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Just graduate, trying to find teaching job in only ONE city


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"Just graduateD" (sorry)

I’d like to know what others think about trying to locate a teaching position- assistant professor or lecture (tenure-track or not) in one specific city or metro area.

I haven’t reached this stage yet, but my partner and I are moving to a major city on the west coast once I have completed my doctorate because his business is there. Because of this, I will be concentrating all of my energy, at roughly four major universities, all within the same state-wide system and a few smaller private colleges. Will this hurt my chances of being able to find a permanent job? I assume this situation comes up a lot for couples who want to move to specific areas because of their spouse’s work or other reasons. Anyone have any experiences?

Edited by anti
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Yes, of course it will hurt your chances, although it largely depends on your field.

Your profile seems to indicate that you are an English PhD. Even top English PhD graduates who cast a nationwide net and apply to pretty much every job in their field have a difficult time finding assistant professor positions - even the ones who are willing to move to Podunk in a flyover state (whatever they consider a flyover state) just to teach. The market is suffering a persistent, long-standing oversupply of English PhDs. If you are concentrating all of your efforts on one particular city/geographic region, you are limiting your chances of finding a professor job very severely. This is especially true if it's a popular major city, since many people want to be in a major city and you will be competing for positions with other new grads, recent grads who have been adjunct teaching for several years, and assistant (and maybe associate) profs who are currently stuck in Podunk and want to move to a bigger city. Most likely, you won't get one. You may get lucky, of course. And this applies less if you are a superstar (you know, two books in hand, third on the way, and a large portable grant).

You may not have much trouble finding adjunct positions or even a non-tenure track lecturer position at one of those colleges. Colleges, especially large publics and community colleges, often need people to teach first-year composition and similar courses. Adjunct positions teaching those classes should be relatively plentiful, although of course you will be competing with the other English PhD holders already in the city. Full-time lecturer positions, not so much, but you may be able to snag one.

Personally, I think you should develop a Plan B. Perhaps you can apply for other full-time jobs related to your field (or even completely outside it) and adjunct "on the side," so to speak?

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Not to be a negative nancy, but I had a conversation with one of my professors recently on this topic and he had said he knew of a couple - both were PhDs and one had a tenure track job on the West Coast, while the other found one on the East Coast. They kept the relationship going, got married, had children and had a commuting relationship for 10+ years until one of the spouses got a job on the Other Coast. Then they finally got to live together. It's not the same field as you're in but I thought the anecdote might help with an idea of very real difficulties and real-life solutions that people find during tough job markets.

And to add to it, once this discussion got going I found out that I know 2 other professors, just at my uni who have similar commuting relationships.

Good Luck :)

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Going along with what anthroDork said, I know a guy who got a TT position on the West Coast (where they wanted to live) after his wife had already started a TT position on the East Coast (which they didn't like so well). They tried really hard to get her a job near his university, but no luck...so he eventually (after ~3 years of trying to get two jobs in one city) ended up taking a job at a school near his wife's. They really don't like it there, but they're happy that they no longer have to do the commuting thing.

Good luck with your search. And keep us posted, will you? I also am geographically limited (joint custody with the ex) and am always curious to see how these things work out.

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We're not moving to California, but thanks for the tip.

@Unlikely Grad & AnthroDork-

We definitely wouldn't split up and do long distance as we've been there and done that. I would be more likely to find a job outside of teaching before it would come to that. I'm just mainly concerned that even with a mildly impressive CV, it may still be difficult to get my foot in the door if my department isn't looking to hire.

Please anyone else with comments or thoughts, share! I'd love to hear them.

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