In this episode, we are talking about the academic job market! We challenge the notion that academia is meritocratic. We highlight how fraught applying for academics job can be for many marginalized folks, especially those who are first-gen, working-class, racialized, and queer. We wonder whether typical job market advice, such as moving anywhere there is a job and prioritizing top schools (R1 schools for Americans) over other schools makes sense. And we also address ways to try to take back agency in a fundamentally messed up and inequitable structure.
Joining us today is Dr. Mary Anne S. Mendoza (@MaryAnneSMM), Assistant Professor of Political Science at CalState Pomona, and Dr. Robert Diaz, Associate Professor in the Women & Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto.
Get in touch with Academic Aunties on Twitter at @AcademicAuntie or by e-mail at email@example.com. Need some auntie wisdom? Send an #AskAnAcademicAuntie question to academicaunties.com/ask.
By Alana Cattapan
By Colin Dickey
By Colleen Flaherty
By Bailey B. Smolarek
Transcript will be posted approximately one week after the episode launches at academicaunties.com.
Mary Anne Mendoza 0:00
I'm going to go try to find Robert on Twitter right now.
Ethel Tungohan 0:02
He's not on social media.
Robert Diaz 0:08
I don't have Instagram. I don't have Twitter. I mean and then I just deactivated my Facebook so people are like how am I going to find you? I should just get on Twitter.
Mary Anne Mendoza 0:16
Ethel Tungohan 0:16
I'm Dr Ethel Tungohan an associate professor of politics at York University. Welcome to Academic Aunties. In today's episode, we are talking about the job market. We challenge the notion that academia is meritocratic, we highlight how fraught applying for academic jobs can be for many marginalized folks, especially those who are first gen working class racialized and queer. We wonder whether typical job market advice such as moving anywhere where there is a job and prioritizing top schools, so R1 schools for Americans over other schools makes sense. And we also address ways to take back agency in a fundamentally messed up and inequitable structure. While there are plenty of places to get job market advice, such as what you put in your cover letter, etc. what we're trying to do here is to give voice to all of you, who recognize how inequitable and dehumanizing the process can be. So hopefully, listening to this conversation is cathartic. Enjoy.
Hello, hello, what a treat. With us today. We've got Dr. Mary Anne Mendoza and Dr. Robert Diaz. I'm so thrilled to have both of you here. The first thing I'd like us to do is Professor Diaz, or actually Tito Robert, because this is Academic Aunties, your're our first Tito guest, right?
Robert Diaz 1:53
I could be a Tita. Can I be a Tita?
Ethel Tungohan 1:55
Absolutely. Um, do you want to kind of briefly introduce yourself like where you are?
Unknown Speaker 2:02
Yeah. I'm Robert Diaz. I'm an associate professor in the Women and Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto. My work broadly addresses questions of migration, and mobility in the context of sexuality, gender, and diaspora.
Ethel Tungohan 2:19
Welcome. And we also have Dr. Mary Anne Mendoza. Mary Anne, would you like to introduce yourself? Yeah.
Mary Anne Mendoza 2:27
Hi, everyone. Thanks for having me. So I'm Dr. Mendoza. My work as a political scientist is focused on looking at the way in which colonial education policies influence nationalist movements.
Ethel Tungohan 2:40
That's awesome. Great. What I really wanted to talk to both of you about is it job market season. Everywhere on Twitter, in in zoom conversations with graduate students and also early career scholars, I find that a lot of people have anxiety about the inhumanity of the academic job search process. And so I thought, you know, why don't we tap into your collective expertise? And one question that I think might be worthwhile to start with is, what were some of your experiences navigating academia first students, then also now as professors that make it clear that this isn't necessarily a meritocratic system,
Mary Anne Mendoza 3:24
I think one of the things that all kind of start with bringing up is just the difference it makes when you have family members who understand what academia is, for me, as a first gen student that was really difficult to explain to my parents. So when I was on the job market, I think it was difficult to explain how, even though I had done X, Y, and Z, right, if even if I have taught classes, or had things published, or was almost done, none of that guaranteed a job. At the end of this process, there was a lot of explaining that had to take place in terms of describing for my family and my parents, what our job market looks like. It's not like you log into indeed, or LinkedIn, and apply the same traditional way. But also just the way in which external forces like letters of recommendation mattered so much more, or at least were told they matter so much more, or why a specific part of my application had to be tailored for each one why I had to have so many components. I think a lot of that was difficult. And I think just the emotional labor of explaining that to family to kind of have to explain to your parents Yeah, I could do all these things, and it might still not result in a job was was something that I think for my peers who had family who had been on the job market or who had family who were academics, not having to explain that, I think was a really big difference.
