Sunday, October 28, 2007

Job Wikis?

Back when I was on the market, I sure didn't know anything about job wikis; I'm not sure they even existed. But they do now, right?

I know minimally about the academic job wiki linked by (organized by?) the Chronicle of Higher Education. But when I checked it out, it seemed to be missing some areas. Then I started looking for specific jobs I know about, and it seems pretty hit or miss.

Does the Chron set the listings up? Are they taken off Chron advertisements? Does that mean a job that just lists in MLA Job Information List wouldn't be on there? Or do people add stuff?

I feel sort of out of things, job searching-wise, since I don't work with PhD students who are looking, nor have I been looking myself in recent years.

I'm wondering how job seekers are using the wikis? Are they useful, or just added stress?

Do any job seekers JUST look at the wikis (rather than, say, the JIL)?

Are there other wiki type resources a job seeker should know? Or forums?


  1. No, the wiki is user-generated, just like wikipedia. It's only linked to by the Chronicle.

    It's too early to look at the wiki. What people do is they post jobs as they hear back from them, to make the timeline of the response more transparent to them (and all the other applicants).

    Since the applicants are posting things, we tend to not post unless we have a question about a job or actually heard back from someone. I don't post up all the jobs I applied to (yet) because that's a waste of my time and someone else might do it while I'm doing other work. (Free rider, I know --- I think that's the definition of the wiki.)

    I found the wiki really helpful last year as schools started to ask for more materials. Nobody sent me a letter saying "you suck and we _don't_ want your materials," so I couldn't tell where I had been knocked out of the game. Seeing other people's materials requests let me know where I was and wasn't in play.

    This was especially important in mid December because I had been told "oh, you never know, all the schools call people _right_ before MLA and you have to go no matter what." But looking at the wiki I could tell most schools made their MLA calls on the 12th, the latest on the 18th. That meant I knew I pretty much had no interviews that year, and I was able to cancel my MLA trip and do all my crying at home _before_ Christmas and all the relatives were over.

    I mean, that was sucky, but it helped, in a sucky way.

  2. I find that the music wiki isn't updated very regularly. Not sure that applicants really know about it so much yet. Perhaps that's because a lot of musicians aren't so much into the Chronicle.

  3. Anonymous2:57 PM

    I found the wiki incredibly useful, for many of the reasons given by sisyphus. I ended up plugging in all of the jobs that came out in one of the major job dumps of the season last year, and did so again this year. I was procrastinating anyway, and at least that way I felt good about doing it... I do think most of the wikis have unofficial moderators. Probably a few obsessive candidates who clean it up, format it, etc. It is definitely hit and miss according to field. Ours is really boring as far as gossip, but some of them are great... I've ended up checking in all the various fields at some point. Again, procrastination...

    Is it possible to see the MLA JIL if you aren't an MLA member? I'd be curious to know what it looks like. Again, a combo of morbid curiosity and procrastination opportunity.

  4. No I've never used wikis and it doesn't seem to be big yet for my area. I just use my discipline's official job list which is free to view and is always pretty up-to-date.

  5. Anonymous5:13 AM

    It's popular in my discipline, but I avoid the wiki like the plague; for me it just adds to the stress level--"has it been updated yet? how about now? now? now?" etc.

  6. Oh yeah. Great procrastination tool. And a terrific way to feel bad about yourself--especially when you discover that Dream Job made three interview calls that morning, and you were not among them.

    However. I also found it really useful, and, like Sisyphus, would rather have my hoping ended when it should be rather than waiting breathlessly well past the day when there's even a remote possibility of getting a call.

  7. Anonymous4:00 PM

    Wow, this reminds me that I can check out wikis for my field now!! Seriously, even when I did my last job search in 2003-4 they didn't exist. Not sure if this is good or bad...

  8. Sisyphus, Thanks for explaining how it works! It's making more sense to me now.

    Terminal, Maybe musicians have a special coded way of transmitting the information?

    Anonymous, Thanks for helping me understand. I don't think you can get at the MLA JIL on line unless you're a member OR your department has a membership. At least, I wouldn't know how.

    Dr. Mon, Thanks for responding; I think it's highly area variable about the wiki and stuff, as Terminal also noted.

    Anonymous, Thanks for responding. I looked at the JIL in the lunchroom the other day, and felt my stress level rise.

    Heu Mihi, The job market keeps finding new ways to destroy egos, doesn't it. Thanks for responding.

    New Kid, Thanks for responding; I hope this is a good development, and not enabling procrastination.