Tuesday, December 18, 2007

For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)

As we get further into this week, a lot of people are going to be facing the real possibility that they won't get any APA interviews. (Yeah, there's still time and once somebody got a call on Christmas eve, and blah, blah, fucking blah. But time is running out.) Some people without interviews might be able to cancel their plane tickets. Some of them, on the advice of their profs, will go to the APA looking for that fabled last-minute interview, as if that were a better use of their time than being with the people they love and shifting their focus forward to the spring job market and next year's fall.

The thing is, the job market is, above all else, about rejection--wave after wave of rejection smashing into your ribs, squeezing them so hard you can feel yourself suffocating under the weight of your own failure. I guess the idea is, we're supposed to keep fighting through all that until somehow, some year in the future, we end up with a job. That's the part that takes real work, I think--not the applications themselves, but seeing through rejection after rejection after rejection to the possibility of another shot next year.

So to those starting that now, I'm sorry. It doesn't make sense. There are no reasons to be found here. If you're going to do it again next year, good. Take some time off, and then start strategizing. If this year was your last stand and you're getting ready to give up philosophy, good luck. Now you get to live a life in a city you've chosen, near the people you love, doing a job where everybody's awed every day at how fucking smart you are. It's going to be nice.

61 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hate to piss in anyone's milk, but life outside the academy isn't any better. Sure, you see people making more money and doing less work with about 20% of your education. But that's not going to be you.

The way you work your way up in a lot of jobs is take a shitty job and work 10 years until you have seniority. If you've spent 7 years getting treated like shit in grad school, you'll get credit for maybe 15 minutes of the requisite 10 years. And in a lot of fields a PhD hurts you - doesn't help you and isn't neutral, it actually hurts. So terminal ABDs might do well not to turn in the diss if you're already bailing for certain fields (in others it's the PhD is a big advantage of course, like big pharma).

Also, the best jobs in many fields go to 22 year olds with the right degrees and summer internships, and if you're not in that mold, you'll never get those jobs, period.

So if you've stuck out years and years in grad school, sometimes its better to stay an extra year or two before tossing the towel in, not because of the sunk costs problem, but because your life may improve faster in academia than out.

On the other hand, if you're still working on your MA or a year beyond that, it may be worthwhile to try that alternate career now, before it's too late.

Anonymous said...

Of course, there's always law-school. That's another three years of academia, but with a PhD in philosophy you're golden at some of the top places in the country. There's a reason that LSAC posts ads in JFP looking for LSAT writers.

Anonymous said...

Is it acceptable to email a department to ask if they are APA-ing and when they'll be contacting people for interviews? I'm still waiting to hear from a dozen places in section I of the wiki.

will philosophize for food said...

Thanks. Good luck in your interviews, PGS. And to everyone else. Except, of course, those whom are interviewing at places which I also am interviewing. ;)

Asstro said...

Anon at 10:32:

No.

staring at the wall, waiting to die said...

It really is quite bizarre how hard the rejection hits. This whole process really is such an amazing opportunity to feel like even your best work isn't good enough. But, I guess that we should all remember that the little things really do make a big difference. Maybe you shouldn't have listed >that< AOC because it's going to piss off someone on the SC, maybe you shouldn't have written >that< paper or given >that< presentation, because it makes your interests look way to broad to some people.

The important thing about these things is that we can all decide to change them next year, or decide to say fuck it and hope that we find a department where we really do fit!

Now, I would be the last person to complain about my situation (except to those nearest and dearest to me). after all i was lucky enough to get a couple of really good interviews at east coast SLACs and a leiterly department, and i've even got a viable opportunity if i decide to bail on philosophy all together. but, i still feel like shit every time i see some job i really wanted, a job that i really thought i had a good chance at, show up on the wiki.

At the end of the day, it feels like you can bust your ass as much as you want and still end up getting stabbed in the eye for it. It really sucks that so many people are getting screwed for reasons that are so far outside of their control! But it's amazing how much luck is involved in this stupid process. But fuck it! I'm going to keep on swingin for the fences. hopefully I'll eventually knock this fucker out of the park!

