I might not be unemployed next year...

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I’m aware that my last post was all about how I was going to return to blogging… and yeah, that never happened. It turns out that about ten days is not enough to catch up on research, file ten more postdoc applications, and deal with about 40 intro E&M students panicking over their upcoming final exam. Oh, and SLEEP. (And not become a hermit. Sometimes time spent with friends is important too.)

At this point I have 35 postdoc applications filed. To put it another way: I’ve applied to almost every job opening in the world in my field of research with a deadline since late November. It really makes the point that this particular corner of particle physics is a niche subject. Anyway, my understanding is that each position receives roughly about 200 applications, on average. If I have 35 chances to succeed at something with a probability 0.005 (that’s 1 in 200)… well, perhaps you know where this is going:

probability of getting job offers
probability of getting job offers

Yep, that means I have an a priori 84% chance of not getting any offer at all. For the record, when you realize you’ve applied for all the jobs and it’s still five times more likely that you don’t get one than that you do, it can be pretty demotivating.

There is some good news though! One of the applications I filed got me an invitation to give a seminar on my research. It seems the lead scientist of this group is a fan. :-) Being able to present this work is good enough on its own, but it also implies that I made the (informal?) short list of candidates they’re considering for the job! And don’t worry, you’ll find out where it is in due time.

On the other hand, I haven’t heard anything from the other 34 applications. I suppose this means I’m not getting any other chances, but the optimist in my wants to believe they’re just taking a long time to sort through them.

My inner optimist is not often right. I guess we’ll see.