Adventures on the employment front

A happily anonymous friend writes of her recent job interview at an institution which will also remain happily anonymous:
The [adjective applying name of university] were not exactly a love at first sight. They are more like a former polytechnic with an excellent business school, 5 sociology people total so far, no research funds of their own, they were even asking how much money exactly I will be able to bring per semester if [name of a perfectly innocent friend whose project we work on]'s project continues, and can I guarantee that the article that I have under revision is going to be published by December 2008 (RAE cut-off deadline). Plus (or minus) large teaching load with students who take sociology for instrumental reasons mostly. Ooh, I should also mention one puffin-guy with a "am I not an aristocrat bohemian" look, who asked if for my research on antinationalism and women's groups I would not use Žižek's work on hegemony? My reply: I could not possibly rely on my concepts of hegemony vs. nationalism taken from a person whose empirical knowledge ends with the view of his kitchen (if that). There was also a [name of an academic discipline which is not ours] professor with the look "I should be at a better university" who asked how I would object to some Weberian criticism that what I am doing is too political. My reply: I don't think that Weber suggested that we abandon politics.

Hideous poor library they have for social sciences, old books, no money for JSTOR database even. But business school is thriving.

On the top of all, they staged the interviews like it was recruitment for a professorship, asking candidates to make two different presentations to two different audiences. I should say that there were some quite friendly faculty people who also looked like they would be trying to get jobs elsewhere.

Thank you, my comrades-musketeers, for writing the letters, let's hope that if you would be pestered to write them again it would be for a more research oriented interesting place. The proximity to [toponyms for locations more appealing than the unnamed one] was the primary reason for me applying. Apart from that, I, of course, do have some torments of conscience for criticizing [unnamed university], because such universities have 2, 3 times larger presence of students children of newer immigrants than, say, Uni [deleted toponym which appears frequently in the work of Billy Bragg]. And now you know everything you always did not need to know about [unnamed university].

One bonus detail I just remembered from yesterday:
Professor Dr. Herr [surname of a person] also asked (cautiously half-smiling like he feared I may jump and bite if he moves too swiftly) if I had instances when people were strongly objecting to what I am saying in class (I think he meant if some Serbs and Albanians were attempting to murder me or each other in my classes). The question really is why one SHOULD be AFRAID of that while doing research, and since when it is ordered that we should try not to disturb feelings of hatred or ignorance. Long live intellectuals' courage Made in the West (sadly it WAS made in the West)!
I am happy to say that she is happily employed at a happier place than this one.



As the weeks drag on from January's elections in Serbia, there is still no governing coalition in sight. SRS got more seats than any other party, but no party will enter into a coalition with it. DSS took a distant third, but cannot countenance the possibility of losing complete control over both the premiership and the "power" ministries. DS leads the pack among the Loose Grouping of Parties That Are Not SRS, but is demanding more than DSS is willing to give. G-17+ is happy just to be there, and LDP is not on anybody's list of coalition partners nor does it want to be.

Today the junior partner of DSS, Velimir Ilić, floated the possibility that everyone has been muttering under their breath since the elections: that DSS and whatever the heck his party is called would try to form a minority government with the support of SRS, which would be handed control over the parliament. It is not as implausible as it sounds, since DSS has experience with governing as a minority with distasteful backbench support, and DSS has more in common with SRS than with its other potential coalition partners. A government of this type would be short-lived, chaotic, and phenomenally unsuccessful, and at the cost of doing lasting damage to the country would have the beneficial side effect of demolishing DSS. A victory worthy of Pyrrhus of Epirus, in the eyes of some.

Naturally, it is not to be. SRS quickly declared that they were not disposed to carry the weight of another party's failure, and Mr Ilić's effort to scare his coalition partners into submission backfired. So now it is back to pretending to carry out negotiations with people he fully intends to stab in the back, and to treating the electorate as though its principal duty is to assure that anybody who once controlled a ministry will always have large quantities of public property at their disposal.