Thursday, March 15, 2007

Never Tell Me the Odds

I mentioned a couple of days ago how people reacted when I told them I was applying to 94 jobs this past year. First, almost everybody who wasn’t in philosophy was floored by the number. But then second, they figured with that many applications, I’d have to get something. I mean, what kind of loser applies to 94 jobs and doesn’t get a single offer?

This kind of loser, as it turns out.

But there’s some context here for people not familiar with the philosophy job market that helps to explain my complete and utter failure. (And by "explain," I mean "explain without reference to me being a crappy candidate.") The thing is, there’s a lot applicants for philosophy jobs. I really mean it. A lot of applicants. So, a couple of different schools mentioned in their rejection letters that they got over 200 applications for their jobs. You read that right. In at least two instances that I know of for sure, a single job opening attracted over 200 applications.

Now those numbers might seem like outliers, right? But I’m guessing they’re not. I’m guessing they’re not too far from average. Why? Because one rejection letter I got told me that they got over 400 applications.

My aunt, who’s in her 70s and a very polite lady, responded to that number with, “Holy shit. Never heard my aunt swear before. The philosophy job market's good for all kinds of new experiences.

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