As we approach August and the unofficial beginning to the ’12-’13 job market at ASA, the pressure is already starting to show at the Sociology Job Market Forum, where those who are new to the market and those who have been through everything before combine to see who can worry the most. There is a lot of useful information on the forum, but it can also be a haven for showboating (“I have five single-authored papers in ASR and twenty other papers in lesser journals, do you think I will get a job?”), frustration (“I have five single-authored papers in ASR and twenty other papers in lesser journals and I didn’t get a job”), and things that make me wonder if some people slept through every sociology class they’ve ever taken (“I have five single-authored papers in ASR and twenty other papers in lesser journals but I didn’t get a job because I’m a white male.”). I think that the most dangerous aspect, though, is the potential for nitpicking every part of the process (“I prefer 12-point Times New Roman but my advisor said that he won’t even read applications that are in anything but 12.75-point Helvetica.” “What color should I wear to an interview to maximize the potential that it is similar to the favorite colors of my interviewers?”).
Beyond what I’ve written on the subject in the past (and ignoring the fact that since my department can’t even get approved to hire somebody, I really have no idea what I’m talking about), there are two major pieces of advice that I gave to a friend who is new to the job market this year: 1) try not to worry about things that you can’t control, and 2) once you apply for a job, try to forget that you sent the application! The worst part of the job market seems to be the uncertainty, so the less you can dwell on it (and the tiny details that are outside of your control), the better!
Good luck to all of you!