Tea Review: More Adagio

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Adagio Peach Tea
This black peach tea from Adagio is absolutely fantastic with some milk in it. Really very, very good.

Adagio White Blueberry Tea
Surprisingly low on the blueberry flavoring, this Blueberry White Tea from Adagio is alright. White teas are usually paired with fruit, but I don't think I've had blueberry in my collection yet.

Adagio Green Rooibos Bonita - Properly Brewed
This Adagio Green Rooibos Bonita supposedly has peach and strawberry in it, but all I can taste is the citrus. It's rather nice for a rooibos, but not as nice as this next one...

Adagio Caramel Almond Vanilla Rooibos
YAS. This "Hugs and Kisses" Rooibos Tea from Adagio is "blended with rooibos tea, rose petals, blue cornflowers, natural almond flavor, natural caramel flavor, natural creme flavor & natural vanilla flavor". It's very very good, if you like a naturally decaffeinated rooibos with a bunch of sweetness. I'm a fan.

Faculty Jobs: Reflections on Negotiation

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Now that we're really getting into territory that I'm not an expert on, might I recommend Stanford's Career Center Guide for PhDs? Page 36, in particular, includes "36 Negotiable Items in an Academic Position". This is very useful to read. As is talking to your fellow students who have recently obtained assistant professor jobs, your PhD advisors and/or postdoc mentors, as well as any contacts you may have at similar institutions.

The Professsor Is In also has some posts about negotiating offers: (1) How To Negotiate Your Tenure Track Offer, (2) Negotiating Your Tenure-Track Offer(s), (3) Stop Negotiating Like a Girl, and (4) Category Archives: Negotiating Offers. The Professor Is In even does negotiation consulting for about $500, here: TPII: Services and Rates.

University in Vermont

So there's lots of lists that include what to negotiate for at a higher level. But what do the items in these lists include? I'm going to list some specific items. These aren't necessarily what I requested, but maybe it'll give you a good feeling for what can be requested? I stuck every item I wanted into a spreadsheet with (1) the item (and quantity), (2) price, (3) frequency needed (once, every year, etc.), (4) URL, and (5) Note/Justification. Just remember, I don't actually know if I did any of this successfully or not ;)

I included everything I could think of needing for my first three years, even if I knew the school would be supplying that (i.e., a desk, student funding, etc.) from alternative sources outside of the start-up package. I told the search committee representative (who was negotiating with administration on my behalf) that we could discuss what items on this list are being provided by other resources, so s/he knew that I was open to items being removed from my proposal.

Do not spend excessive amounts of time finding the best deal, in fact, quote the price of the highest quality version of the item you can find. You might be stuck with that item for quite awhile!
  1. Salary: 5-10% increase. Research says women tend to avoid negotiating, so I made it a point of feminism to request this, no matter how uncomfortable I felt about it (i.e., very). Your justifications are either your qualifications or other comparable offers you have (careful).
  2. Start-up package (first 3 years):
    1. People: Student researchers (number of grad students, undergrads, etc.) during the school year and during the summer, Transcription services, Human subjects payment funds, Research programmer time, Lab managers?, ...
    2. (Equipment) Computers: Laptop and desktop, Laptop docking station, Ergonomic keyboard, Ergonomic mouse, Wrist rests, Monitors, Monitor stands, Powered USB hub, Port adapters, Printer/Scanner, Speakers, Headphone/Mic set, USB Conference phone, Webcam, Pointer/Clicker, Other things you need to virtually collaborate or give presentations...
    3. (Equipment) Research Equipment: Audio recorders, Video recorder, Tripods, Student/Lab computers, Mobile devices, Mobile device camera stand, Bamboo tablet, 3D Printer, Laser cutter, Eye tracker, Virtual Reality whatever, High speed computation access, Other specialized equipment you need to do your research...
    4. Software: Statistical software & add-ons, Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, Data Visualization Software, Cloud server storage (AWS?), Professional Github Account, Mobile Developer Licenses for you + students, Other software/digital licenses needed to do your research or presentations/publications, ...
    5. Furniture: Ergonomic chair, Ergonomic keyboard, Ergonomic mouse, Adjustable standing desk, Standing mat, Sitting chair, Task lamp, Whiteboard, Rollable Whiteboard, Bulletin board, Lockable filing cabinet (for you and students, if needed), Bookshelves, Stuff you'll need in your lab space...
    6. Space: Office, Lab/Desks for students, Human subjects room/closet, ... (Note: Liberal arts colleges tend to be a bit squishier on the space-front)
    7. Miscellaneous Office: Money for books and articles, Money for printer ink/paper, Research poster printing funds, Money for assorted office supplies, Professional memberships, ...
    8. Travel Funds:
      1. Money for conferences you're presenting at
      2. Money for conferences you're not presenting at (Justification: Networking)
      3. Money for PC meetings
      4. Money for workshops
      5. Money to send students to conferences, etc.
  3. Moving Funds: Get an online quote or two to move your belongings and car. If you're going to drive your car, there's a government reimbursement rate for mileage you can find online.
  4. The Internet recommends other categories: Extended time to consider the offer, Guaranteed junior sabbatical, Summer salary, Starting date, Paid visit to look at houses, Spousal positions, Summer insurance, Purchasing your graduation regalia, etc. etc. Ask around. Do your research. I've emptied my pockets of ideas.
The Professor Is In says to never accept an offer the day you receive it. She also says to request the offer in writing, and not to negotiate before you have that. However, every academic institution I spoke with wanted to know my start-up package and salary demands before writing an official (PDF) offer. So, while theoretically it may make more sense not to negotiate until after the official offer is provided, practically, I'm not sure if that ever happens.