Good luck to everyone. Including those terrible, horrible, really awful people that got the interviews that I was hoping to get.

Looking on the Bright Side said...

Don't forget about Junior Colleges. We are all over-qualified for those jobs, and they pay really well. Your average junior college pays at least as much as a lower paying TT job. All we have to do is remember that Junior Colleges usually expect a 10 class teaching load, oh, and don't call them "Junior Colleges." They prefer to be called, "Community Colleges," which, as Chris Rock explained, references the fact that anyone in the community can get in. And that implies you should keep in mind that if you get a JC interview, they will ask you, "How would you teach philosophy to someone who is illiterate?"

Anonymous said...

It's worth reminding ourselves that the semester just ended for hundreds of schools. My own program is conducting a search and they apparently didn't get around to contacting candidates until today. According to one member of the SC, this is the rule rather than the exception. He said that most schools formulate a short list with 10-15 candidates and they tend to contact certain of those candiates earlier (in some cases, much earlier) than others, and this for a variety of reasons. If there's any truth to this whatsoever, at least some folks can expect to receive a LOT of calls and/or e-mails from today through the end of the week.

tt assprof said...

A few points against fatalism in the academic job search.

(1) If you persist, you will eventually get something. Just build up your pub's and teaching cred's.

(2) In many well-unionized state systems, regular adjuncts get converted to more or less permanent lecturers with regular salary and benefits.

(3) Community colleges are nothing to sneeze at. In this country, community colleges provide an invaluable compensatory service and participation in one is really something to be proud of. They also often pay better at the starting end. In some states, like California, community colleges are by law guaranteed funding.

(4) If you're coming from the bottom end or outside of Leiter, and not plugged into either the Continental network or the Catholic network, the above considerations should have always been a part of your career calculations. Not because you couldn't do better, but because it will be more difficult.

What may motivate serious consideration of the above is the following:

(1) In most fields outside of academic philosophy, your philosophical abilities will eventually wither away. That is a fact and that's a waste.

Exceptions would be if you work in applied ethics or something real-world oriented and you get a gig working for a think-tank or a consulting firm like McKinsey's. But good luck getting one of those.

(2) You've already invested anywhere between six and 10 years in it, and are probably pretty deep in debt. Going to law school will (a) only compound that debt (by many fold) and (b) there are no guarantees for lawyers either. For lawyers, law school rankings and class standings, actually count more than they do in academia. It's also a more cut-throat and brutal professional environment.

I know a lot of lawyers from top-20 law schools who are, essentially, temping, i.e., like-adjuncting. Sure they make more money, but then they have a lot more debt and nothing like a tenure-system to look forward to. The luckier ones work 12 hours a day, 6-7 days a week, having to take untold amounts of shit. And these are people who always dreamed of becoming lawyers--unlike you, probably.

I was staring into the abyss just last year, but it worked out. And it wasn't just me, a bunch of people I went to grad school with, who had been out even longer than I, all landed sweet gigs. And guess what? I come from outside of Leiter (though fed into one of the above two networks).

There is a lot more opportunities out there than your current tunnel-vision allows you to see.

Looking on the Bright Side said...

Oh, and if that post has any bitterness implied in it, that's because I'm now grading a JC final where students "decide" not to take portions of the final, and I actually had one student who took the final, put it in his backpack and then went home! I can't believe I forgot to mention that they should turn in their finals!

Asstro said...

Staring at the wall:

If I may. This will seem a bit convoluted, I'm sure, but please try to keep in mind that you're not actually getting rejected by these schools. You're just not getting picked. Your work is probably still worthwhile, and you don't suck. There are lots and lots of very good candidates out on the market, and for a SC to whittle their list down to ten or fifteen philosophers means cutting out some very good possibilities. Consider that many times there will be at least twenty _outstanding_ candidates in a single AOS, many of whom have better developed CVs than most. If you consider this, and if you don't readily fall into the _outstanding_ category, you're pushed out of many searches just by these bastards who've gone and beefed up their dossiers in the right way. That puts the 21st best person in a spot that would appear to be extremely terrible (with maybe one interview); but all things considered, this 21st best candidate is still a very good candidate.

