Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Notes on an Interview

Time for a bit of debriefing on my interview last week. To set the scene, the interview was for an institutional research gig at my GradU. It was a number-crunching position for the university at large.

The first half of the interview was just with the associate director, who would be my direct supervisor. It was a bit of "this is what we do," since so few people actually know, and a bit of "here's my standard list of questions." Ze was a bit brusque but was also dealing with a phone call, an email, and two questions from analysts in the hour we talked. I had my list of questions to ask hit all ready and asked most of those that were not answered in the course of our talk.

The second half of the interview was with that associate director and some of the analysts. There were 5 analysts there. We all introduced ourselves and insanity ensued. One of the analysts clearly had English as a second or third language and was difficult to understand. Ze also asked a question about religion that several people at the table squashed and told hir that ze couldn't ask that. I felt really sorry for hir because they all pretty much jumped down her throat. Another analyst had 3 solid pages, single-spaced, of questions to ask me. The rest were just sort of flying by the seat of their pants. The conversation went off on several tangents with several topics set aside for their Thursday staff meeting. I had a list of questions for them as well and asked a few, but tried to avoid anything that might be sensitive in the situation.

All in all, I think it went relatively well. It was odd but they were an odd bunch. I don't mind odd. I'm pretty odd. Put all together, I felt like it could be a good fit for 5-10 years. Ten years would be handy because I could get the 10-year loan forgiveness that way. Loaners would never see that money, bwahahaha!

My only issue was that during the talk, the director pointed out (and the analysts kind of confirmed) that people who get into institutional research stay there forever. I like crunching data and the interview confirmed that they do a lot of different kinds of crunching and there's a lot of variety however, the idea that this would be all I do for the rest of my life is terrifying. And there was very little room to move up in the organization. It was definitely something to consider.

Additionally, there's drama at GradU. Serious drama. I'm worried that if I move back there I'll get pulled into the drama and revert to my bad habits as a grad student. Risking temptation seems to be one of those lifestyle factors you can't really measure ahead of time but it's still something to consider. And Boyfriend would be a 5.5 drive away. That would suck.

On the ego boost side, I ran into the professor I used to TA for in the parking lot. Ze gave me a hug and commiserated about being unemployed (ze was for awhile after hir degree). Ze said "If it's any consolation, all my grad TAs have sucked since you left." Aww, shucks, thanks. Ze used to call me hir Girl Friday. Good to know I'm irreplaceable that way.

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