Things To Ask About

  1. Expiration/Extension of start-up package funds
  2. Starting date (expected arrival / expected paychecks)
  3. What happens if I use up all my start-up funds before the 3 years is up?
  4. Faculty housing
  5. Look up benefits/insurance
  6. Know the tenure and sabbatical clock
College in Pennsylvania

Handling Multiple Offers and Various Timelines

Having multiple offers is a great problem to have, but it also introduces a great deal of pressure and stress. Quite simply, the schools on the earlier timeline (November and prior) will interview you in December and produce an offer the week of Xmas. Meanwhile, you're still waiting on campus visit invitations for January and February. Once you get an offer, you should tell any schools you've remote interviewed with in which you're still interested that you've received an offer with a decision deadline of __/__/__.

Thus begins the never ending dragging out! Academic institutions want you to accept within a week of the offer being extended. You can usually pretty easily get this pushed back an additional week. But two weeks won't be enough for the other institutions you've notified to give you a campus visit and offer. So you have two options: (1) begin negotiations or (2) be very grateful and appreciative as you decline the offer. If you do begin negotiations and you continue to get additional offers, then you may be able to get additional time, or decline less ideal options as you go.

In general, you should not decline an offer unless you (1) really don't wish to work there or (2) you've accepted another offer. This was advice I was given, and it nearly killed this honest-to-a-fault lady. So. I don't know what advice to give. These timeline pressures are awful, and I hated it, and I'm glad things magically worked out the way they did. And it's over. Thanks be to the FSM.

College in Upstate New York

Success: Spinach Sheet Pan Quiche [omg]

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Spinach Sheet Pan Quiche

This is far too much quiche for one person.
Thankfully, Jim is back from Korea. And there's always the Dizz. She's a real spinach and pie crust lover, lol.

SmittenKitchen's Spinach Sheet Pan Quiche is pretty darn easy (if you purchase the pie crusts from the refrigerator section), fantastically delicious, and absolutely busting at the seams with spinach. It is really quite tasty.


Spinach Sheet Pan Quiche
Spinach Sheet Pan Quiche

I've already made this twice. So. It's a keeper.

San Francisco: Fun Home

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Curran Theater - Fun Home
Between a friend's birthday celebration in Union Square and Alison Bechdel's "Fun Home" musical 4 blocks away the next day, it made sense to Hotwire ourselves a schmancy hotel for a night and purchase late night street pizza.

The musical was very good. Not uplifting, but there were definitely some wonderful moments of humor and levity. At the very least, it's not Hamilton, so you can actually get tickets!

All part of our Bay Area bucket list. Only 5 months left, must do all the things!

Outside The Curran Theater View from Nob Hill
Geary Street
The Marker

Tea Review: Tea Selection from The House of Tea

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Overall, the teas from The House of Tea tend to be a bit subtler in flavor than my usual Adagio teas. This generally means I go through it a bit faster since they require a bit more intense of a leaf top-up for second and third steepings.

Decaf Vanilla Tea
Decaf Vanilla Tea. I like this tea, and it's especially nice because it's decaf. So it's a black tea alternative for nighttime, when I'm not feeling the rooibos.

Apple Tea
Apple Tea. Also quite good, but could do with a bit more apple. Fruity black teas are a nice thing to have around.

Peach Apricot Black Tea
Peach Apricot Black Tea. Smells heavenly and is delightful with a bit of milk. Peaches 'n cream. I'm always fascinated by these more pebbly-looking teas. Must be a different drying technique?

Ginger Lemon Green Tea
Ginger Lemon Green Tea. Hearkens to the German Green Power Tea of yore, but with less lemon/ginger and more green tea.

Rose Mint Tea
Rose Mint. This one's a bit flakier than the others, and lots 'o wee leaf bits made their way into my tea. Otherwise, this one's heavy on the mint flavoring. 'Can always use more rose (Rose black tea being one of my must haves...that I currently do not have, ha!).

Faculty Jobs: Sample Assistant Professor Job Search Timeline

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

There's a fantastic sample academic job timeline at the end of this reflections on assistant professor job search, so I thought I'd fill out a bit of my own timeline here, as well. Knowing what other people's timelines were gives a good feel for what to expect. It also shows that it's a good idea to have your application materials ready by October, and that you should begin immediate preparation of your job talk. The speedy arrival of the interviews really surprised me! Of course, if you don't plan to apply anywhere until December, then the schedule can be adjusted. But there are plenty of deadlines in October and November, so procrastinate at your own risk.