So hang in there and if it doesn't work out this year, really look closely at your CV and identify your weak points. Dedicate the next nine months to making those weak points much stronger. That's how you beat this bitch.

Anonymous said...

It's how I found my wife. Wave after wave of rejection ...

questioner said...

Could someone please briefly explain the process and rationale of the 'last-minute' interviews at the APA? How does this work? Do we have to drop cvs somewhere? Could you perhaps also explain the rationale behind this? Why would a school decide to interview me at the APA if they did not decide to contact me beforehand? Or are these all schools which only very recently got the lines they are hiring for? Or does it include all sorts of schools but they will only take candidates who did not officially apply by the deadline? Many questions, I realize, but this remains a bit mysterious to some of us. Thank you.

asstprof said...

In response to questioner:

"Do we have to drop cvs somewhere?"

Yes. Be sure to bring extra copies of your CV with you to the APA. The placement kiosk will help you in the event that a "last minute" situation arises.

"Could you perhaps also explain the rationale behind this? Why would a school decide to interview me at the APA if they did not decide to contact me beforehand?"

There could be many reasons. Here's an outlandish but fairly pedestrian example: School X invites 5 candidates and they all completely tank in their interviews. Alternately, 3 of the candidates tank and the other 2, who interview quite well, are from top-tier programs with exceptional credentials and the SC fears that neither of said candidates are likely to accept job offers.

"Or are these all schools which only very recently got the lines they are hiring for? Or does it include all sorts of schools but they will only take candidates who did not officially apply by the deadline?"

Both scenarios occasionally obtain, especially the second. Some schools that did not make the advertising deadline for JFP will show up at the APA and do onsite interviews.

Asstro said...

Actually, another way to look at what I just wrote is this: almost every school has at least one candidate going out on the market in every conceivable AOS. Some schools have two or three candidates going out with this AOS. If someone gets a stellar letter of recommendation from, oh, I dunno, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and comes from some fantabulous school like, say, the Academy, that lowers every other qualified person in that AOS down a notch.

There will be several such people on the market in each AOS, coming from maybe the (perceived) top 15 schools. So there are two things to bear in mind: just coming from a Leiter 15 school doesn't put these people at the top of their AOS; but if you're not from a Leiter 15 school and you don't have something else impressive on your CV, you've got to work to put something impressive on your CV so that you can climb into the category of the top 20.

Also, having said all this: these facts about the competitive research jobs do not at all mean that hope is lost for those with less research oriented CVs. Matter of fact, those with strong research CVs will not be in the outstanding top 20 ranking for, say, many SLACs. That involves a different set of criteria altogether. If your CV doesn't hit some of these important criteria in either category, you can be bumped lower than the top fifteen or twenty in your category; and then you just don't get picked. Again, not a rejection; just not a pickage. You're still good and fine; but you need to do something to put yourself in the right category.

t said...

Questioner asked:

"Could someone please briefly explain the process and rationale of the 'last-minute' interviews at the APA? How does this work? Do we have to drop cvs somewhere? Could you perhaps also explain the rationale behind this? Why would a school decide to interview me at the APA if they did not decide to contact me beforehand? Or are these all schools which only very recently got the lines they are hiring for? Or does it include all sorts of schools but they will only take candidates who did not officially apply by the deadline? Many questions, I realize, but this remains a bit mysterious to some of us. Thank you."

Any number of reasons.

(1) The funding came through too late. These are the places that advertise tt's at the Central; but they want to give a shot at the Eastern anyway.

(2) Dept.'l screw up. They met too late, couldn't agree on anything until the last minute, etc.

(3) One or more of the candidates decide to cancel because they didn't want to deal with more than 30 interviews. This happens more frequently than you may think.

(4) At the last minute the Dean wants to switch from a junior ranking to a senior ranking--or the other way around.

(5) At the last minute, the dept. gets an extra line, but not enough time to advertise, so pore through the same bin again. All the maybe's then become definite's.

(6) Often, a lot of dept.'s just take more app.'s on site, and say so on the boards.