Robert Diaz 4:52
I think, you know, coming from multiple intersectional forms of like, you know, being marginalized and entering the job market, you understand kind of multiple barriers that are in front of you. And so part of the processes, identifying those barriers and also not even just identifying them, but like really in sometimes even like embracing them as part of the process that actually becomes part of your politics when you enter. So I was a dreamer in the US. And so I actually entered academia, not because I was had a passion for research, I actually entered it because it was the only way for me to stay in the US legally, right. So I didn't I didn't have paperwork when I was in university. And so then, or the status was questioned, right, in many ways, because I was not a resident, that permanent resident. And so then I switched to a foreign student status, because I was the only way I could stay in the US even though my mother at that point was already a US citizen. And so there's like, so even in that story, right, there's multiple levels there. My mother was a cook in a convalescent hospital, she was not an academic at all, I was entering a job market that I was entering for, but not even a job market, but a career that it was entering four out of necessity. So I secured for tenure track jobs. So this is my fourth technocrat job, right. And in those four tenure track jobs, every single time you learn a new ritual that was had to happen in every institution based on how prestigious they saw themselves, even like I remember the very first time, I'm not a wine drinker, like nobody in my family saw a drinker. Like it's not a you know, and when you interview for a job, they usually like, you know, like, the first thing they'll do is like in a in a dinner, right? This is pre COVID, of course, they will offer you the wine glass, right? And you have to like kind of sip it and drink. It's a performance. They do prefer, like, you're supposed to know how to smell wine and what taste? Is it good? Like? I don't know. So I had to learn the first time it happened to me actually an interview, I was sort of like, what is going on? So then the second time it happened to me, I knew to say, oh, it's your choice, you can do first and you know, I defer. Right. So then it then becomes kind of right strategy for not even participating in that performance of cultural capital. Right. And that's a political choice I made from then on actually every single interview from that one moment, right, I said to myself, I'm never doing that.
Mary Anne Mendoza 7:11
I think about the ways in which some of these barriers that Robert mentioned, like when you are a graduate student, or a junior faculty, navigating some of these barriers, whether they're economic, or social, or political, whatever they are, when you're going through them, they definitely feel like barriers. But then when you're doing your job market materials, especially if your committee or your letter writers are not from the same background, all of a sudden, these are barriers and obstacles that you're supposed to glowingly write about in your letters, look at all that I've gone through and like somehow come out on the other side, and you know, worked hard, pulled myself up by the bootstraps, and therefore you should hire me, it warps kind of that whole thing where the whole time you're going through it for especially for some people who might not have supportive committee members, or who just really have a lot of institutional things to overcome. All of a sudden in your job market materials are supposed to write about that positively about how it makes you a better scholar, whatever that means. When in the moment, and probably even as you're writing your materials, it feels nothing like that.
Ethel Tungohan 8:16
I think one thing you're pointing to Mary Anne that, you know, I kind of wanted to address a little bit. And this is because I'm hearing this and I'm really, really upset by this, which is that I have some colleagues who are in the job market, who are basically saying, Oh, but you can't get a job now as a cis het white guy, right, because everyone wants to get the diversity hire. Right. And I think that's something that well, bothers me, because it's not like, we are just diversity hires, right. Like, it's not like we were hired in our jobs, because our institutions wanted to check that box, right? You have to be you have to be excellent. You have to meet and, you know, be above the bar in order to even be considered in the long list. And yet, there's that perception that oh, well, you know, cis het white guys, it's so hard to get jobs. And so I was wondering what your thoughts were, both of you love that, because I'm hearing that a lot.
