Day 26: Well That Was Embarrassing
Did anything happen this year that made you truly embarrassed? Maybe you were singing to a song in public and went off key and everyone heard you? Or perhaps one of your kids did something in public that made you silently wish you weren’t their parents? What happened? Did you handle it with grace? Did you laugh it off?
So as I’ve relayed before in previous posts, the academic job market is a long and exhausting process. During those couple of months, sometimes things happen that can be sorta embarrassing. Well it happened to me anyway. Here’s some examples:
Job Market Fail #1
I had just returned to NJ after a successful round of informal interviews at the AEJMC annual conference, which was held in Chicago that year. I was trying to be a good candidate and send out personalized emails to everyone that I had talked to. Well, writing tons of emails gets kind of tiring, so I was doing the ol’ copy and paste content into each email, changing a couple of things to make it more personalized. Well I was down to perhaps the last one or two, when I realized after I sent an email that I wrote the name of the wrong school in the email. I panicked, and went to Gmail to see if I could in any way unsend the email. I did have the unsend function, but the allotted time for that had already elapsed and I was stuck, embarrassed that I addressed these faculty members with the wrong school. So I took the high road and immediately sent another email, apologizing for the mistake. Luckily the faculty member was good natured about it and didn’t let me feel bad, but the damage was done and I was already mortified.
Job Market Fail #2
And perhaps this could count as #2 and #3 since it happened in two separate instances, at two different job interviews. I was at these interviews, being introduced to people, let it be staff members or students, and twice I was asked “Oh, are you looking to be a student here?” To which I would reply “Oh no, I’m interviewing to be a professor here!”
Now I know that I look fairly young for my age (what can I say, I’m Asian, we look the same until we are at least 40 or 50) but I was pretty embarrassed that I would be mistaken for a student when I’m trying my best to be all professional and worthy of hiring. Luckily that didn’t ruin my chances of being considered, but it does make me nervous when I do actually start as a tenure-track assistant professor. Will students take me seriously? Or will they not trust my teaching because I look their age? I have never had issues during my teaching at UMD, so hopefully the trend will continue.
So that’s it – my two/three job market fails, which were times when I was seriously embarrassed. I think I handled these occasions fairly well. Here’s hoping that nothing else too embarrassing happens to me in the near future!