Take extra copies of your CV. Go to the placement room at the APA. Look up on the boards, see if any places are still accepting app.'s. If so, drop your CV's off into the relevant boxes.

Of course you can't count on this. It is a long shot. But I've known some people who've gotten interviews this way. Like with everything else there, because the potential pay back can be huge, some may think it worth the gamble.

staring at the wall, waiting to die said...

Asstro, thanks for the kind words.

In a reflective moment, I know that I don't suck, and I actually didn't mean to imply that I feel like I suck. In fact my academic life couldn't be better right now! I merely meant to allude to the sorts of mental states that are produced by this whole process no matter how well you happen to be doing.

I will continue to stare at the walls and wait to die because i have a pretty good idea why I was cut from a number of places that I would love to be. While I may not be >outstanding<, whatever that means, I do know that I am getting serious looks from great depts and I know that SCs are really digging my dossier (because I am getting reports through friends, and through friends of friends).

I didn't mean to come off like I was distraught in my previous post, nor that I was worried that I wouldn't eventually get a good job if I bust my ass to do so. I was merely lamenting the sorts of mental states that were evoked by this whole stupid process.

strand said...

I have a for-what-it's-worth personal story to tell that may help back up Anon/936a and tt assprof/1127a just a bit. I'll try to keep it brief.

I'm a terminal ABD in anthropology, but the kind of anthropology I was interested in doing was about as close to philosophy as you're going to get without actually being in philosophy. In fact, the whole "experimental philosophy" thing that's picking up steam puts us closer still--so, for the purposes of demonstration I'm going to depict myself as something of an ongoing fellow traveler.

Anyway. After a fruitless period of applying for fieldwork funding--the point at which many anthros are weeded out, since 12-18 months in FarFlungLocationX are always pricey, and there's not a lot of money up for grabs to start with--I was starting to see the time limit for finishing the PhD. Money had always been an issue from childhood on, and by the time my last grant request had been shot down, I'd started developing some health issues as well. So when the dot-com I was then working for (this was 1999) wanted me to join them permanently, I decided to go for it. I'd done computer science before switching to anthro, and acquiring the necessary tech skills wasn't a big problem. So I got practical, left my program, and tried hard to become fascinated by other things.

To an extent, I succeeded. The money situation is better (not great, although decent--I'm lower-level but stable at a Very Well Known And Exceedingly Large Software Company), I have other interests, my wife was able to finish her (somewhat more practical) PhD during the interim, and blah blah blah. But it is not enough. Whether it is a sign of true intellectual passion or merely dysfunctional inability to move on, all I really want to do is some close approximation of what I was doing to start with. It's stuck in my blood and I can't get it out.

So here I am, at 43, having been thinking--for about three years now--well, I was always kind of trying to do philosophy through the back door of anthropology all the way along, and I'm not really in good enough shape for extended sojourns in FarFlungLocationX anymore anyway, so perhaps the way forward is to give this philosophy thing a shot. So I'm reading and taking classes here and there and planning to join you all as soon as I can work it out.

I know full well just how insane this must seem to some of you. (I read this blog for a vivid ongoing reality check.) I won't be in a financial position to enter a terminal MA program for retooling until 2010, so even if I'm horrifyingly lucky I figure I can't possibly finish the PhD before 2016, when I'll turn 52. The chances of me having anything like a traditional academic career are infinitesimally small, and even if I do it'll be damn short. So in many senses it's a dumb action plan that I've gotten lodged in my mind--and I wouldn't claim it would be right for anyone else (I earnestly hope there's nobody else) in a similar situation, or for people here whose situations are not very isomorphic with my own.

I say only this: if you think you are someone for whom letting all this go is a possibility, great. Just take it from me that you could very well be wrong. Find a way to figure it out, as gently as possible, before you encounter yourself repeating my possibly quixotic trajectory.

lostmarbles said...

About the mind-state this puts you into: I cannot get a consistently positive vibe going and I've got some interviews (2 of which are research jobs at decent places, and one of which is at a top notch LAC). Plus, my dissertation is finished. Finished! To me that's like saying round-squares exist or something. But how do I feel? Like a complete fraud, like I suck, like the whole world sucks, like nothing will ever be right in the world (I'm sure this is endlessly annoying to my friends who don't have interviews or who aren't finished their dissertations). I honestly don't know, if I don't get a decent job this year, whether I can do this again next year.

been there said...

anon 10:32 a.m.

