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The Not-An-Interview Trip


My not-an-interview trip is coming up and I realized I’ve been referencing it multiple times but haven’t dedicated a post to it, so any new readers must surely be confused and I wanted to clear things up a little.

I’ve been applying for full-time academic positions and landed two in-person interviews this year….or so I thought.

The first interview was local, back in January, and I was recently notified that I was not selected for the position (darn it!)

The second position is not local and although I totally thought it was an interview initially, I was later notified that there is not currently a position available. They cannot legally call this an interview, but I’m doing many of the things that would occur in a “real” interview. For instance, I’m meeting with the search committee, discussing potential collaborative projects with faculty, giving a research presentation, and even a guest lecture (not just a teaching presentation – a real lecture in an actual classroom of undergrads).

Although, yes, this is not technically an interview, I’m still very much viewing it as an interview type situation (albeit lower pressure, given that there’s not an immediate opening). Essentially, this is like a pre-interview situation where the faculty is determining how I would fit within the department. If the fit is good and things go well…..I could easily see this leading to a position when one opens sometime in the future.

What are the financial implications?

I’ve been lucky that the university is funding the majority of my trip to visit them. They have booked my flight, a rental car, and my hotel accommodations (so it’s not a situation where I have to pay and they reimburse me….they are covering the expenses up front). And although I haven’t received my official itinerary yet, I’ve been told I’ll be having breakfast, lunch, and dinner with various faculty and/or graduate students while on-campus for my interview not-an-interview.

However, I fly in the day before  and leave the day after my campus visit. This means I’m assuming I’ll end up eating out for lunch and dinner the day before the visit and breakfast the day after my visit.

To minimize costs, I’m thinking I’ll try to bring some foods with me. Note, however, that I’m going to only bring a carry-on bag (no checked bag), so I won’t have a ton of extra space. But I plan to bring at minimum: a water bottle (it’ll be empty initially to get through security, but then I can refill it instead of buying bottled waters), maybe a couple snacky-type foods, and possibly even stuff for breakfast the day after my not-an-interview. Maybe a thing of just-add-water oatmeal that can be microwaved in a hotel room and an apple or other hearty fruit that won’t easily bruise?? Any ideas on this?

Since starting to blog here at BAD, this will be my very first trip that has required flying. I’d love to minimize the eating-out burden to my budget this month but I’m not sure about hotel specifics (e.g., is there a fridge? microwave?) so I’m unsure how that will all work out. If any of you have tips for how to eat CHEAPLY while traveling, then let me hear them!

The only other financial implication is that hubs is going to have to take off work for one day while I’m gone so he can be with the girls. It’s not a huge deal, but does equate to one day of missed work (his schedule will also be affected on two additional days to accommodate taking the girls to and from preschool, but that’s not nearly as disruptive as missing work entirely).

All in all, though, I feel like it will hopefully be a very inexpensive trip. I know many universities require applicants to pay for all of their expenses up front and wait for reimbursement (which can take a month!), so I’m glad and feel fortunate that I won’t have to incur any large up-front costs.

So there’s the background on the not-an-interview job. I remain cautiously optimistic about the situation. Part of me would love to land an offer from them, while the other part of me is so comfortable in our Tucson living situation that I am fearful of uprooting us again for another cross-country move (particularly knowing that this would mean hubs’ has to start all over again with his business). I try not to stress over details about “what ifs” until something happens. It’s like one of my favorite Van Wilder quotes, “Worrying is like a rocking chair….It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” Write that down. ; )

Have you or your spouse/partner ever had a job opportunity that has moved you cross-country? How did you make the decision (to accept or decline the position)? What factors did you weigh in your consideration?

How do you eat on the cheap when traveling? What tips do you have to share?


  • Reply Marzey doats |

    If you know the hotel you are staying at, you can check all these questions. Often breakfast is included with the room as well. You should try to maximize your time there by eating with somebody for dinner the night before your visit. Honestly, I’d be very surprised if they dont schedule that dinner for you. We always schedule every meal for our out of town speakers ( im also in academia).

  • Reply Liz |

    I moved cross-country a few years ago for work and it has been one of the best decisions that I ever made. It was absolutely worth it, because it allowed me to grow my career significantly and get to an area where there’s a larger industry in my particular area. Additionally, it challenged me to make new friends and build a new network from the ground up, which has been great. However, you have to really want to make it work, because it is hard to start over somewhere new.
    Regarding the hotel, just call them ahead of time and ask if they have a microwave or a continental breakfast– a lot of places have complimentary continental breakfasts these days. You could also check them out online and see what they offer. I would also take some time (depending on exactly where you are) and walk or drive around to check out the area and see if you think you could make the move. Before I made my move, I bussed around town and meandered around various areas, checking it out to see if I could really see myself living here.

  • Reply Kili |

    Agreeing with the previous posters: if you know the hotel, just either look up the info online (try the hotel homepage or tripadvisor) or write them a quick e-mail/ give them a quick call.
    Since you do have a rental car, I’d just probably get the food (if even needed) at a supermarket on my way from the airport to the hotel -> this way you won’t have any crumbled granola bars, bruised apples or smashed bananas after the flight.

  • Reply C@thesingledollar |

    They ought to reimburse you for all meals, including the ones you pay for up front — if nobody mentions it, then ask the department secretary if you should mail her your receipts when you get home.

  • Reply Janet |

    My tip for breakfast away from home – soak plain oats in milk in the fridge overnight and you get a very yummy cold porridge the next day. All the oats go soft.

    Obviously it’s more of a summer thing but with some apple chunks and raisins and or nuts and seeds, it’s easy, filling and doesn’t need a microwave.

  • Reply Susan Melvin |

    I also say check out the hotel on http://www.tripadvisor.com …. not only will you be able to access the hotel’s website from there, you will also be able to read reviews and you will know ahead of time what to expect. You should be able to figure out nearby restaurants from the hotel’s website; you might be lucky and there could be a grocery store or similar within walking distance. You will have a car; stop on the way to the hotel and pick up a few things (of course check the hotel website first; you might not need anything). Many hotels have breakfast buffets and you can take some fruit to snack on later. And, many hotels have afternoon snacks for guests — fruit, snacks, etc.

    Good luck!

    • Reply Ashley |

      Thanks for the tip! Just checked it out and Free breakfast at the hotel!! Wahoo!!! Solves that issue at least! Still haven’t checked out neighboring grocery stores, but put it on my “to do” list for later this week! Thanks again!

  • Reply Jeni |

    I travel a lot and I eat a paleo/clean. In order to make sure my food doesn’t have any additional stuff in it that I don’t want, I eat a lot in my hotel. I’ll get the Dole bagged salads, hard boiled eggs, microwave some sweet potatoes, it’s actually pretty easy. I’m sure you’ll do fine. Good luck and I hope you rock your interview it’s not an interview!

So, what do you think ?