Coming up Second Best

It shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone that I’ve been less than prolific in my posting over recently. I had that whole “job search” thing going on, the semester was ending, and it was the beginning of the summer bringing some really nice weather. So, where to start after six weeks of radio silence? How about that stupid job hunt.

As I have mentioned through this medium before, this spring I started a job hunt. I figured that after 3 years of being a Resident Director at Pitt, I was ready to move on. As with my search three years ago, I concentrated on using the Placement portion of the ACPA (which was joint w/ NASPA this year) Convention as the main conduit for my search. I applied to about 18-21 jobs for which various schools were interviewing in Orlando1. This resulted in me taking 12 first round interviews at the conference. I had to turn down a few interview requests from schools to which I applied, as 12 was about as many as I could take at the conference with my other obligations while there. Out of these 12 first round interviews, I ended up visiting 4 campuses.

Contrast this with my search from 3 years ago. I applied to 70-something schools, which yielded only 12 first round interviews (versus this year’s 20 – 12 ratio). Out of those 12 interviews I only received 2 invitations to campus, and ended up with a job at Pitt.

Needless to say, I was feeling really good about my search going in to the campus interviews. My ‘cone’ (the term I apply to my numbers of applications->interviews->campus visits->job offers) was much ‘wider’ then it was last time, and I was feeling really confident.

<tangent> Amarok just popped on the 1998 Rhys Fulber remix of Skinny Puppy’s “Warlock” from the Remix DysTemper album. I had mostly forgotten about that track, and how much I think it rocks. It’s a great take on Warlock. </tangent>

My campus visits were scheduled for the very last week in April and the first week of May. I visited Hofstra University, Chatham College (now University), Carnegie Mellon University, and Duke University. Each of the schools (and positions) had their high and low points, but I felt that I could be happy with any of the four positions. I left each interview feeling pretty good about how the day went, and felt that with 4 campus interviews that I felt were solid behind me, that I’d be sure to have at least one offer coming my way by the end of May.

It’s funny how things don’t always work out the way we want them to.

As of Friday afternoon, I’ve heard back from Duke, CMU, and Chatham, and found out that each of them have gone with other candidates. In 2 of the cases I was told that it came down to a decision between me and one other candidate. I’ve yet to hear from Hofstra, but seeing as how they were my first interview over one month ago, that they haven’t called to check my references, nor returned my calls requesting an update on their search, I’m pretty sure that I’m out of the running for that position, too.

All of this is a really big letdown, as I was really excited to move on from my current position for next year. After 3 years as an RD, I feel there’s very little challenge left in it for me, and it’d be nice to get past the sort of ‘life on hold’ feelings that living on campus inevitably raises for me. The positions each offered some really interesting opportunities to further my career at a time when I feel it’s important to stay challenged in order for me to keep my interest in student affairs as a career.

What now? Well, I have my current job; it hasn’t gone anywhere. Staying on at Pitt for another year has always been the fall back option. However, this week I’m going to take a look through the listings on and other similar sites to see what’s out there at this point. If I see some interesting postings, I’ll probably throw my resume in for consideration, but I don’t feel that I have the energy to start a full-on search again. The again, the thought of having to go through the whole process again next year, which would be necessary if I stay at Pitt2, is not appealing either.

There’s been a whole boatload of other things going on for me lately as well, but I’ll get to those some other time.


1I was contacted by about 30 other schools requesting interviews with me, but almost universally these were RD level positions, just like my current job. The few mid-level positions for which I was contacted out of this bunch were from schools in geographic areas I had ruled out.

2Staying here for a 4th year is one thing, but doing a fifth year as an RD is simply NOT an option for me if I want to stay sane.

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