Yes. Just be polite. Here's a justification: you have to make some serious financial decisions about whether to attend. If they're in a position to tell you you're not in the running, they should.

A prudential consideration: either you're still in the running at the school, or you're not. If you are, then so long as you are polite they won't be put off. If you're not, well, how can it hurt?

Of course, if you plan on attending the APA anyway, it might be wise to not sound desperate by emailing.

staring at the wall, waiting to die said...

lostmarbles: this nails it! I am in exactly the same situation as you. I've been done with the thesis since the end of the summer and I'm on to other projects that are going really well. Yet I still feel like shit and am having a really hard time being motivated to keep my other projects rolling.

Anonymous said...

PGS: thanks for this post. Most of your posts make me feel like crap. I especially felt like crap when you were going "fucking fucking fuck" despite having several interviews lined up. It's nice that you are thinking of those of us who have it even worse than you.


"There's a reason that LSAC posts ads in JFP looking for LSAT writers."

Yes - the reason is that their search is run by a guy with a philosophy PhD.

Anonymous said...

I'm beginning to suspect that the wiki readership has huge gaps such that interviewees of entire positions are missing. Can this many schools really not have called their candidates? I haven't done any comparison, so maybe there's a lot of clean up that needs to be done on the top list. Any thoughts?

Anonymous said...

I'm sure there are schools that will never be updated even though they've scheduled interviews. The question is how many?

There's still value to the wiki, of course. If people are mostly honest, it tells us which schools HAVE started contacting people. And it gives some idea of the rate at which people are being contacted. The tough part is figuring out the error bars in the data it provides.

Everyone who reads this and has their own blog, could you encourage your readers to update the wiki?

Anonymous said...

I think the wiki should have a wall of shame for all those schools that haven't scheduled interviews or have scheduled but never sent acknowledgments to those they rejected. I don't mind if the PFO "rocks the passive voice" - I just want some closure.

Anonymous said...

I could be wrong about this, but I'm fairly sure that tomorrow (Wed.) will be the biggest day left. If schools are like mine, grades were due *today*. That means meetings, for many places, will begin tomorrow--and my guess is places will want to hold their meetings quickly and then get out of town.

Search Committee Member

Anonymous said...

does anyone understand what's happening with the washington job???

tenured guy on a search committee said...

For what it's worth, the committee I'm on just called people about phone interviews today. So don't give up hope.

And to echo asstro: For the search I'm involved in, we received about 110 applications. The four members of the committee were told to identify no more than their top 15 and not to put anybody on the short list that they wouldn't actually be happy hiring. The four members ended up mentioning 43 of the 110 candidates on their lists. Of course only 12-15 of these 43 will be interviewed. But the larger point is that some one member of the committee thought that 40% of the pool was good enough that they'd make a solid hire. So it really is often the case that you're not rejected so much as edged out. I'm sure that's not a lot of consolation, but it does suggest that for candidates above a certain threshold of qualifications, persistence and patience will pay off.

Anonymous said...

The wiki does more harm than good. Whose idea was it anyway?

cw said...

Speaking of PFO's and the Wall of Shame: I had five APA interviews a couple of years ago. I got one on-campus out of that. What happened with the other four? I have no idea. I never heard another word from any of them -- nothing, nada, zip, zero, null. No email, no letter, no contact at all. I didn't even get a PFO when the searches were concluded. (I'm assuming they were concluded, of course, but how the fuck do I know?) It's as if they dropped into a hole somewhere, or maybe I did. If it's a phone interview, that's one thing, but I dragged my ass to NY for these interviews.

Anonymous said...

Totally unrelated, but this seems like the place to vent.

The APA has this prize I've been lovingly referring to as the 'biggest loser' prize. The Rockefeller Prize is a prize for those of us (I'm among them) who do not have and have not had any sort of permanent employment in philosophy. It's nice for us losers who can't find real work in philosophy. They'll give you $1000 for the best unpublished essay authored by someone without permanent employment in philosophy.

