A recent PhD writes:
This is the time of year when those of us on the job market who didn't get tenure track offers start to see ads for VAP positions.
Like many other graduate students and early career professors, I am married and have children. My children are very well-settled regarding their respective schools and childcare situations.
I'd like to ask a question of your readers who have been on search committees. How much of a demerit would it be on next year's job market if I continue as an adjunct rather than apply for a VAP position?
I'm currently as an adjunct and happy at the school at which I teach. Last year, my first on the job market, I decided not to apply to VAP positions. Considering costs and benefits, it seemed that the financial and emotional costs of moving the whole family and possibly living apart from my spouse were definitely not worth a single year of employment at VAP salary. If continuing as an adjunct would significantly hurt my chances for next year on the tenure track market, however, that would be another cost I should consider.
I understand that if people see you are an adjunct, they might that you couldn't get a VAP, and thus lack a certain stamp of approval. Could this be a make-or-break issue for getting a job next year?
My instinct is that the reasons for not seeking a VAP are pretty compelling, and the young philosopher should just make sure that his/her recommenders note why s/he is continuing to work as an adjunct (e.g., "X has not applied for VAP positions so as to avoid unnecessary dislocation for X's family"). But what do others think? Signed comments preferred, but all comments require a valid e-mail address.