Congratulations! One of your graduate students has accepted a position with a college or university. Right now you feel:
- Disappointed that the market is so tough this year
- Baffled at his/her choice
- Glad s/he will be clear across the country.
The position is:
- A tenure-track professorship at a major research university
- A teaching-centric job at a prestigious liberal arts college
- At some mediocre school whose name you can’t remember
- Not in academia
- In (sotto voce) administration.
Remember when he or she was just a wee young first-year student?
- No, like medieval parents, I never name them until they’ve survived a year
- Yes, s/he was so overwhelmed and eager, like a puppy
- Yes, what an arrogant little know-it-all
- Yes, but only because I’m great with names.
S/he worked in your lab because:
- I recruit anyone with that much potential
- S/he was so fascinated by our research
- The chair said I had to take him/him
- I’m not sure we could actually call it “work.”
In your letter of reference, you referred to him/her as:
- “One of the brightest students I have ever had the privilege of teaching”
- “I know hyperbole is common, but s/he really is the best I’ve ever encountered in 30 years”
- “A serious researcher with a true passion for science”
- “Competent, with a flair for drama.”
When you see him or her at the next conference, you will:
- Not a chance – there won’t be any travel funds with that job
- Give him/her a hearty slap on the back and offer to buy a drink
- Chat politely if they insist on talking to you
- Beg for a job.