The candidate who shot up to the top of the list of interviewees was the one who answered the question of “Why are you interested in this position?” with an honest “Because I need a job, and the job market is horrible.”

It was so refreshing to hear an honest answer and to see a glimpse of humanity in the candidate. Mostly, people answer with “Because I’m dedicated to teaching and I fully agree with the core mission of your university which is [cue a long verbatim quote from the university website]” or “Because I’m dedicated to teaching and I’m excited about using the language lab at your department which [cue a long verbatim quote from our departmental website.] 

Yes, you are totally willing to relocate to Illinois from California because you are so excited about our language lab. That’s so believable.

I understand that people are anxious but nobody at the committee could even remember the person we interviewed on Thursday because his robotic answers faded from our memories in two minutes. 


People are so formalistic. I suggested that during the Merit Review we give all our colleagues the rankings they gave themselves and avoid dragging it out in a meeting. There is no merit pay, so this is all just an empty formality. Besides, people gave themselves very fair and realistic rankings. But no, we have to go through the whole charade anyway. Bleh.

Microaggressions Workshop

I have to sign up for faculty development workshops at least once a year. So I signed up for a workshop on how to deal with microaggressions because at least I can get some fun out of it. It’s on Wednesday, and it’s a pity I still won’t have my phone because I would have blogged the hell out of it. People will give examples of microaggressions experienced by our students and stuff. Hilarious!

P.S. WordPress doesn’t like the word microaggressions. This must mean that not enough academics are blogging.


Klara is very Russian, in spite of the name. Today she was uninterested in the fruit puree, the rice or the berries that I tried offering her. Then I noticed that she was eyeing my buckwheat and gave her some. And you should have seen how happily she gobbled it up. This is real buckwheat, mind you, not that weird kashi crap from a box.

Back when I was an undergrad and had my first American boyfriend, the poor fellow came by, saw my buckwheat on the stove, and begged me never to feed him because “it looks very scary.”