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+13 votes
asked ago in Job Market - JOE by (3.3k points)
edited ago by
This is really more a comment, with other comments being welcome.

The next part of the job market can be the toughest part in part because of the waiting/silence.  
Both after the AEAs there is some waiting.  Then after you do a flyout there might be more waiting.  

In this time period while you wait, you might ask what you did wrong.  The answer generally is nothing at all.  I've been on numerous search committees at this point and most people do really well in their interview. But we can't fly out 25 people.  And usually we can't offer jobs to all of the 3-4 who visit per line.  So unfortunately there are a TON of great candidates that we interview that we never get to flyout.  And likewise when individuals visit for a flyout most people are "above the bar" whenever we have discussed how to make offers. I'd usually love to hire 10-15 people coming out of the meetings, but we don't have the budget for it (and if we made 15 offers, probably only 1/3 to 1/2 would strongly consider it).   

Patience is key.  Control what you can control.  Work on your slides.  Work on your next paper.  Stalking the AEA job market list, or the job wiki won't help.  Focus what is endogenous to you (what you work on, and your mental health) and ignore the exogenous parts.  

The good news is that even the market clusters a bit (the flyout distribution is really skewed), even the most talented people can only take 1 job.  So eventually stuff speeds up.  To everyone who is stressed, excited, and waiting I feel your pain, and so does nearly everyone else no on the demand side.  On the rejection front, I feel your pain too.  Even as a senior person, I've been rejected for jobs I've been solicited to apply to (including 1 where I was solicited to apply in consecutive years).  When rejection happens, it doesn't mean you don't have huge fans in the department or that the majority of people didn't want to hire you.  It just means collective preferences are weird to aggregate.

2 Answers

+1 vote
answered ago by (380 points)
This is great advice!

Perhaps this will help, too: I am in my third job and am by far the happiest I've been. Things can still really work out even if you don't get exactly what you want now.

p.s. I just got rejected for a job a few months ago. It stung, and it never stops stinging, but I'm still okay.
0 votes
answered ago by (1.8k points)
Thanks, Ben. I originally had the "interview and forget about it" approach which was pretty successful. I got my first offer today so the whole meeting/informing others process makes it harder to forget about. In my particular case, no tenure-track applications and mostly research lab / post-docs, I think I will be done with it a week before the end of the month. Low-key request for an early next stage advice post. :)
commented ago by (3.3k points)
Advice on how to optimize over your offer, or how to prepare for the next stage of your career?

For your offer, you can try emailing other places and let them know you have a ticket clock.  They might come forward with their own offers.  Try figure out which places dominate, and politely let any job you won't take that your sorry you can't join them.  Don't wait until the last second just because (unless you're trying to bridge to another offer, which is risky).   Sometimes, if a place is your favorite, and you have no other offers (but you might get more offers), your only negotiating point is your yes.  For instance, I will say yes today if you do X, Y, and Z.  

After that, enjoy a weekend to celebrate.  

After that, meet with your committee to make sure your on the same page for defense.  

Then get ready for the move!  Moving can be more expensive, and time consuming, especially if you have family.  There will be a rush at the end, but try to do some stuff in advance.   

Don't go overboard on permanent income hypothesis driven spending!  I bought a new car for my wife before I even started my new job, and it was fine, but if could go back, we would have gotten something a little more practical.  Even if it makes mathematical sense to pay off student loans slowly, if I could go back I'd pretend I was poor and in grad school to knock them out in 1-2 years.

Also, even if a place doesn't hire you, that doesn't mean that you can't correspond with faculty after flyouts or coauthor together.  I visited UC Denver in 2009.  They offered Jason Lindo a job (who said no and went to Oregon).  They offered Hani Mansour (also from UCSB where I was) a job next.  I was next on the list.  Hani said yes.  I kept in contact with Dan Rees and have coauthored 4 papers with him and counting. And then the next year I went to Oregon to work where Jason Lindo was.   Part of going on the market is introducing yourself to the academic world which is both big and small.  You can make friends everywhere regardless of where you work.
commented ago by (1.8k points)
I couldn’t agree more. Most of my life I have had the peculiarity of having a single choice (e.g., for undergrad and grad school). So I am definitely not used to having to make these choices… Even with jobs, I try to time those one after the next since I believe in the projects and try to squeeze as many as I can. I am not the best at turning down opportunities.

I will be making my choice next week so been doing thorough research on the job offers (e.g., based on salary, x in taxes, y in savings with z in matched contributions, based on the city, xyz living expenses, with these health/dental/vision insurance plans, etc.) and I have my pros/cons whiteboard. Meeting with my committee next week as well to get some feedback. Regardless of what I choose, I will most likely keep in touch and collaborate with people through the various institutions.

I am lucky in the sense that I don’t have many possessions. Will move with some clothes, my laptop, my PS4, and depending on the city, might ship my car. I am pretty frugal so I think I can achieve my goal of saving 25% of my salary.

Paid off my students loans last year… best feeling ever!

Thanks for the advice!
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