Networking FTW (part 2)!! Or how to get the job you really wanted in 10 short years

(See Part 1 here)

How to get the job you’ve wanted for 10 years:

Step 1:  Graduate from graduate school.  Be a lecturer for a year and some change because the job market sucks.

Step 2:  Get a faculty position.  Occasionally meet people who work for the place you will want to work because your research overlaps with theirs.  Apply to where they work a couple times when a job looks particularly interesting since your partner still lives in Paradise and you hate being without him.  Hear nothing.

Step 3:  Decide to quit your tenured faculty position.  Decide you really want to work for this other place, but it is several states away.   Apply along with a bunch of other places in Paradise.  Fail to hear back.

Step 4:  Move to Paradise, where the place you want to work is located.

Step 5:  Apply again and again as jobs come up and never hear back.

Step 6:  Get a different job where you regularly meet with people who work at the place you want to work because that is part of your job (one of the parts you like best, solidifying your desire to work there).

Step 7:  Find out that your applications for the other place never made it through the hiring screening system for reasons that nobody understands or can tell you, but the screening is automatic and very bureaucratic.

Step 8:  Do a great job at your current job, learn new skills and research areas (including writing under review papers!) that make you more attractive at the place you’ve wanted to work for several years, and as time passes, be more convincing that you’re ok with not being tenure track just by dint of not being tenure track.

Step 9:  Realize that while you value the flexibility and academic freedom aspects of your current job, you dislike the personal assistant parts of your job and you kind of wish you were still working more in your research area as part of the job that you get paid for.

Step 10:  Apply for jobs broadly.  Get a couple interviews for places that you would have enjoyed working at probably (or at least would have enjoyed the higher salaries at), but you weren’t a slam dunk fit for.  Fail to get those jobs.

Step 11:  Get an email from someone at the place you’ve wanted to work at for 10 years asking if you or your boss have any students who might be interested in a position that has opened up that looks like an even better match for you than the jobs you’ve applied for there previously.

Step 12:  Respond, “YES!  ME!!!!”  Have a conversation with the person.  Then apply, but this position also doesn’t require the full system for various bureaucratic reasons not detailed here.  Your application does not get lost.  Ace the interview which is more like a conversation because you’ve been working directly with this person off and on for the past few years and had met her even before that.   Hear from a friend that your references have been checked.  Have your boss tell you that he’s sad to lose you.  Hear the person you interviewed with tell your boss that she now owes him.  Get the job offer.  Note the salary and benefits are both better than what you have now.  Accept.  Get paperwork.  Get a start date.  Tell your boss your last day.

Step 13:  Get a terrible terrible cold because you always get sick after deciding to quit a job.  This time it better not turn into pneumonia.

Step 14:  Document and organize everything because you want to leave your previous position in a much better place than you found it!

Congratulate #1 in the comments below!


32 Responses to “Networking FTW (part 2)!! Or how to get the job you really wanted in 10 short years”

  1. Mary Says:

    Many congratulations! What great news! And great perseverance!

  2. Jennifer Says:

    Congratulations! That’s fantastic!

  3. hypatia cade Says:

    Wow! Nice work!

  4. Schlupp Says:

    Wow! Congratulations!

  5. What Now? Says:

    Wow — how wonderful! Mazel tov, and take care of that cold.

  6. Omdg Says:


  7. monsterzero Says:


  8. Linda Says:

    Congrats! It’s wonderful to have your perseverance pay off!

  9. rose Says:

    Congratulations. May it all only exceed your wildest hopes!

  10. bogart Says:

    Yay! Congratulations, look forward to hearing whatever snapshots of your next position you decide to share. Hope you feel better soon!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Here is a quote from #1 this weekend (she’s traveling for work right now):
      “it’s rad but a rough startup. Not even rough, just a Lot.
      “progress is happening! but so much to do.”

      It’s a huge change from her last job in that there’s a lot more intellectual work going on and a lot less personal assisting. Not a ton of time for web-surfing or gchatting! They leapt her right into a deadline and travel, so it should calm down some after that passes and she can get her bearings. (If not, we may have to drop to fewer posts per week again, since I can’t carry 3 days/week on my own. But I think we’ll be ok.)

      • Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

        Wait, now I’m confused if I’m congratulating #1 or #2! :)

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Sorry, I (#2 for this post) got it backwards. #1 is always the one writing the post… the me in the comments is currently #2 since #1 is Working Too Hard to Comment just now. (She will definitely read everyone’s good wishes this evening! Or maybe later if she just falls asleep when she gets back to the hotel. I can’t predict!)

  11. Katherine Says:

    How wonderful! Congratulations!

  12. chacha1 Says:

    Fantastic news, well done!

  13. Cloud Says:

    Congratulations! I’m so glad it worked out for you. And yeah – submitting resumes via online systems is a crapshoot, particularly for bigger places. The screen systems never really work well, but I understand why these places have them: even at a small place posting a job in a field that didn’t directly correlate to an academic discipline I would routinely get hundreds of resumes for a job posting. Friends whose open positions more directly correlated with something someone might get their PhD in would get more than a thousand. It is overwhelming.

  14. CG Says:

    Excellent news! And you’ve given hope to those of us who are still not working at that place we’ve wanted to work for 10 years.

  15. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    EEEEEEEE!!!! Congratulations!!!

    (This is why I try to avoid automated online systems and directly screen cover letters and resumes to avoid systems screening out great people. Now I just have to hope that I won’t overlook awesome applicants myself because reading hundreds of submissions is overwhelming but that’s still better than the system eating their applications!)

  16. Leigh Says:

    Yay that’s awesome! Online submission portals are the worst.

  17. Debbie M Says:

    Wow, job hunting sucks! But persistence and contacts for the win! (And thanks for doing step #14–I love when people do that!) Congratulations!

  18. BabyAttachMode Says:

    Congrats!! That’s wonderful news!

  19. SP Says:

    Yes!!!! Congratulations!

  20. Leah Says:

    Huge congrats!

    Also, thanks for being the kind of person who organizes things when they leave a job. Notes are so helpful!

  21. Katherine Says:


  22. Norwegian Forest Cat Says:

    Woooo!!! Glad to hear that playing the (very, very) long game worked out so well. Congrats!

  23. undine Says:

    Congratulations on getting your dream job at last!

  24. First Gen American Says:

    I find this fascinating. When I was younger, I didn’t know enough about myself to really know or even be able to define what a dream job would be. I just kept trying things til I found one where there was more good than bad. I’m glad you finally got that dream job. Congrats. Very happy for you.

  25. eemusings Says:

    Wooohooooo!!!!!!! Congrats!!!

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