This year's winner already has an assistant professor's position. What the shit?

Anonymous said...

Unemployed when it was written perhaps?

("Where was the cool grand back then?!")

junorperson said...

Maybe the prize committee knows something about his or her tenure chances?!

Anonymous said...

Again, does anyone know what's happening with Washington? Are there now two positions?

And what about Florida State? I thought I saw them in section II of the wiki last night, but now they're in section I -- was I dreaming/being deceived by an evil demon?

Anonymous said...

I don't know about Washington, but I'm wondering the same thing about Florida State. Starting to think that the Wall of Shame idea isn't such a bad one.

After this week's up, those departments still hanging around section I or that never had the courtesy to acknowledge applications should be blacklisted. This wouldn't just be venting. It would provide a service to those on the market in future years by letting them know not to expect much from places that can't get their act together.

will philosophize for food said...

"After this week's up, those departments still hanging around section I or that never had the courtesy to acknowledge applications should be blacklisted. This wouldn't just be venting. It would provide a service to those on the market in future years by letting them know not to expect much from places that can't get their act together."

If indeed they did explicitly advertise that they will interview at the APA, perhaps. But many schools don't. The expense between airfare and hotel for three search committee members can be daunting for a school with a small budget for searches. My graduate school, for example, has gone to phone interviews instead of trekking up to Baltimore. Should schools who plan to conduct phone interviews in January be publicly condemned because they don't happen to correspond to your schedule?

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Washington job: I received a short list notification yesterday in connection with the mind / cogsci job. Evidently, they are looking to hire both there and in phil of biology. They are bypassing the APA going straight for campus interviews. Invitations will be sent in early to mid-January. Meanwhile, I see from the wiki that someone claims to have already scheduled a campus interview with them. I can only hope that this is for the biology position, not for the mind / cogsci position. (Nor does this hope seem completely unfounded, since presumably there are many more candidates for the latter position.)

Anonymous said...

Come on, folks, get a bit of a grip. These departments have no obligation to tell you anything. Seriously, a good many of you are feeling a pretty wrongheaded sense of entitlement and it needs to stop now. You think Micky D's, Macy's, or Crazy Eddie's Toyota is obligated to call you to tell you that you DIDN'T get the job?

Rejection letters and letters of acknowledgement are superogatory at best. While yes, they would make all of ours lives run a bit smoother, they aren't something we should reasonably expect. You really, truly, really truly gotta know why SLAC or Crud State hasn't contacted you? Call them. Email them. Just stop bitching and moaning.

Anonymous said...

I know for a fact, as a member of a current search committee, that there is at least one department -- mine -- that has notified a number of candidates that we will be interviewing them at the APA without the fact of those interviews being noted yet on the Wiki. The wiki may well be and probably is wiki-> world reliable but it's clearly not fully world -> wiki reliable, if you know what I mean.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 10:16 -- it's hardly my schedule. I'd take a phone interview in January over an APA interview next week in a heartbeat. But how are we supposed to know what all those departments still in section I are planning if they don't at least say whether or not they'll be at the APA?

to Anon 10:24 -- the wiki is easy to update, and SCs are free to make the changes themselves.

Ted said...

"But how are we supposed to know what all those departments still in section I are planning if they don't at least say whether or not they'll be at the APA?"

Not sure where it is written that we have a right to know when search committees are going to contact people. It seems to me that our applying to schools that don't provide this information is our acceptance of this, and so we really can't justifiably bitch about it. Of course, if you don't like it, then just apply to places that state in their adverts that they will be interviewing at the APA...

lostmarbles said...

As much as my obsessive-compulsive little brain would like closure, I have to agree with the anonymous poster I will call "getagrip". I really don't expect to be notified by any departments that I did not get their job. Think about how much tedious mind-numbing work that is for some poor administrative assistant. I mean how bad was it for us sending out 40-80 applications. Now imagine sending out 300 rejection letters! I also don't expect SC to post on the wiki. I happen to know for a fact that one of the jobs up there is already gone, but one of the SC members asked that I not post on the wiki, since they might want to keep their status confidential, for whatever reasons. So SC members *may* not post for confidentiality reasons (yes, yes, this may be overscrupulous, nevertheless). Besides, what does posting on the wiki do for an SC member anyhow?

