Not too long ago, I learned something I didn't know about how the placement process works in some places. I caught wind of it from one trusted friend, but couldn't quite believe it, so now I've verified it with a couple others. (Reporting!)
Some departments in philosophy won't let their students apply for really high-powered jobs. The departments insist on approving their students' list of jobs to apply for, and even if someone's AOS is in philosophy of mind and AOCs are language and logic, the department won't let them apply for, say, a top-10 job for an AOS in mind with AOCs in language and logic.
This seems like a bad idea for at least a couple of reasons. One, we all know people who've got interviews way out of their league. No, they didn't get the jobs. But the interviews sharpened them up for other interviews, the ones that did get them jobs. Why the fuck would you rule out the possibility of your candidates getting that experience? Two, I know search committees have to wade through a swamp of applications, and they might appreciate having fewer to go through. But really, if I were trying to make a hire, I'd want that decision to get made by, you know, me and my department. If anyone knows a good reason for this practice, I'd like to hear it.
But it's not just that this seems like a bad idea. I haven't been able to put my finger on why exactly, but something here disgusts me. It makes me want to fucking puke. Look, we all know most of us have exactly no shot at those jobs. We know that. So you might say, "No harm, no foul," right? But that's not the fucking point. The point is, what does it say to your students? It says you'd rather their CVs never got seen by anyone you think is really great. It says they're like that girl you were sleeping with who was cute enough to keep your bed warm in the winter, but too dumb or déclassé to meet your colleagues or friends. It says they're like your kid when you wouldn't let him try out for soccer, because you think he's too small to be any good.
If you think your own students are shit, that's your problem. N years in school, a dissertation and a PhD are enough dues paid to earn us the right to fail on our own fucking terms.