Thursday, January 24, 2008

interest and rejection

i knew my looming dissertation defense and job-application period would provide a lot of moment-to-moment excitement in my life, but somehow i didnt anticipate the degree of my emotional highs and lows! i've finished applying for the majority of post-doctoral positions now, and am eagerly awaiting the results. i applied for about 20 positions and i've heard back from many of them. the unofficial-official date in the US for job offers in astronomy is february 15th. international posts tend to work on slightly different time frames, but they know that most applicants for US "prize fellowships" (hubble, spitzer, NSF, chandra, etc...) will hold out at least until the beginning of february to hear from these fellowships!

last week, i was disappointed to receive a scathing rejection *email* from one of the prize fellowship committee, reminding all of us applicants that any variation on the detailed application format was highly frowned upon. i understand this complaint from people who are reading over 100 5-page applications, but the message seemed so negative... especially compared to the email i received last night. this was absolutely the most wonderfully-worded rejection letter i could ever receive, starting out with....
My colleagues and I were very grateful to receive your impressive application, which is supported by strong letters of reference that indicate how highly your professors regard you and your research.

i was so sad when i reached the gigantic BUT part of the letter. oh well.

the thing that gets me more than receiving a constructive-criticism-negative-rejection letter, is receiving absolutely no acknowledgement what-so-ever! i've worked on detailed applications, asked very busy collaborators to write me letters of recommendation, and then i've heard absolutely no response from multiple places. it's horrible to hear offers made to other people via the astrophysics job rumor mill but hear nothing personally!! it's like not calling someone back who asks you out on a date, just because you think it will let them down easier! i think thats horrible!! just tell me "no" so i can deal with it and move on!

aside from all this venting, i feel confident i will get a job that i will be perfectly happy with.... it's just a roller coaster ride to find it!

anyway, i've been ridiculously busy with planning my defense, interviewing for jobs, and teaching classes, so i havent been able to update as much as i'd like. the good news is that i met with my committee today and set a final date for my dissertation defense.... may 15th. eek! i will be ready by that point. it seems far away, but my family wanted to reserve plane tickets to come down and support me... which i very much appreciate!!

i came home tonight and celebrated the official date by opening my last bottle of fantastic chilean wine. woo hoo! cheers!


changcho said...

Good luck with everything. What kind/brand of Chilean wine was that last bottle?

astropixie said...

it was a crimson bottle of misiones de rengo - a nice deep carmenere!

changcho said...

Mmh, I don't know that one. I like the Casilleros del Diablo...Cheers.

Daniel said...

Congratulations on that photo! I really like the effect of the moon in your hand.

Best of luck with those job applications. At one time I thought I heard that 95% of Astronomy majors wind up as computer programmers. Something I wish I'd known when I went to college in the 1980s.

Is this still true or always an urban legend?

astropixie said...

95% is a pretty high percentage and i would have to disagree. in all honesty, i have no idea what the percentage is. but from the students i entered graduate school with, my estimate is closer to 15%!