Thursday, January 31, 2008

Felt a Tremor Stir Beneath My Breath, That Forecasts Storms on the Gallup Poll

I wrote this post a little while ago, so it's something of a first impression. I'll have more to say later. --PGS

When I went through this last year, the possibility that I wouldn't get any fly-backs never really sunk in until it was already happening. I mean, I knew it was a possibility in some vague, abstract sense, and when people asked I always made sure to emphasize that nothing was guaranteed and anything could happen. But in my gut, getting no fly-backs just never felt real. I wasn't prepared for how it'd hit me when it happened.

The nothing I had to show for months of some of the most intense work I'd ever done in my life, the total and unqualified failure--that stayed with me this year. It felt like a fifteen pound stone in the pit of my stomach whenever I was working on my applications. It was real enough to make me terrified of my own hope, because what I learned last year is, hope is just the groundwork for despair.

So. Here I am again. No fly-backs. And even though I've been carrying that nothing around in my gut for the past year, I still feel like I've had the rug pulled out from under me. I want to understand it, but I can't, because there really isn't anything to understand. It feels like I'm being punished and I don't know why.

99 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dude, I feel your pain. Really, I do. Last year I had a whole bunch of interviews (8 or 9, I can't remember, and why would I bother trying to remember?), and 2 flyouts. Nothin'. This year, not a single fucking interview. So obviously no flyouts. Yeah, the details vary, but I really get what you're going through.

So here's a little something to brighten your day (yeah, right) - an amazing PFO:

"Dear Mr. Nothing,

I am writing to inform you that we have completed our search for [X position]. We thank you for your application and your interest in [Y school]. We appreciate having had the opportunity to consider you for our position. Our very best wishes to you on your future professional endeavors.

Sincerely,

[Z who has a job]"

So are we going to the prom or what?

Anonymous said...

That really sucks, and I feel for you. If it is any consolation, I am in the same boat. 6 apa interviews and 2 phone interviews, and no fly outs. This is my first year on the market. I knew getting a TT job in philosophy coming out of low ranked (but ranked, nonetheless) would be difficult, but I have a few publications, lots of teaching experience, and even service (oh, and should I say I am a woman as well). But nothing, not a f***ing thing. I deceived myself by thinking that this would never happen to me, but here I am, and it sucks. All I am trying to do is to muster the energy to finish the damn dissertation, and who knows if I will try again next year as the whole process is so demoralizing.

Kalynne Pudner said...

I am so sorry. But really, you were right when you said that anything can happen. One person gets offered three jobs, turns two down, second choices are committed elsewhere...who knows? You will end up in the place you're supposed to.

Yeah, just call me "Dr. Leibniz."

Anonymous said...

aw, fuck.
man, that really hurts.
especially the last line about being punished. i know all about that feeling. (helps if you're jewish, though someone once told me certain strands of catholic do a pretty good line in that sort of thing too).

And now my soul is poured out within me; days of affliction have taken hold of me.
The night racks my bones, and the pain that gnaws me takes no rest.
With violence it seizes my garment; it binds me about like the collar of my tunic.
God has cast me into the mire, and I have become like dust and ashes.

never occurred to me that this might be a philosophy Jôb market blog.

Anonymous said...

The pain is mutual, unfortunately.

To me the market seems to force new Ph.D.'s to take a VAP or teach as adjuncts to build up a c.v. that is competitive. It so hard to land a tt job right out of school because we're competing with faculty who have been out for 1-5 years teaching and publishing. I'm sure there are exceptions, but I'd bet not many in good jobs. So the question is whether or not we're willing to put up with that given the ongoing uncertainty.

At the same time, I agree with a comment in the previous thread: it's unclear where to put the filter on the oversupply of potential faculty. It has to work itself out as a market, and even if it's messy, you have to have faith that the good philosophers ultimately do get the right sort of job for them.

m.a. program faculty member said...

Man, that sucks.

I know that hearing this probably isn't much consolation at this point, but please try to remember that the track of

get Ph.D. --> do VAP gigs for a year or three --> get a TT job

is really common now--if I had to guess, it's more common than getting a TT job right out of grad school--so don't despair.

Sorry that it's been so brutal for you so far.

tenured philosophy girl said...

PGS, I know it's depressing - and you seem really smart and thoughtful so I am sorry. BUT ... I have made versions of this point before and so does MA program faculty member ... before you let the violins swell too maudlinly, remember that it is TOTALLY standard to start with a visiting position, and I kinda don't think anyone should waste too much time feeling bad for themselves for going that route or feeling that they are 'above' such a path.

