In these difficult times perhaps I should be glad to have a job at all when so many within the academic profession are struggling to make ends meet. But an article in the Chronicle this week raises the possibility of a sideways move from one permanent job to another, simply to work at a different institution. Is this something to consider? Read the full article here.
One of the most interesting points that the article raises is the issue of the scattergun approach to job applications by candidates looking for their first permanent position. Realistically we apply for anything and everything, desperate to get a foot in the door. Because we have not been able to be selective, Drew Kempe argues, we may feel that it is time to move on from our first job within a few years.
Of course many people change institutions in order to take a job more senior to their current one. But is there any merit in moving sideways into a similar sort of role? Well, there certainly is if your personal circumstances have changed, or you have some deep seated dis-satisfaction with your current institution. It could also be possible that, as Kempe suggests, your confidence has grown, you have a real sense of your position within the profession and you are ambitious for a change.
But some of the comments in response to Kempe’s article show that it is very important not to leave your present institution under a cloud. Remember they were the ones who hired you when noone else would and even if you have ‘grown apart’, you do not want to get a reputation as an academic mercenary. So, show them the respect they deserve by not leaving them in the lurch and not criticising their approach publicly. And good luck in the new job search!