The cyclical nature of academia means that the time of change is upon us. This is the season where some may be looking for a position, some may find a new position, and some may even lose a position. I was in the storm of the job search last year. My story is a little unusual. While I loved the job I had at the time, a serious self-assessment of my disposition and reflecting on my professional development lead me to be open to other opportunities. I was not actively looking for a new position, but I knew that I needed a change in my professional trajectory. I was even considering making the change to an industrial position.
ACS meetings are great places to find new opportunities! For me, it was an ACS meeting in Boston and I had just spent the whole day working on the ACS inorganic exam. I met up with a colleague from a nearby institution who had just arrived for the conference. Conversation ensued. I learned that there might be an opportunity to change institutions without even having to move, as in a possible tenure-track line opening up. A very long story short, I applied, I interviewed (by phone and on-campus), and was made an offer without a change in rank from my former institution. I was over the moon, so to speak.
Fast forward and almost a year has past and I think about if I made the right decision. There are always doubts when you are in the midst of making a really big transition. I can say with confidence that I absolutely did make the right decision! While I realize no institution is perfect, there is such a thing as a good fit with an institution. What I didn’t realize at my former institution is that I never quite fit in. In retrospect, here were some clues that it was time for me to go: 1) I never “moved in” to my office, 2) I didn’t feel comfortable speaking up, and 3) I was headed toward perpetual gen chemdom. If you are having these feelings of doubt and disillusionment, maybe it is time for you to move on too.