My recent post on when the ecology faculty job market first became so competitive sparked a lot of good discussion, here and on social media. One point that came up is that, because the ecology faculty job market has changed over time, what might once have been good advice to ecology faculty job seekers might now be bad advice. Anecdotally, I feel like I often see this complaint from faculty job seekers in ecology (and evolution): that too many profs these days are giving bad advice, because they don’t realize how much more competitive the faculty job market is today than it was back when the prof in question was on the job market.
I sympathize deeply with anyone who’s received bad advice about the EEB faculty job market, as some people have. It’s hard enough being among the many people chasing comparatively few TT faculty positions without also receiving bad advice! I was fortunate to receive uniformly excellent advice myself, and so I’d like to do what I can to help make sure others get good advice too.
In order to improve the advice that EEB faculty job seekers receive, it would help to first know something about what advice they’ve gotten, from what sources, and how good it was. So I got to wondering: how common is it for EEB faculty job seekers to receive bad advice, or at least what they consider to be bad advice? From what sources does bad advice most commonly come? In particular, how common is it for EEB faculty job seekers to receive outdated advice, as opposed to advice that’s bad for some other reason? I wonder about that last one because, as best I can tell, almost everyone who currently holds a tenured or tenure-track faculty position in ecology experienced a very competitive job market as an applicant (i.e. was hired in 1980 or later). Plus, it’s not as if current profs only know about the faculty job market from their own experience as applicants–many have since served on search committees, for instance.
Hence this short poll! This completely anonymous poll is for everyone who holds, has held, seeks, sought, or plans to seek a tenured or tenure-track faculty position in ecology, evolution, or an allied field. Please take 60 seconds or so to fill it out! I’ll summarize the responses in a future post.