Mary Anne Mendoza 9:17
When I think about it historically, and how disproportionately individuals who were getting PhDs and getting tenure track jobs were cis het white men. No one at the time ever asked, like, or ever said as cleanly as some of these individuals do now like it's no one you know, it's so hard to get a job as a says Asian woman, or it's so hard to get a job as a queer black individual, like just the the flip side of that, but it's just frustrating. I think like you said, to say the least to kind of hear that now. But you know, we never heard those things. About the disproportionate number of individuals in graduate programs who were not sis white men, and whenever that is brought up sparingly, there's always reasons I, you know, I would hear admission committees say things like, Oh, well, you know, Brown students or black students don't apply as much to our programs. That's why rather than this question about retention, and then kind of, as Robert was talking, I was thinking about this as well, in terms of sometimes this call to diversify in terms of hires, but then there's not that support when it comes to retention. And so the number of faculty of color, or queer faculty who, when they do get the job, but don't get tenure, sometimes the narrative is they didn't do XYZ.Ethel Tungohan:
Absolutely. And I think what you're seeing makes me think of two things. Like first of all, let's reverse the question, right? Like, why are departments full of homogeneity? hires? Right? So rather than, you know, kind of asking, Why are you hiring these diversity hires, we'll just look at department makeups, right? And ask yourself, why have we even today, you know, still conceive of the academy as being the bashing for sis had white guys, right, as seen in you know, the chair. But the second thing, there's also, there's also all of these, I guess, like racialized but also class base hurdles, that don't get factored in. Right. So you know, you mentioned for instance, fly outs, Marianne, and conferences, right. And I find that the people who were able to form these networks, were the ones who could afford $1,000 $2,000, to go to conferences, and make make these connections, people who don't necessarily have to work, you know, real jobs in order to pay the bills.Mary Anne Mendoza:
I think reimbursement culture is so frustrating for sure, especially for graduate students in general, that graduate students from marginalized backgrounds who like that stipend or whatever it is that you're getting paid as a graduate student, if you're getting paid for your labor is both usually barely enough to cover cost of living, I've seen so many instances of graduate students on Twitter who are talking about not being able to afford living in the city that they study in, because some of these cities are very expensive. And then on top of that, is like you're saying the expectation, or even if it's not an in your face expectation, but just this subtle understanding, which not all of us are clued into right as well. But the subtle understanding that when you go to conferences to network, it's also practicing some of that performative ritual stuff that Robert was mentioning, right? For some people, the fly out, your first fly out is also your first practice doing all these things, which is super nerve wracking, because there's so much pressure about the job market. But for other individuals, they've done some of this, like wining and dining, with academics, from other schools, at conferences at reception, so they have some of that practice. But it isn't always taught to you in graduate school, that way of like, oh, you need to go to conferences for these specific subtle reasons of practice. Sometimes I feel like it's drilled on you have to go to conferences, and then it ends there, like you're just supposed to know. And but yeah, I definitely think reimbursement culture is difficult for graduate students, and especially graduate students who might not be US citizens. I know there were individuals who spoke in my program, who would talk about how reimbursement was difficult, depending on their citizenship status, or certain grants were not open to them because of their citizenship status, or whatever else. So I think that was another layer. I know a lot of graduate students would share one room and just kind of like split the cost of that. Whenever I would go to conferences, I would find the closest grocery store and just like buying a bunch of groceries. And that would be like my meals for the conference, because meals are not included, at least for most graduate stipends and reimbursement. And so I would just kind of make PB and J's bring with me to the conference, when I was there, yeah.Ethel Tungohan:
How do you kind of navigate Robert, these constraints and also navigate some of these racial and class tensions? In the interview itself, right, knowing that a lot of these cues are subtle, like no one's gonna say, well, actually, you know what, let's take that back. Because I've heard of stories. Interviewers messed up things and you're just like...Mary Anne Mendoza:
Tenure emboldens people.Robert Diaz:
Yeah, there are. I think one of the ways to navigate it is to be very clear and intentional about what kinds of self representation you really think are truthful to you, regardless of what people say, I really want to say this, that this sounds very cliche, but I think, in the job market when I'm navigating racism right in front of me, and there's a choice between either calling it out in the interview process or not, to make a choice to not calling it call it out, right? So yes, you get the job. But then what happens after, because, you know, after that job, there's gonna be another metric that's going to be held in front of you to not call out things, it's called tenure, you know, and, and you are slowly being conditioned to never call out things because by the time you get tenure, you'll be uncomfortable calling up things already. Right. And so that's why we ask the question of like, oh, how do you navigate that? I think the first question I asked for myself is, can I be comfortable to understand that no work environment is worth it for me, if it's going to treat me in ways that dehumanizes me. And so if I see a moment of racism, I will try my best right to make sure that I'm attuned to like strategy of packaging around my project and making it legible, all those things, but you know, racism, when it happens in front of you sexism, when it happens in front of you, then you ask yourself, Is this a place I want to work, especially for people of color for women, for queer folks, we're told to accept and be gracious, like, you know, graceful, right? Like, we're supposed to be like, grateful, we're supposed to just say, thank you, thank you, like, Wow, a job, thank you. But like, we forget that, you know, that's how they stop us from even doing anything when we get to the right word, or they're just the if it's happening, the interview, it will happen worse when you're there already.Ethel Tungohan:
What do you think, Mary Anne? I mean, you know, do you also kind of have to think about what works for you and what doesn't work for you.Mary Anne Mendoza:
I feel like for a lot of marginalized scholars, or people from different backgrounds, like we have to draw that line in the sand, at least in our heads of like, Fine, there may be certain comments that I will let pass over me. But then certain things were just like, Okay, this is not what it is. And when when Robert was mentioning, you know, being in your case, or being in Canada, for me, sometimes the way that people when they first find out, I'm Filipina, or that I study the Philippines, they just automatically assume I study nurses. And the way that they try to relate to me is they'll say stuff like their friends caregiver, as a kid, or nanny is a Filipina in Canada, and they offer these stories as a way to try to build camaraderie. And you're just like internally cringing, because you're like, Alright, I'm keeping a mental note of where you fit this spectrum of individuals, you know, your little list. And it's, it's so mind boggling to me, the way in which some individuals have never been checked before, right, like the way that some individuals think it's totally okay to make that reference when you meet a Filipino person and just assume that that'll be fine. Not stopping to think about the racialized and colonial context for why that those things are in place. And so I think, in terms of navigating that, especially on the job market, I think it's a lot of also like, managing your facial expressions, when people make these comments, because you're just kind of like, did I really just hear that, and when it's a one on one, you're just like, there's no one else in the room to like, validate that, that was weird. You have to wait until you get home and can tweet about it, right? Just these, like, difficulties of like, how do you grapple with that? And I think Robert is absolutely right. Like, we do have to take that extra consideration of like, when we think about the department being a good quote, unquote, fit is the region like where it is, I personally didn't apply to any red state jobs in any red states. Because as a visible woman of color, and just kind of as an ethnic minority. That was something that I knew I would not be able to navigate. I had a lot of family reasons for why I chose to stay in Southern California. And I think similar to a lot of people of color, right? Like my Lola was living with us. I was like, helping take care of her. I was working like four part time jobs on and off while doing the PhD to help pay the bills because my parents weren't work. My parents were a lot older, so they weren't working, explaining all of that was just a totally different reality. And I remember when I was, I remember concerned about are you doing the stuff you need to do to meet your deadlines? Are you doing the things you need to do, which I was, and I remember at one point, I was like, I have to work these jobs to pay bills. And the way they termed it was they were like, you can't afford to be distracted. And that just like sticks in my head, I would be more distracted if I couldn't pay rent and then couldn't live in a house like the you know, didn't have a roof over my head,Robert Diaz:
You know, in the US was like the R1 and you want to be in an R1 as opposed to this university. And sometimes it's even like you really like this university in the place you want to live in, but it's not considered prestigious enough in the context of this, right? I went on the market right before either before the 2008 crash in. So then I was offered a job to either live in Detroit, right at Wayne State Research University, or two other places, right one in Portland, or one in Boston, both liberal arts colleges, but Right, but in the narrative of the, you know, you take the r1, because that is the jumping job for another r1 to another r1. Right, I was so miserable, I've never been as miserable as I was living in Michigan, right. And I'm sure a lot of people like it and whatever, but it wasn't me. And I think, you know, having grown up in California, and then New York, and then moving there as a queer person, who's very connected to the Philippines with no other Philippine like, not a lot of Filipinos in the area. It was it was increasingly it's so depressing.Ethel Tungohan:
What I'm hearing from both of you is that, you know, we have to kind of really sit with ourselves and think about what matters to us, you know, let's put blinders and not listen to what other people are telling us. But what matters to us and what works the best for us.Mary Anne Mendoza:
And I think, you know, added on to that institutional dynamic is also trying to explain to your family, who may all be centralized in one place, like, you know, here's why I have to apply to all these jobs far away. It's not because I don't like all of you, it's because there aren't, depending where you live, there might not be jobs, in your specific field hiring at the time growing up, my parents were low middle income, we didn't take vacations. So we were always very local and being in SoCal, we're super fortunate, because there's a lot of stuff to do in SoCal, there's a lot of Filipino cities, or a lot of like Filipino places. So it was fine. And then graduate school was really the first times that I like got on a plane to travel somewhere. And that I was able to, like, go somewhere else, like the first time I left the US, like, when I was like three went to the Philippines, I don't remember it. And then the first time I went on my own was when I went to Toronto for a conference. And so for me work was the way that I was traveling. And just kind of the guilt. I was feeling that like my parents never got to do this. And like the kind of the all of these different feelings about being able to do this for my work in some way. But then also this guilt about how if we have to apply far away from home, like I have friends who are women of color, where their parents are like, Why can't you just get a job here? And it's like, trying to explain to your family? Yes, there are colleges here. They may not be hiring in what I do, or yes, that colleges hiring. I know your friend said they are but it's not what I do.Ethel Tungohan:
I don't know, Robert, if you've had to encounter that as well, like so much code switching explaining like, going from late. Yes.Robert Diaz:
For sure. I mean, but even right, like, I mean, issues of documentation. You're also like, why can't you do this instead? Right? Like, you would be asked like, why can't you do another job that has more jobs? Like, why can't you just write, but also I think so You know, when you said like, oh, thinking about the core? Like what? How do I approach this entire process? I think they actually that when you when you centralize kind of yourself and say, I have to remind myself where I'm from, so that I can understand also how far I've gone? Or like, what are the strategies to keep myself like sane and intact in this process, they can actually translate those like small things such as, like, you know, asking when you get your scheduled for a job, that job campus visit, or whatever are their breaks in between. So if you need to, like go into a space and remind yourself who is this for? Right? Like, that could be a strategy, like making sure because you know, sometimes they pack this in one after the other one after the other, and you have like, no time to yourself. And so even that, right, because that is actually customary to ask, like, oh, are there going to be breaks in between interviews in between, and that because just to get water actually use that time as a way for you to really remember, you know, because again, this process is stressful, we can it requires multiple translation, it requires multiple types of like, you know, like kind of negotiation and performance. So like, how can you maybe have a moment to yourself at every single step of itEthel Tungohan:
I like where this conversation is going and I think that's one of the, you know, things that I wanted us to talk about is it seems absurd that we're asking and trying to think about ways to kind of regain or Reek recuperate or agency in a structurally flawed process. Right. But I do I do like what you're saying Robert, like there's ways to kind of even with the interview ask. So some of my disabled colleagues are like look, you can't just make it like boom, boom, boom, right? Like it's not, that's not that's not going to work for me. So there's ways to kind of make these requests to make sure that you can present the best possible job talk or the best possible interview and I was wondering what other what other tips you have to to help job seekers and job candidates sees what little bit of agency they can see is in such a structurally flawed process. And this also pertains to negotiating as well. Right?Robert Diaz:
So even as an international student, right, like negotiating for a tenure track job and you know, your support either there you know, you're going to have to get Work Visa and then from then you're going to have to, you know, so the condition for tenure actually, usually for a tenure track job is it actually has to lead to a green card, right? Like that's, you can't just be a work permit forever. There's a limit to it. And so even negotiating that, right, like, so I had to learn quickly. Because, you know, the first time we did it, I think I like didn't do it well. And so I had to learn and I ended up not, you know, getting the job anyways. But like, I think like, even the first step of that is even ranking. You know, what people that rank like when DEF CON is your ranking what you want, they'll say, ask for an office, ask for a computer, ask or whatever. But for people who like have issues of documentation and residency, your first question is, can I work here legally? So like, So then how do you then frame this in a way? So one strategy I ended up learning is not just say, Oh, I'd like sponsorship, like, because that's kind of like, it then reads as a narrative of gratitude. Like, I would like x, and then please give it to me. So I can stay, you know, like, No, I have to learn like, oh, as you know, my research works on international transnational communities. I'm deeply connected to these communities, right, in my work as well. And like, whatever in these spaces. I'm international scholar. And so it's also part of my status, actually, you know, so So in order for me to begin, that is my first ask, like, you know, is there a way we can make sure that I have permanency in the US, like, but there's a freeway framing it but you didn't frame it? As? Can you give me this? It's actually like, No, you're hiring me because of, of my links to our community that I study that are actually trans national and broad. Right? And so find that strategy of creating a way to narrative eyes yourself from not from a position of weakness, right, but a position of strength, that that's actually the first thing Yeah, so that was my first right as the first thing. And, and some universities, they will try their best to say, Oh, you have to pay for your lawyer. Why? Right? So really, like kind of trying to find ways to like, make sure that those resources are not that the university is not basically siphoning particular resources, say, oh, that should be your research fund. That should be or whatever, we'll use that for your immigration attorney like why, you know, so really, like being clear about what your priorities are, right? But also, at the same time, knowing that, you know, in negotiating, it's kind of, it's important that the university knows that these are the things that matter to you to like that you're not just gonna say, Oh, hey, like, thank you, I'm going to lose X funds for other things. Because then you basically told the university that, oh, yeah, I'm willing to just for my residency not be seen as someone who is going to be an active member in the university, or in my research, I will be at a disadvantage compared to that citizen that's coming in with a research fund.Ethel Tungohan:
For sure. And I think I'm, I'm curious to hear what both of you have to say, as well. So I heard from a colleague slash friend who I was like, Oh, dear, oh, dear God, like, you know, I really wish you'd talk to me. Um, so she didn't negotiate. She didn't know that she could negotiate none of her mentors in political science. And she went to do her PhD in the US, told her that she could negotiate, she signed the first contract. And she didn't know that she had the ability to ask for more. Right. And so, you know, I, I'm wondering, like, you know, where there are some tactics and tools that, you know, would help would help embolden people who, you know, have been indoctrinated into just being grateful.Mary Anne Mendoza:
So, I sort of did, but did not negotiate and before you tear your hair out, no. So for me, in my experience, coming from an r1, my whole committee was like, you're gonna have you have to go you have to have multiple offers to play off of each other. So even, you know, the advice I got was like, even if you're not going to go there, you should still interview and try to get the offer. And like just a very like send self centered kind of thing of rack up as many offers as you can as if they're just out there freely.Ethel Tungohan:
FYI, it's so American. Canadians, we don't learn that.Mary Anne Mendoza:
I felt weird doing that, because again, like if I'm not going to take this job, I'm not gonna waste their time, my time. But also the the job that I really wanted that ultimately, fortunately, got was due earlier than all the other jobs. So there was not gonna be any like, you know, playing off offers, like I had already said yes to this job before the other schools got back to me about fly outs, and I was like, I'm not gonna fly out. I'm sorry. Like, I'm not gonna waste your time. The thing however, that helped me out was so I'm very fortunate that my department is a lot younger and a lot more diverse. And so there were people in that department who were very open the chair I have a person of color is my chair, which I'm super jazzed about. When it came to the offer. He told me very point blank, this is the range of salaries. And he was very open with me. And this is difficult depending on if when you're on the market, depending on how open the chair is, but for me knowing what the range of salaries was, and then they were also open about you know, here's what you can expect and perhaps part of it is because Republicans detection, like our salaries are public knowledge. But knowing how much the individuals hired before me, were also given was helpful. So that when I was talking to the dean, I knew whether or not that what I was being offered was within the range of what was actually possible versus like what people say as possible. So for me, I was I tried to, you know, frame it as like, you know, I want to do research with students, would it be possible to extend blah, blah, blah. And I was told no, it was not possible. But I wonder how much of that is institutional constraints. But at the very least, I was not as worried about being low balled in terms of salary, because I had very definitive numbers as a metric. So I think for individuals at this stage, when it comes to negotiation, at the very least, it's helpful to know what the benchmarks are. So I think being able to cite precedent, either in that department or in that institution, can be helpful, especially for those of us who feel uncomfortable asking, right, instead of thinking of it, so I really like Roberts advice of coming from a place of strength. For me, I think it's helpful to also come from a place of precedent, where, you know, it's not you don't put the focus on yourself was like, Well, I think I deserve this much, even though yes, you do. It's more so like, well, the University has a precedent. And I would just, you know, would it be possible to honor that?Robert Diaz:
Yeah, 100% of what Mary Anne said, you know, like, exactly, baseline is thinking really about what, what other people's have what other people have made in the past, right, like in, like, you know, in public institutions, this is public knowledge. And so even research on it, for me, I had so in other jobs in Korea studies, for example, even if you don't have friends, or like in Asian Americans or something, but you can often you should spot the person, you know, like, when even when you're interviewing, you kind of know, the person was an advocate for you. So it's actually okay, like, after the process to email him and say, I'm excited to work with you. You know, I'm thank you so much. And I'm really happy that like you, I might join the institution. I was wondering if I could have some time for travel one on one, as I just discussed some things right about my offer. Right. And I thought, and I think that the real important thing there is I think this is a key and one of the most hearing about what Mary Mary was talking about, is at the end of the day, like, we are sometimes so conditioned to ask because the officer I swore to speak to look like we're like, I'm sorry, I was like, because it's such a comfortable space. But you know, we're kind of almost conditioned to, like, have the hiya or the shiny talk about money or to talk about material things as if, like, you know, it's like uncouth to do that. But let me let me be clear, like, when you're like, when you're sometimes not from, like, these racialized communities, they ask like that, like, as if it's, like, easy, you know, like, and so I think, even being, you know, so in on the opposite side, right, like, being on the search committee, because there's multiple audiences here, like, yeah, be that person to reach out, right, and say, and not presume, right? That That person will just know, or they'll do their own research, it does not hurt you to actually say, this is the range of the salary. And within this range, you don't even have to say number. But that is a big thing to say to someone who's coming in, you know, to so that they know what and so I've done this, actually, in institutions where I'll say, this is how much I make, I'm not going to be shy about this, you know, we just met use my name here, they say, like, Robert makes this much, because they are like, gonna have a hard time anything there is right? With precedent, they're gonna have a hard time, like, it's gonna be like, So explain to me why a male in, you know, in this department does not, you know, it doesn't make more than me whyEthel Tungohan:
I love everything's being that's being said here, because it shows that solidarity can can occur in multiple ways, right? Like if, if your chair was, you know, a person of color, who was like, Look, I'm just going to be honest with you. That's great. If you are on the search committee, and you can kind of as a job candidate, know, which committee members are supportive of you. Yeah, reach out and then share freely, right? A lot of these secrets work against people of color anyway, so why not just be transparent. I know that we're so over time, I am so immensely grateful to both of you. Final question, any last words of you know, wisdom for job seekers in the academic job market who are just feeling dejected? Because it's a slog, it's a slog. It's a horrible slog.Mary Anne Mendoza:
I think what I would centralize on is two things. The first thing and I recognize that it takes time and doesn't happen overnight, but is to not be afraid to ask mentors about their experiences, and to like widen who you consider a mentor. Like for me, there are people on academic Twitter who I have never met, but they were very willing to look at my materials, or to just tell me, you know, things about the negotiation process, or things about like just other policies like spousal hires or maternity leave policies or whatever else that you're not really taught in graduate school. Like it's not in the curriculum. So I think not being afraid to ask people questions, especially like Robert is saying when you can tell that they are an ally of some sort, right? Especially, definitely asking people of color their experiences so that you get a sense of like, is this normal Is this the norm, but also, all of those well meaning well intentioned white individuals who are like, I'm an ally, I'm here for y'all. This is where you can tap them in and be like, okay, like, you're you've been reading your books, you've been saying that you're here for us. Alright, tell me how much you make. Tell me how I'm supposed to, you know, strategize about answering questions when it comes to avoiding XYZ? Or how to address the dinner? Or how am I supposed to do the job market over zoom? Right, like, for I think that that's one way is, like Robert was saying is, yeah, we are kind of conditioned sometimes to have to be a little shameful or shy about asking, but think of it in terms of these individuals are proclaiming themselves as allies, which is awesome. This is part of the work that they are committing to doing. And once I started thinking about it that way, I felt a lot less shy or reserved about cold emailing people or just like cold tweeting people to be like, Hey, you're a dean or whatever, and you keep talking about your experience. I want to know, you know, however, whatever it is to figure this out. So I'd say the first thing is expanding your network of who you consider a mentor. And I think the second thing, which is really hard, is remembering just how much of these institutional things is also based on luck, or timing, or chance or opportunity, or whatever term you want to use, that there are so many qualified individuals for positions. And it's just not just but it is also a function of timing. Eight of the fact like I was on the job market right before COVID. And that is a timing thing that no one could have predicted, but plays a big factor. And for people who are on the job market right now that there's just no way you could have controlled, you could not have told yourself, get your PhD two years sooner, so that you'll be on the market before COVID. Like there's just no way we could have known.Ethel Tungohan:
Those are all really good bits of advice. And I'm so appreciative of both of you. Thank you so much Tita Mary Anne, Tito slash Tita Robert, for being part of this episode of academic aunties. I'm really, really grateful for your time. For those of you in the job market right now, remember, you're not alone. We get it. We went through this too. This sucks. No one wants to be doing a dog and pony show where you were heavily scrutinized, and you feel like you have to be an academic Beyonce to get the job. And for those of you who are in hiring committees right now, maybe consider ways to make the process more humane. One of the articles that I like written by a friend Dr. Elana cotterpin, which we will link to in the show notes discusses the many unfair hurdles presented to job candidates in the job market, such as requiring several sample syllabi. I agree with only one job post that I saw, even asks candidates to provide syllabi for classes in the hiring department. Get out of here, stop that. Today, add one more thing. Do you need to ask all candidates to supply letters of reference in the initial application? How much weight are you putting on, say, sample student evaluations, especially when knowing that evaluations have racial and gender biases, I will link to a few articles underscoring this point in the show notes. The bottom line is this. There should be ways to make the job market more humane and more attentive to the dynamics wrought by race, class, gender, sexuality, citizenship and immigration status and disability. Just because something has always been done a certain way doesn't mean you have to keep doing it. And that's academic Auntie's for this month. If you enjoy this podcast help us get the word out. One way is to rate and review us on Apple podcasts. It really helps. If you want to get in touch with us and read all the show notes for this and other episodes. Visit academic anti stop comm we would love to hear from you. We're also on Twitter at at academic anti. Today's episode of academic aunties was hosted by me, Dr. Ethel Tungohan and produced by myself and Wayne Chu. Tune in next time when we talk to more academic Auntie's. Until then, take care. Be kind to yourself and don't be an asshole.