time when the department scheduled a dinner with students and NONE of them showed up.

  10. That time when the students had a joke question they asked all the candidates and they later told me I didn’t get it right. (I just answered seriously, I didn’t realize it was a joke.)

  11. That time when the grad students at a visit told me the faculty think they weren’t good and I said surely not, but then in other meetings the faculty told me they thought their students weren’t good. (Why would you say this to a job candidate??)

  12. That time when the search committee chair was definitely stoned the entire two days of my visit.

  13. That time when a search committee member mocked me and yelled at me during the committee panel interview and the rest of the panel just sat there and let it happen. Also it was in a room with glass walls and the students outside saw and heard. (Ok, this one isn’t funny.)

  14. That time when the grad students outside the room where I was being yelled at hugged me when I left the room completely dazed and confused about what just happened, and told me not to worry, he does that sometimes.

  15. That time when a search committee member told me that if I could do anything other than take this job, I should do that.

  16. That time when a search committee member had just recently gotten her drivers license and almost ran someone over in the parking lot where we were going for lunch; I had to shout to get her attention.

  17. That time when the search committee member who drove me back to town at the end of my visit almost missed his exit, swerved across a solid line AND VERY CLOSE TO A TUNNEL WALL to make the exit, and I died a little. “What,” he said, “it wasn’t that close.”

  18. That time when a search committee member drove me home from dinner in a vintage car that was super low to the ground and seriously vibrating and sounded like its engine was about to give at any moment — felt like driving a Car2Go on the highway, which I don’t recommend if you’ve never tried it, btw — and I thought I was going to die the whole way and he definitely noticed.

  19. That time when an assistant asked about my food allergies ahead of time but still booked a restaurant where I couldn’t eat anything because it was the committee’s favorite, and the committee members were visibly upset when they realized they’d have to go to another place.

  20. That time when a few search committee members wanted me to choose between three dinner options and it felt like a test that set me up to fail no matter what I chose.

  21. That time when my visit coincided with Valentine’s Day but no one thought they should reserve a table for dinner. I ended up having a very late (and kind of romantic??) one-on-one dinner with the Dean, who also hung out with me for two hours before the dinner because I guess it didn’t make sense for her to drive home and back to pick me up. We went on a scenic walk to view the town from a nice trail; it would have made for a nice date if not for, you know, the circumstances.

  22. That time when a search committee member got upset that I said “fuck” at dinner. (I was repeating a sentence he said verbatim for effect. But, fair enough, lesson learned.)

  23. That time in flat country when a search committee member who was giving me a tour pointed at the tiniest mound of earth and said “that’s the tallest mountain in the area” and I laughed but he was actually being serious.

  24. Those times when search committee members wanted to tell me in detail how Chomsky was wrong, however unrelated it may be to me or my research. (I don’t care, dude, why are you telling me this. Though tbh this isn’t necessarily a job market-specific story.)

  25. That time when every single faculty member I met with over multiple meetings said the best thing about the school was that there were really great supermarkets in the area, even Asian ones!

  26. (Bonus! I can’t believe I forgot about this one:) That time when a search committee member instructed me (it really didn’t feel like a request) to tell the Dean about an unrelated department need (hire more Language teachers) and was disappointed when he checked in after the meeting and I told him it didn’t come up.