Monday, January 24, 2011


I have an almost complete first draft of the PowerPoint slides for my job talk. I have a week and a half until my practice talk, and two more weeks after that before the interview. It has just occurred to me that I’ve never actually given a job talk before. I’ve heard lots of other people’s job talks, and practice job talks, and I’ve given lots of non-job talks. I am not generally nervous about public speaking, and I don’t find myself too nervous about this. I wonder if I should be more nervous than I am, and if thinking of this as my first job-talk, instead of my hundredth talk, is a good way to accomplish that.

There is perhaps good reason for concern. The other applicants I’m competing against are likely to be an extraordinary group. I have no indication of what fraction of us they're likely to hire. I have the bare minimum professional experience necessary to apply. I'm a biologist interviewing in the Humanities Section. What to an American seems an appropriate level of self recognition can strike many Germans as immodest boasting. My slides are currently a bit too wordy and dense.

All that said, I don't feel nervous yet; they don't expect me to describe my work in German. Just the idea makes me sweat.

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