(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!