Anonymous said...

looking on the bright side reminded us recently not to forget about junior colleges, noting that they will nearly all refer to themselves as "community colleges."

Thus it's hard not to smile at this line from ad #355 in JFP: "The University of Wisconsin Colleges are Freshman/Sophomore transfer campuses within the University of Wisconsin System."

I would be delighted to get a job at a place like this; don't get me wrong. But I have to laugh at the idea that these are neither junior colleges nor community colleges, but "Freshman/Sophomore transfer campuses." Not exactly the same as being TT at UW-Madison, I suspect.

(But again, if they'll pay me more than my curent stipend, sign me up!)

Anonymous said...

In computing science, we have this handy thing called 'email'. When you apply for a job, you send an email stating that you are applying for job X, and then we (automatically!) get a list of every applicant. Sending notifications/rejections is as easy as pressing a button.

Computers are great. You should try them.

TT Newbie said...

I have a quick question. Would it be acceptable to write a school that hasn't had interviews show up on the wiki and ask them about their timetable? If so, how would you do it? I am assuming I am out of luck at these schools, but I don't want to change my travel plans quite yet.

lostmarbles said...

Email, right! I just got a rejection letter from Rice so I am thinking in paper. Still, I don't expect rejection letters : )

Anonymous said...

I just got my first PFO of the year. It's from Xavier University (Cincinnati), and get this: they canceled the search because they didn't get a large enough pool of applicants! Don't you love it? Well-qualified philosophers will work for food, and they figured out a way to define a job that they can't fill. Let's hope their dean is sympathetic.

Anonymous said...

I got my first PFO the other day too. Damn that hurts.

Reading between the lines: "Even if all of our preferred candidates turn out to be mouthbreathing cretins and we have to go back to our applicant pool, we still wouldn't consider your application. That's how sure we are! Love, The Search Committee"

Anonymous said...

Xavier University (Cincinnati) [...] canceled the search because they didn't get a large enough pool of applicants!

Huh? What was the AOS/AOC for that? AOS: Bonaventure and Carnap. AOC: French Feminism (Kristeva, etc.)? How the hell do you not get a large enough pool of applicants?

I mean, it's one thing to be a little disappointed because you got only 65 applicants instead of the 175 you were expecting, but what sort of applicant pool did they have where they couldn't find 10 decent-looking people to interview at the APA?

Anonymous said...

Xavier wanted "applicants whose primary areas of scholarship include both business ethics and the history of ethical theory." I guess they took that literally. Maybe they want someone who publishes in both areas (both true AOSs, not an AOS and an AOC) and not in other areas (if you've got a third AOS in biomedical ethics, then those two aren't your PRIMARY areas). That's all I can figure out. It's not like this is fucking Princeton. You probably need something like 3 journal articles for tenure. It's a Jesuit school, so maybe there's the tacit requirement that candidates must come from the half-dozen Catholic schools that supply all the faculty at other Catholic schools.

will philosophize for food said...

Xavier: AOS: Business Ethics and History of Ethical Theory. AOC: History of Philosophy

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Xavier advert: I'll bet most people looked at the AOC and said, "WTF, they want AOC in the HISTORY of philosophy--the whole frickin' history, not just a one or two periods or figures--and this is IN ADDITION to having the history of ethical theory as an AOS!"

Of course they wouldn't get many candidates. Going by the usual criterion of listing an AOC as being a course that one could with some prep teach an upper-level undergraduate course, not many graduates could teach upper-level courses in all the historical periods of philosophy, and in addition, do the same for graduate level courses in the history of ethics, and teach business ethics at that level. You assume with this description, they had one person in mind as in inside hire, but since they canceled the search, even such a person, if there is one, is SOL.

Anonymous said...

The Xavier ad was for "AOS: Business Ethics and History of Ethical Theory. AOC: History of Philosophy." -- I wonder if there just aren't enough Business Ethics folks at History of Philosophy oriented departments?

