Friday, March 28, 2014

misc job market notes

  1. The sensation of probability distributions collapsing is very, very, satisfying.
  2. When you've been on a different timezone every couple days for a month, there seems to be no inappropriate time to partake of the free beer on international long haul flights...
  3. Airports that only have seats with immovable armrests are at the top of my list of pet peeves. The floors are almost always less confortable than just sleeping sitting up, or draped awkwardly over your luggage in an adjacent seat.
  4. Jetlag is a great sign: it means you're not so sleep deprived that your body is happy to sleep at absolutely any hour.
  5. The effort I put into appearances dropped quite steeply as sleep deprivation accumulated. Straightening your hair goes out the window in favor of a somewhat messy looking hairclip and half an hour of extra sleep, and touch-up ironing hardly seems worthwhile at midnight.
  6. I am always star-struck when economists I respect are enthusiastic about my paper. And I always conceitedly assume the ones who like it must be particularly smart :) (Really, it's much more correlated with acceptance that economics is more than the study of markets and monetary decisions, but I also assume that economists who accept that are particularly smart... At least, it's definitely true that persistent skepticism of the relevance of behavioral-type motivations and phenomena are irrelevant to classical economic domains, even macroeconomically, is so obtuse it almost has to be deliberate.)
  7. I have no idea whether having this blog hurt me (or helped me, less likely) on the job market. Several people said they liked it, a couple enthusiastically, but as many others said things like "I came across your blog. You write a lot." or wanted to know why I do it, which in equilibrium has to signal a negative opinion. So who knows. I don't particularly care, since I'm certainly not going to stop a fun hobby for the sake of fitting a more hireable mold, but I was curious whether it would come up and to what effect.
  8. After several flyouts, my presentation was completely rote, and there were particular slides I skipped in hour long versions, etc. I'm definitely variably good at making myself talk slowly (which I'm pretty sure almost cost me the job I ended up accepting, so thank goodness that worked out!), but other than that I'm pretty sure I presented extremely similarly at each place. And yet some seemed to go so much better than others. In fact, the more hard questions I got, the better it seemed like it went. The only place that jumped on my from the very beginning and throughout the whole presentation was definitely the most fun (and as a result, it was extremely hard to turn down their job offer, especially since it was already my 2nd choice school), and another school that came close was almost as fun (despite the fact there were many non-economists in that crowd, so I actually had to think before answering some of the questions.) My conclusion is that the audience makes all the difference, which means that both the culture of the department (engaged and aggressive, in a friendly way of course, or passive) and the specialty of the department (it's hard to present to a room of macroeconomists), make all the difference. But it seems like my likelihood of getting an offer was also correlated with how fun the presentation was, which depended on the audience, so that's a little concerning as far as the degree of control you have over your fate goes.
  9. Also when it comes to the degree of control you have over your fate, it's very frustrating how badly the matching mechanism works. And the sad thing is that the economics job market seems to be *much much* more efficient than any other academic job market. Timing issues are the worst (offers expiring before you can interview with other schools). Who wants to start a petition to Al Roth to fix some of these things? It seems like there should be room for improvement even if each candidate and each school can rank a small subset of the complementary population. Surely that's the case in the residency matching program as well? I'm not sure of the details there.


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