austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Thank you for the days

We could have spent much more time wandering the mall, but had to hurry back to bunny_hugger's home.

What called us was the call of professional need. She and I have been putting out applications all over the world for academic jobs which combine the ideals of existing, and being reasonably stable, and maybe even letting us work on the same continent in fields where our degrees actually make a difference. And there was a community college in the west of the lower peninsula which was interested in her, and which notified her the week before that it would interview her Monday at 6 pm. If this sounds a bit imperious on their part, well, that's community colleges for you. There are some wonderful exceptions, but for the most part community college have a deep attitude problem that takes itself out with nearly psychotic vengeance against people foolish enough to seek jobs from them.

In my experience that manifests itself most importantly as refusing to accept job applications the way four-year colleges and universities do --- sending in a CV, maybe a statement of teaching philosophy or a research plan, letters of recommendation, maybe unofficial copies of graduate transcripts, maybe the standard cover sheet for the appropriate field --- and instead insisting on applicants creating a job account and filling out twenty-page multi-entry forms which ask exactly the same information that would be on the CV. These web page forms then don't accept sentences as long as you might submit, forcing things into a barely legible semi-abbreviated gibberish, and each page will come back three or four times rejecting several items for faults that the page doesn't explain clearly (and re-setting any drop-down menus to the 'Select one of ...' default, so that when you forget to re-set those it can reject the page again). Finally the application page freezes up on an item that says ``Preparing to submit application. Page will refresh in about 20 seconds'', so that the application will be suspended in nonexistence as the page never refreshes but your attempts to refresh it or go back make the system abort your whole application as a bad project. It would suggest an incompetent web programmer except that most community colleges have roughly the same problem, so I say the trouble is the colleges in all.

It really is like this, you know.

Also many will want an Official Transcript, sometimes just grad school, sometimes undergraduate too. I understand their desire to verify that people hired actually have the qualifications they claim to have, but surely an unofficial copy would be reasonable for an application, with an Official only used if one gets offered a position, or at least gets to the in-person interview stage.

Anyway, given the formidable barriers to even applying for a community college job, actually getting an interview or getting through to a position would be a triumph so grand that she'd have bragging rights for years about making it. So if they insist on interviewing her Monday, that's what they get. I had not understood that it was a phone interview, so that I was getting worried as the time approached that there wouldn't be the chance to drive to the college and find her would-be department. I had no preconceptions regarding the locations of the many counties in Michigan. And it could be done from the reasonable comfort of her home, so while it did impose some structure on the day it wasn't an overly burdensome one.

Frustratingly, the first call from them died shortly after she picked up, so that we worried a bit that the whole thing had gone horribly wrong. But they called back, and that time the phone call held, and she was able to carry on the interval. While she answered various questions about teaching philosophy (she was in favor of it) and tried to ask questions showing she had a particular impression of the college I sat opposite her in the living room and ... wrote her e-mail. It may seem a touch eccentric to write a long e-mail to a person in the same room, but you need to remember, I'm fundamentally crazy. Also I have a nasty habit of letting e-mail stew in my mailbox for far too long, even when it's letters I want to write, and this was something that I'd been meaning to write for an embarrassingly long while. So I was able to finish that, and send it to her, so that when she did get through the phone interview she had a pleasant little surprise on the computer.

Trivia: Charlie Duke was the capcom for the Lunar Module Eagle's descent to the Moon at the specific request of Neil Armstrong. Source: Deke!, Donald K Slayton, Michael Cassutt.

Currently Reading: The Decision To Go To The Moon: Project Apollo and the National Interest, John M Logsdon. Irritatingly, the book was published in 1970 so it suffers from the dippy idea of a ``nontraditional'' title page, hiding all the information in the space and font used for footnotes, but I overcame it.

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