After you?ve been hired

After you’ve been hired

You have a job! Congratulations! Now it’s time to start thinking about all of the things you will have to do to prepare for your move, but first be sure to tell everyone you know that you accepted an offer!

Things to Do 

  • Thank your professors and support circle again for their assistance with your job search. Be sure to share your news with these folks as well. 
  • Stay in touch with your new institution. Decide first how much onboarding you want to do early. That is, do you want your new institution to start to include you on all emails or just some emails? Sometimes it can be nice to be in the know, and other times it can be an added stress. Determine what your comfort level is and share that with your new chair.
  • Be sure that your new department knows how to contact you during the time between your acceptance of the offer and the time that you begin work. Send in all employment paperwork in a timely manner and ask the department chair what else you need to do to facilitate your transition to your new position. Order your computer hardware and software, set up your e-mail account, etc. before you arrive so that you can hit the ground running.
  • Be sure to familiarize yourself with the benefits at your new institution. There will likely be an orientation, but being familiar with options might lessen the stress of the unknown. 
  • After you accept your position, write a letter thanking the dean, department chair, search committee chair, etc. for hiring you. Convey your excitement about being hired.
  • Write a letter to the other institutions to which you applied if they have not yet made a decision. Notify them of your new position and thank them for considering your application.
  • Start checking out your new community. Realtors and real estate sites can be extremely helpful for getting information about housing, neighborhoods, and schools. Get information from the chamber of commerce, local realty association, social media groups, university public relations office, etc. Ask your future faculty member peers for their recommendations regarding realtors, neighborhoods, school districts, doctors, day care, insurance and mortgage companies, banks, gyms, etc.
  • Prepare yourself mentally for a new transition. You should anticipate that your first year as a faculty member will be both rewarding and challenging. Make a list of questions or thoughts that you may have as you prepare to transition to ensure that you are covering all aspects of moving smoothly into this new role. 
  • Ask about the course(s) that you will be teaching. Are there previous syllabi you can look over? Ask also for the books to be mailed to you so that you can start to familiarize yourself with the content. 
  • Ask about learning management systems. You might have to learn a new system so plan ahead.
  • Figure out what keys and cards you will need. Many institutions have university cards that require you to go to campus and take a picture. Others will have a system that is completely online. 
  • Find your office! It seems like a simple thing, but understanding where your office is in regard to where the faculty parking lot and coffee spots are will save you from getting lost!
  • Meet the faculty in your department. Get to know them and some of the other things that are going on at the institution. There may be some other people with whom you can connect.
  • Ask for a mentor. Your university or college may have a formal mentoring program that pairs you with a more experienced faculty member. If not, try and find yourself one early after you arrive. This person can help you understand all of the logistical, procedural, and cultural things that you need to learn about.
  • Identify things that you can do in your free time. Moving to a new place can be very stressful and can cause you to only focus on work. Identify the top places around you and visit. 
  • Many universities pay on a 9-month schedule. Ask your Human Resources contact if there is a way to get this changed to a 12-month payment schedule. Even if they offer you summer teaching options (and thus extra pay), this is a good failsafe for keeping your salary stable across the entire year. 
  • Find out who your librarians are. They can tell you a lot about the free or open-access materials that you can use for your teaching or research. They also can put you in touch with programs that may be of interest. 
  • Talk to the technology folks. There will be numerous software packages that will be available to you, many of them free or discounted since you’re a faculty member.
  • If you were hired ABD (all but dissertation), ask your awarding institution after you have graduated for a confirmation that you have earned your degree. This is an easy way to make sure that everyone is on the same page that you accomplished what you said you would.
Things to Avoid

  • Unless it is absolutely unavoidable, don’t arrive at your new institution ABD. Make sure that you’re done with your dissertation before you leave your current institution for your new one. It’s incredibly challenging and stressful to try to finish your doctorate while simultaneously onboarding as a new faculty member. Trust us: this is a really bad idea.
  • Don’t take on too much. When you get to a new place, the urge to be incredibly helpful can be detrimental. Take your time, learn the culture, and help where/when you feel completely capable. Be willing to say no to research, grant, and other opportunities that are offered to you, especially if they are outside your area of interest / expertise or if they are of primary benefit to someone other than yourself. Unfortunately, sometimes other faculty are merely looking for someone junior to do some of the work (without concurrent credit). Before accepting any new opportunity that is extended to you, you may wish to ask your mentor if it’s a good idea or not. Even better, find a mentor who’s willing to protect and buffer you. However you configure it, preserve the space that you need to successfully work toward tenure at your new institution.