Anonymous said...

Heh. I remember an ad for a Catholic school several years ago that had the thought of Bernard Lonegran as the AOS and neo-Platonism (or something like that) as the AOC. How many applicants do you think fit that profile...?

Anonymous said...

That Xavier AOS is really bizarre. Change the 'and' to an 'or,' and say that the applicant must have an AOC in whichever of the two she doesn't have as an AOS, and you would probably get a smallish but reasonable-looking pool. Hell, you could even throw in a requirement that applicants must be able to teach widely in the history of philosophy on top of it and probably still be OK. (Lots of non-specialists can claim to teach OK survey classes in ancient and modern.)

What possible reason would there be (except for trying to pave the way for an inside candidate) for considering only applicants whose research specializations are in history of ethical theory and business ethics? Is there somebody out there who does Neo-Thomistic analyses of accounting fraud?

Anonymous said...

To Anon 1:54pm - Actually, I know someone in a theology department writing on Thomistic virtue ethics and business ethics. So, you never know.

Al Gore said...

"The wiki does more harm than good. Whose idea was it anyway?"

It was mine. I invented the wiki. Wanna fight?

Anonymous said...

Why not look at this way: the situation in ethics is different to the rest of philosophy, with plenty of jobs around for ethicists. Business ethics is particularly in demand: finding someone who primarily specialises in business ethics, as opposed to simply being competent to teach it is very hard.

Doctor said...

"No one gives a shit as long as we smile. We are the people that you hate. We are the bastards that you created. A generation with no face. A generation of all your sons . . . and daughters . . . And what did you expect - a perfect child raised by TV sets abandoned every mile . . . No one gives a shit as long as we smile. . . "
Nowhere Kids - Smile Empty Soul

I have invested my whole life in a philosophical education, getting a doctoral degree, working on publications and now for a couple years at my first job, which has a large teaching load, trapping me, preventing me from having the time to work much on further publishing, and the result is that I have nothing now. Applied for dozens of job openings in the JFP, and basically, no one is interested, and even less schools are interested now than before I had solid teaching experience (and I might add, I have become an amazing teacher). The fact that philosophy is a caste system has certain unsurprising consequences Read More from this recent PhD in Philosophy

oldassprof said...

Actually doctor, you don't have "nothing"; you have a job in philosophy, which is what the people here are looking for. So your whining is a bit tasteless.

Furthermore, your complaint about philosophy seems to be that the system is preventing you from getting the superior job that your massive talents entitle you to. You do not dislike the caste system. You just resent the fact that you personally are not doing well out of it.

Doctor said...

On one matter, oldassprof is completely correct. To those who do not have a job - I would like to apologize. My whining could seem tasteless and for that, I am truly sorry. I ask that you would please forgive me. I will be joining you in being jobless as of May. And the prospects of that are psychologically worse, for me, than similar prospects were when I was still a graduate student and postponing graduation, being an nth + 1 year graduate student (at least then I could have a light teaching load and a stipend).

On another matter, oldassprof could not be farther from the truth. Oldassprof says: "You do not dislike the caste system. You just resent the fact that you personally are not doing well out of it." My reply is -- absolutely false!! I dislike the fact that in my experience, philosophy journals are not blind refereed (or to be sure they do not appear to be), that admissions and search committees use heuristics rather than true measures of applicant's potential, that many figures termed “rising stars” suffer from an unbearable amount of inflated merit and so on. (Would I want to ever suffer from inflated merit – no way!) If someone has a great idea or insight or cogent, original argument, I know that I do not care who that person is or what level of the "caste system" they are at - unfortunately, I have discovered that in philosophy, I am rare. That is what I dislike. That is what is sad to me. Philosophy attracted me as a subject because of its method and content and it attracted me as a career because it appeared to be a discipline where the content of one's ideas and mechanics of one's writing are what matter. Since it is situated inside a capitalistic society, there is no way to do philosophy for most people unless you have tremendous success publishing. However, my experience here is that success in publishing depends on factors to do with the caste system that philosophy is and are not much in one's control.