Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Market Forces

I was browsing the job listings on Employment Information in the Mathematical Sciences (you'll have to click Last 14 Days' Listing) and saw this job ad for a position in the math department at Utica College.

The most striking features of this job are that:

1. This is a tenure-track job that starts in January 2005. Yes, January 2005.
2. Upon further investigation, you can see that three out of the four department members have been hired since 2001.

It looks like they're rebuilding after a series of retirements. It's possible they had someone leave unexpectedly, creating this vacancy — which would be an excellent opportunity for someone who had a failed search this year to find the potential for long term employment in a region with little sunshine. I'm not being snarky. I have found myself in the springtime with no job lined up for the fall, cold-calling all the math departments in central New York to see what I could come up with. (Well, you see, there was this job, but I didn't really want it, and I didn't want to move....)

I am wondering if this is their strategy. I distinctly remember a January-starting job at Utica College advertised a few years ago because I almost applied for it. The Hirta family ancestral home (two duplexes) is just outside of Utica, and I could have tended to the grounds in exchange for free rent. I don't remember why I didn't apply. Maybe it was because I wanted to live somewhere with sunshine? Or maybe because I was optimistic about my chances of getting an excellent fall-starting tenure-track job somewhere and didn't want to quit the temporary job I had at the time to move to Utica? I don't remember.

Of course if my crystal ball had been working and I had known that the only job I would be offerred that year involved both moving and a hellish commute, then maybe I would have applied to Utica College. At the very least, I could have doubled my years of experience in the property management field.