Post-Interview Thoughts

After spending the weekend thinking about the interview and the school and everything, I’m about 95% sure that if they offer me this position I will try to take it.

What I mean by “try to take it” is that my current boss has made it VERY clear that he doesn’t want me to take a position this year. What I will try to do is negotiate a December start date. This will give me time at my current job to finish up my project and train someone else to take over it.

If the school doesn’t hire me (assuming I’m the candidate that they want) they’ll have to find someone to adjunct for them for an entire year. So with a December start date they’d only have to find someone to adjunct for a semester.

It seems to be the optimal solution – it benefits everyone a little, and no one completely. 😉

I loved the town that this school was in. Loved it. Since it is in Kansas and I’m such a SoCal girl, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it. But the town is fantastic. I now understand why it is at the top of the list in CNN Money’s “Best Cities to Live In”. It is so hard to describe why it was nice, but it was. It was just this feeling you got from the place.

I also met up with Okturn Delmoniq while I was in Kansas as his sister lives about a half hour from the school I interviewed at. It was very encouraging for me to know that if I did move to Kansas that I would have a friend there who was a short distance away. That was something I really missed out on here in my current location is having friends outside of work that I could build friendships with. It is nice that such an infrastructure already exists. Because it is easier to build on that to build new friendships from scratch.

The main thing I am concerned about is the salary issue. In 2006 this school was starting 9-month contracts at $39k. They had also not been able to give raises in the past 3 years. I make more than this now, not much more, but still more. My total income in 2009 was over $42k when I include my teaching income and will be closer to $45-46k in 2010.

The chair of the department let me know that the new Vice President of Academic Affairs (he has only been there a year) has completely changed the salaries at the school to be more competitive. All the old employees are getting up to the new salaries in 3 raises over the next 3 years, apparently this year they got a 12% raise (nice!).

From what I understand new employees will start with the new salary scheme. I won’t know exactly what the scheme is until/unless they offer me a position, but I went and looked at the old school that this VP was at before he went to the school in Kansas. It is also in the Midwest, with the same cost of living index, and faculty members there were making $43k/9-months starting in 2006. So I think it is safe to assume that the new scheme will be at least this much, if not more.

I wanted $45/k for a 9-month, so if they did offer me this or more than it would be awesome.

The 9-month contracts are weird and something that I’ll have to get used to – and I’m sure if I get this position you’ll be hearing me talk about it quite a bit about budgeting for them.

Essentially, since my obligation to the school is only during the academic school year, you only get paid for 9 months of work. That is what my contract would be for.

You can choose to get paid this 9-month salary over the period of 12 months, or over just 9 months. I would probably choose 9-months just so I could make money on the interest of my extra salary over those months. Of course this would require some mad budgeting skills and dedication to stay on budget!

There are also ways that you can get salary in your 3 off months.

  • Teach summer classes (with full enrollment)
  • Get grants to fill in summer salary (very possible with science folks)
  • Get a summer job (yuck, but also doable, especially as a research assistant)

The summer classes at this school work such that you can schedule WHATEVER class you want over the summer. They’ll have the class if you get 3 students in it. You get your full salary if there are 7 students. If you’re between 3-6 students you just get a % of your full salary – a higher percent for the more students that you have.

You can also get paid more for teaching over your required teaching load. For instance, my teaching load would be 12 units a semester or 24 a year. If I teach 12 units one semester and 14 units the next, I would get paid extra for the extra 2 units. So if you really wanted your summers off and not to make that much less you could teach 15 units a semester for the Fall and Summer and use that extra salary in the summer.

12 units seems like such a breeze to me. I know there will be other faculty related duties that I’ll have. But I taught 8 units in the spring here while working a full time job. So only having to teach 1 more class (most science classes are 4 units, 3 lecture and 1 for lab) sounds heavenly!

Okay, now I’m just rambling. They are interviewing their other candidate tomorrow and I assume that if they want me over the other person I’ll know on Thursday or Friday. Hopefully Thursday, I hate waiting. 😉

Then I will have to start having the hard conversations with my boss. Not looking forward to that, but I know that this is a school I want to be at. I know I can make a difference here. And I know that the things in my life that are important (ie making a difference in the world) will be encouraged here. When I talked to the VP of Academic Affairs about my desire to help people with water sanitation and things of this nature he just told me: “That’s fantastic. Make a plan and we will find a way to make it happen.”

That is exactly what I want – a school that doesn’t think these are pipe dreams but encourages me to use my talents to make a change in the world for the better.

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2 Responses to Post-Interview Thoughts

  1. I hope you get it. The comments from your interviewer seem very encouraging. Do you think there’s the possibility of you moving to SD after a year few years in Kansas? Is it a tenure-track position?

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