I am not a young kid, and I’ve been on a lot of job interviews, including some bad ones. But this past week really took the cake.
I even got offered the job. With a reduction in my rank and a $10k pay cut over my current position.
Because, after all, it wouldn’t be fair to put me ahead of the other new hires. No matter that unlike the others who are fresh out of school, I’ve got experience and awards behind me to establish my worth.
There was reason to see this coming, and I put my chin up and my best face forward for the interview knowing that was the only possible way to succeed.
The guy got on a power trip talking about all the other people who he had forced into taking a pay cut and/or reduction in rank.
But not me.
Funny how you can even see it coming, know it’s wrong, know it isn’t about you, and it still hurts. A lot.
Do I write to withdraw my application for the position early next week? Or I can let them go through the paperwork to make me the offer on paper, and then refuse it. Which will have the biggest effect?
I would think about the people who have to get involved in assembling the paperwork. They probably aren’t the person you spoke with, and it’s work, on their part. Hmm, to be fair to those people, who are probably underpaid and undervalued, I’d cut to the chase and make it clear that you aren’t interested in a position for which you are clearly overqualified. I could see saying something along the lines of, “From my experience in visiting, I have come to see that there is no mechanism for accommodating qualified, experienced lecturers in accordance with opportunities available elsewhere, only lecturers who are brand new to teaching, and so I wish to withdraw my application.” Make it clear WHY, but don’t bother drawing it out.
I suppose the only other thing that might be worth bringing up is your involvement in projects that rely on other money streams (e.g. NSF). You’ve mentioned involvement in the grant-writing stages, no? Not in the sense that you want to wind up being paid off of soft money (ack! definitely not!), but in the sense that the department at hand might want to spend some time reflecting on how it currently uses or fails to use its current assets (i.e. lecturers). If people can’t understand that it’s better to pay you more because you bring in more assets and experience (and help generate programs and projects and grant money!), they’re small-minded. I have to wonder if the interviewer failed to realize this in the interview.
It’s too bad for them, really. Even if it could have been a good place in other ways, if it can’t provide you with compensation that’s commensurate with your value, you won’t be able to succeed in that environment. A friend of mine with the two-body problem spent around three (agonizing) full years applying for jobs and looking for the right fit. She turned down five really good job offers (really, really good ones…painful to turn down) before finding a department and institution that recognized the value of her work AND her partner’s work. She was super-determined about the idea that the perfect situation existed and she and her partner could get there. I want to invite her out to A&M to give a talk at some point.
And man, I am not looking forward to that stage of things. But I’ll put on my best business face for it, I suppose.
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Set your boundaries, tell them what you require (salary-wise and title-wise) in order for you to accept the postion. I think if you wait until the offer, that puts you in a stronger bargaining position. But lastly, think long-term, down the road, what is the best choice to make. I have known people to take a pay cut they knew would be temporary in order to get higher pay later on. Of course it’s you that has to make the decision as to what will be best, but if it were me, I would definitely think “what would be best in the long run?” …. If you are a good candidate and they want you, they usually come around to what you require of them, especially if you are head and shoulders above the rest of the applicants. Good luck and best wishes.
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