Talking about Princeton's PFO the other day, I got bogged down looking at trees and I lost sight of the forest, so let me come back to that for a second. The funny thing about the Princeton PFO is, it doesn't really feel like a PFO to me. It feels more like me and Princeton are just playing out our little roles.
Here's some background, at least as I understand it, for the civilians. Princeton advertises a junior job in the JFP every year. They're not necessarily looking to hire anyone. Maybe they really are this year, I don't know. But for the most part, they're just dipping their line in the stream to see what they can catch. Maybe someone coming out of MIT or Berkeley or wherever is obviously the next monster, a 27 year old whose dissertation looks like the first major work in a brand new sub-discipline she just fucking invented. Who knows? Maybe. And Princeton doesn't want to get shut out of the race to grab that candidate just because they don't happen to be doing a search that year. So they just go ahead and do a search every year, regardless of whether or not they really need to hire anyone. It's actually pretty smart, when you think about it.
It also means losers like me are going to apply for the same job over and over again. And we're going to get rejected over and over again too, because it's fucking Princeton. I've got a better shot at getting a job as the Pope of the APA.
But here's the thing. If it's the sort of thing where I know I don't have a chance, and I just apply over and over again anyway, it's not really like a real job application, is it? The meaningless repetition actually makes it more like a little absurdist performance piece. "Total Fucking Loser: a play in n acts." This PFO brings act two to a close. Tune in next year for act three, when me and Princeton do the exact same thing again. That should be interesting!