Generally, there were several waves of application deadlines: [mid-]October, [mid-]November, early-December, and later. More selective institutions typically have December++ deadlines, but that's not always the case. I applied rather liberally to nearly any school in the northeast with less than 3 class preps per semester, so this left me with a rather wide spread of ~30 schools, with deadlines all over October, November, and December, resulting in the timelines below.

K College (liberal arts)
Application Deadline: 10/1/16
Remote Interview Invitation: 10/19/16
Remote Interview: 11/7/16 (delayed due to schedule conflict)

E University
Application Deadline: 10/1/16
Remote Interview Invitation: None
Remote Interview: None
On-Campus Interview Invitation: 11/16/16
On-Campus Interview: 12/8/16
Unofficial Job Offer Phone Call: 12/16/16
Job Offer Deadline: 1/9/17 (declined 1/9/17)

A College (liberal arts)
Application Deadline: 10/10/16
Remote Interview Invitation: 10/13/16
Remote Interview: 10/17/16
On-Campus Interview Invitation: 10/21/16
On-Campus Interview: 11/10/16 (delayed due to schedule conflict)
Unofficial Job Offer Phone Call: 12/20/16
Job Offer Deadline: 1/9/17 (pushed until 1/19/17, due to being one of my top choices; declined)

E Institute
Application Deadline: 10/15/16
Remote Interview Invitation: 12/2/16
Remote Interview: 12/15/16
On-Campus Interview Invitation: 12/21/16
On-Campus Interview: Declined, due to other offers

A University (comprehensive)
Application Deadline: 10/24/15
Remote Interview Invitation: 11/3/16
Remote Interview: 11/8/16
On-Campus Interview Invitation: 11/17/16
On-Campus Interview: 12/9/16
Unofficial Job Offer Phone Call: 12/19/16
Job Offer Deadline: 12/23/16 (pushed until 1/6/17, as they were in my top two) (pushed again until 1/12/17 and declined at that time)

O University
Application Deadline: 11/1/16
Remote Interview Invitation: 1/27/17
Remote Interview: 2/9/17 (declined 1/27/17 due to accepted offer)

R College (liberal arts)
Application Deadline: 11/1/16
Remote Interview Invitation: 11/17/16
Remote Interview: 11/22/16
On-Campus Interview Invitation: 11/29/16
On-Campus Interview: 12/12/16
Unofficial Job Offer Phone Call: 12/23/16
Job Offer Deadline: 12/28/16 (declined 12/28/16 due to other offers)

B College (liberal arts)
Application Deadline: 11/10/16
Remote Interview Invitation: 11/14/16
Remote Interview: 11/16/16

M College (liberal arts)
Application Deadline: 11/14/16
Remote Interview Invitation: 11/28/16
Remote Interview: 12/8/16

D College (liberal arts)
Application Deadline: 11/18/16
Remote Interview Invitation: 12/1/16
Remote Interview: 12/2/16
On-Campus Interview Invitation: 2/6/17 (delayed due to first search failure)

U University
Application Deadline: 11/28/16
Remote Interview Invitation: 2/4/17
Remote Interview: 2/10/17 (declined 2/5/17 due to accepted offer)

Y College (liberal arts)
Application Deadline: 12/1/16
Remote Interview Invitation: 12/12/16
Remote Interview: 12/14/16
On-Campus Interview Invitation: 12/19/16 (accelerated due to existing offers)
On-Campus Interview: 1/3/16
Unofficial Job Offer Phone Call: 1/12/17
Job Offer Deadline: 1/20/17 (Accepted)

L University
Application Deadline: 12/1/16
Remote Interview Invitation: 12/9/16
Remote Interview: 12/14/16 (a second one 12/20/16)
On-Campus Interview Invitation: 12/21/16 (accelerated due to existing offers)
On-Campus Interview: 1/11/17
Withdrawn after accepting an offer

R University
Application Deadline: 12/1/16
Remote Interview Invitation: 12/6/16
Remote Interview: 12/14/16
On-Campus Interview Invitation: 12/20/16 (accelerated due to existing offers)
On-Campus Interview: 1/17/16
Withdrawn after accepting an offer

O Institute
Application Deadline: None listed (applied 10/10/16)
Remote Interview Invitation: 12/21/16 (first round, with insinuation of there possibly being a second round of remote interviews)
Remote Interview: 1/9/17 (declined 12/28/16 due to existing offers)

T Institute
Application Deadline: None listed (applied 10/8/16)
Remote Interview Invitation: 2/9/17
Remote Interview: 2/13/17 (declined 2/9/17 due to accepted offer)

It should be noted that academic institutions do not send rejections. Not at the applications-stage, nor the phone interview stage, nor the on-campus interview stage. So I simply left out the non-responsive locales to which I applied, leaving just the above. This is out of ~30 total applications.

At the airport

A Special Note on Declining Offers

The most professional way to decline an offer (as instructed by my academic career coach) is to decline over the phone, and then follow-up via email. I did this rather inconsistently, only when it made sense. Whatever works.

Snow from the plane

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