I've been at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting. I left at noon on Thursday, and got back at midnight Saturday (and got 11 hours of sleep in the middle). Some comments:
1. Political scientists are mostly boring. Everyone wanted to stay around the convention hotel and chat about inside baseball (political sciency things), but not about politics. Few, if any, wanted to argue about American foreign policy, or the upcoming elections, or something interesting. They mostly wanted to talk about who was moving to which departments and about whose article got accepted where.
2. Political scientists dress badly. Lots of blue blazers. Lots of khaki. (The male/female ratio was at least 60/40, if not 65/35; the women didn't dress as badly as the men, but there weren't any fashionistas either.)
3. I did not go to a single panel. I spent my time in the large (ugly) basement-like (it had open ductwork for a ceiling) room attempting to interview for jobs. There are approximately 100 tables set up, with a college at each table. There is a small section where interviewees sit. When the colleges are ready, they come over and get you, and take you back to the table, where you chat about how wonderful you are for half an hour. They never actually tell you if the really liked you, or are just pretending. Thus, interviewees have no actual evaluatory process for determining if the interview went well, or not. At the end of the interview, you either sit and wait for your next one (they are scheduled in advance, so you are not just sitting around hoping to be called), or (if you have sufficient time before your next interview) go off and either see a panel or go wander around downtown Philadelphia. My interviews were mostly an hour apart (leaving neither enough time to go to panels, nor time to wander), except lunch (I had three or four hours there, but there are no panels in the early afternoon).
4. The process for being called for an interview is awful. The convention issues everyone badges, which have your name in large letters on them. So most of the colleges (or, technically, the people representing them) would wander around the interviewees, staring at their chests (I wonder how this went over for the women), and then introduce themselves to the right person. You (the interviewee) were just supposed to sit there and wait for someone to come and get you. Being both passive-aggressive and easily annoyed, I didn't like this system. Thus, I turned my badge over, depriving everyone the ability to just "see" me and get me. They were forced to actually call out my name. I have little power in this job search, but at least I made them say my name. Ha. It's the small victories that make life rewarding.
5. Phily is a nice town. I saw it while the remnants of Ernesto were blowing through, so it was wet and windy. Still, the downtown was nice. I had good food (Pasion and Le Bec-Fin; the former was neuvo latino and very creative, the latter was good, but not great (I expected better, at least) - considering it's reputation), and enjoyed wandering around the area. Not sure if I'd go back for a vacation, but it was a decent conference city.
6. Phily Cheese-Steaks are over-rated. Or, at least, the one I ate (at a highly recommended place) was.
7. Have I mentioned how much I hate the Pennsylvania Liquor/Wine system? Socialism at it's finest: the state buys all the liqour and wine, and then sells it to the public. Thus, you can only choose what wines some bureaucrat has decided are worthy to sell in the state. Staggeringly bad idea. Needless to say, even in some of the finest restaurants in the city (with full time sommeliers), their wine lists were worse than what I could put together in twenty minutes on the internet.
Now that the conference is over, once I catch up on all the work I blew off to get ready for it, blogging should increase in tempo.Posted by baltar at September 4, 2006 01:50 PM | TrackBack | Posted to Blogorama | Culture | Random Thoughts