Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I Hope I Die Before I Get Old

Leiter's got a thread going right now about how job candidates should think about their AOCs. I guess the first obvious point about the discussion is that there's pretty clearly some real confusion about them. It gives a sense of the feeling I had last year, when every last detail about my application meant getting wildly contradictory advice from different people.

But there's something else I want to touch on. Check out this advice, from the fanciest of fancy-pants, big-name philosophers, Gilbert Harman:
You don't have to use the labels "Areas of Specialization" or "Areas of Competence" on your CV. You can describe yourself in whatever way seems best.

As some people in the thread say much more politely than I will here, oh yes, you do have to use those labels. Harman, if we can trust Wikipedia, is in his 69th year. He still thinks about the job market the way it was back in the day. No need to address the exact specifications a job ad in the JFP is asking for. "You can just describe yourself in whatever way seems best."

This sort of advice is infuriating. You get advice from out of touch senior faculty that has to be wrong. But you can't tell them to STFU, because at least at private universities, they can still have grad students shot.

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