After accepting positions at teaching-intensive universities, many are stunned by the direction their careers take and how academic roles are shaped by the institutions. Working for an Ivy League institution or a big state research university would also shape careers and lives, but new faculty members don’t anticipate the consequences of working for the “lower-tier,” “open-admissions” universities and colleges that pick them up fresh out of graduate school. (Inside Higher Ed)
Cautionary tales such as this highlight the importance of finding an institution that matches your professional goals. Unfortunately, the current state of the job market means that those who apply broadly and are lucky enough to receive job offers may not find a perfect match on their first attempt (this may also mean that advisers who push candidates to apply broadly are doing them a disservice).
So far, the job I received at a SLAC as the result of a more specific approach has met my expectations. Despite this, there are aspects of my grad school days that I miss (beyond having large numbers of fellow students who are eager to grab a drink on a warm spring evening). One thing that I recently realized that I miss are the various colloquia. Although my coworkers are all involved in research of one sort or another, the members of a small department cannot be active enough in this area to support frequent discussions of original work. In the R1 department where I attended grad school, on the other hand, there were several weekly colloquia on various topics in addition to occasional invited speakers. At the school level there are still numerous outside speakers and events that I have attended as often as possible, but these occasions merely remind me of the days when it was all sociology, all the time.