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ryerson, can i haz job pls? (interview and presentation edition)

So. I did the interview this morning. Overall, it was a pretty good experience. I didn’t get too anxious and my speech problem was fairly minimal, I think.1

I mentioned on twitter (before the main interview portion started) that finally seeking treatment for my anxiety was one of my better decisions in recent memory. It really really was. The fact that I got through this interview without being a complete mess is just… amazing to me.

(It definitely helped that everyone was really kind and stuff.)

Anyway… here is my presentation. The notes are kinda rough so I’ll sketch out the basics of my idea here:

Mainly, my big idea was that Ryerson (heck, all academic institutions) should maybe start thinking about archiving the research/academic blogs of their faculty members.

Whatever else the ongoing debate about the legitimacy of academic blogging (particularly as it concerns tenure and promotion) might say, these blogs represent one part of an academic’s overall contribution to their field. The fact that some academics choose to blog, despite knowing that this writing/research is unlikely to make an impact on their chances of getting tenure (and even sometimes possibly hurting their chances), means that they, at the very least, find this a valuable way to spend their time. And I really think that these blogs are something worth preserving.

That’s it. My big idea.

What I find interesting about this idea, is that I spent (admittedly not that much) time looking around to see if any institutions were making any efforts to do this and it doesn’t look like there are any. And I definitely think it is a mistake to hope that the Internet Archive will capture and preserve these blogs.

Even more interesting is that, by and large, blogging is still a fairly uncommon activity amongst academics. I found only 14 such blogs connected to Ryerson faculty2. This is a really small number of blogs. This means that archiving them really wouldn’t be a massive undertaking.

Regarding the interview, the best thing about this proposal is that this is something I could actually do. I may not be a superstar coder or anything, but this is something I definitely feel confident about.

Speaking of coding and such, my big weakness in the interview was, well, not being a coder. They asked some specific questions about proficiency and I was definitely honest. I mean. No, I can’t code.

Not yet, anyway. I did take the opportunity to mention that I was already signed up for Ryerson’s continuing ed certificate in computer programming – with an acknowledgement that even with taking these classes, it would take me a while to get the required experience.3

The experience, overall, was a really positive one. I’m still fairly certain that they’ll hire someone with a bit more tech skills and experience overall.

But I’m walking away from this with renewed optimism about my career, which if you recall, I’ve said in the past is likely already dead. So I’m immensely grateful to Ryerson for giving me this opportunity and renewing my faith.

It is likely that in a year or so, after I get that programming certificate, I’d be exactly what they are looking for. And I might actually have enough enthusiasm and hope left in me to stick around until I finish the certificate and see if I can’t make a real go at it.