Thursday, September 20, 2007

Excuse Me, Is You Saying Something? You Can't Tell Me Nothing.

Committee Member #3 was bitching me out earlier today for the lack of posts recently. (That's interesting, given that he didn't mention my dissertation going nowhere. I guess now I know how he wants me to spend my time.) But since he's writing me a letter right now, I figure I better give the man what he wants.

So let me tell you a story about a placement meeting I had last year with the Old World Septuagenarian and Evil Columbo. The Old World Septuagenarian had been saying some general things about what to expect about the market, and Evil Columbo decided he'd give me and my office mates some advice about our professional development.

He started, as he always did in those meetings, with the story of how he got his job without ever having to think about such crass concerns as application packages, job talks, or, really, professional development of any kind. He helpfully told us things would be different for us, and we should start thinking of ourselves as "junior academics". Apparently, this would involve such steps as going to conferences, and seeking out philosophers working on stuff related to our work. We should even try to meet these people, in order to make them aware of our existence. We should, Evil Columbo instructed us, start to "network".

Yeah. We were on the market, we were three months out from the APA, and Evil Columbo was telling us to maybe start thinking about networking. What awesome fucking advice. Because that definitely hadn't already been obvious for many fucking years.


David Ekstrand said...

I began my MA program today at a UK university in the Leiter UK top ten, and when I asked the young(ish) professor about admission rates and stuff he began talking about the job market and said: "When I did my PhD... you would have been insane to become a philosopher. [That would have been in the 80s, I think.] But now, the job market's healthy, departments are expanding, and people from this department do get tenure after a few year-long jobs. So by all means, do go ahead and get a PhD if you can." Then I mentioned your blog and we agreed that the American job market was crazy.

Seriously, have you thought of going abroad for jobs?

Pseudonymous Grad Student said...

This is probably my American point of view on the market, but I'm wary of optimism about the market that's in any way connected to people's views about how it was in the bad old days. Yeah, it's better now compared to then--but is better *good*?

In any case, I have to admit, I don't really have any feel at all for what the market's like in the UK. Do people there generally think it's better (whatever that might mean) than in the US?