In particular, it disturbs me that anon 3:09 writes, "To me the market seems to FORCE new Ph.D.'s to take a VAP ... So the question is whether or not we're willing to PUT UP WITH that given the ongoing uncertainty." (my caps)

What is so terrible about this? Why must you be 'forced' and feel that you are not even sure you will 'put up' with it? I started that way - almost everyone I know started that way - and actually it was great. Do almost no service, build up your cv, experience a new place and meet people and make connections while you are (probably) still young and mobile, and move on. Where's the trauma??

A point I have not seen made on this board is that in the sciences and in medicine, postdocs and residencies and the like are de rigeur before tt positions. Throughout most of academia, it's a totally standard part of the game to spend a year or two here and there building up a profile before going tenure-track. So? Why should we be different?

But really, PGS - especially swimming as you are in the cult of the tt job that is this blog - I do understand how empty it all feels here at the ass-end of January.

Anonymous said...

Yeah PGS, I know where you're coming from. I know I wasn't prepared not to have any flybacks, although I did book one.

But, look, you don't have a PhD and you don't have any significant publications (or any at all? I'm a little unclear) and your not from the Ivies. I would consider it very unlikely that you'd get a TT job given these facts. Finish the PhD or get a decent journal article out and I think you'll be in business. You got multiple APA interviews this year which means people notice you at the moment but you need to add something in there. You may also want to work on your interview technique, although obviously I have no idea what factors played into your lack of flybacks. I am concerned that you may go into interviews with a way-too cynical attitude already and that that is not helping you, leading to spiralling cynicism. But seriously, I've always been baffled by the fact that you think it's somehow outrageous that you, without a PhD or journal articles, i.e. without tangible research output, can seem to expect people to seriously consider hiring you.

languagepolice said...

Oh man, I love Calexico. That song gave me chills back in the Spring of 06 when Bush et al seemed unstoppable...

Sorry to hear you feel defeated. I can't get up the gumption to apply for the Feb/March positions that are already being advertised.

Still, sometimes you can tap into that desperation for the sake of creativity. I wrote a lot about politics and the idea of America in 2005, 06, 07... None of it is publishable really anywhere, but it was good for the soul (and this Calexico song did inspire me). And, after last year's failed job search, I sent off a shortened version of my first chapter to a journal and the issue it is in just came out.

Anyhow, keep your head up. I'll try to do the same...(no fly-outs for me either.)

Anonymous said...

I just don't understand all this belly-aching. You all haven't even finished your dissertations yet and you want someone to give you a job? It is just unrealistic. Maybe it happens in some cases, but to think that it is a god-given right is insane.

If you'd all ever worked, you'd know you start out entry-level and work your way up. That is how the world works. There may be exceptions for superstars, but everyone else works like that.

Anonymous said...

This is my third year straight on the job market (after finishing my dissertation a couple years ago). This year I had 6 total interviews, yet no flyouts so far. Each year, I've been able to land a one-year visiting position, which isn't so bad. But after repeated times on the market, it does get frustrating, especially if you are wanting to settle down someplace and not repeat the process over again every year.

Hang in there, work on building your CV more, and keep going at it. I've talked with other senior profs in my current department, and many of them have personal stories too of several years w/ no interviews and/or visiting or adjunct positions before finally landing the coveted TT position.

Anonymous said...

It's a little different to start "entry level" with a company where you can plan to work your way up within a corporation (and likely in the same geographic area). Picking up every year for a few years to pursue a new job in totally different parts of the country is a different deal, especially if you have a significant other, which many people do by 27-30 years old.

will philosophize for food said...

I'm right there with you, although my numbers are far less impressive. 1 APA interview, 1 phone interview that was eventually f**king canceled (thank you Mt. Ida), and no flyouts.

Both MA Faculty Member and Tenured Prof Girl (as usual with her) are right. So is Anon 4:25, although the same point was made by him/her rather tactlessly. The Ph.D. has become the standard nowadays. Don't expect to score a TT unless you have Ph.D. in hand. I know for a fact that (for my interview--singular) I was up against some people who were already gainfully employed. How can an almost newly minted Ph.D. compete?

Although I might venture to point out to Tenured Prof. Girl that "what is so terrible about" a VAP is that as soon as you move to a new city and find the damn grocery store, you're back to applying all over again. Although it may be standard, it still kinda sucks. I would really have liked a TT. I will settle for a VAP. However, the way things are looking, I'm probably going to be adjuncting for yet another year.

I spent the last few weeks licking my wounds, and now I've put myself back in the emotional state in which I'm able to start applying to jobs again--and finishing that final chapter of the dissertation. Perhaps the best revenge might be to get done, write something brilliant, and in a decade or so be in a position to turn down offers from all those schools who didn't give you a second look.

"[It] never occurred to me that this might be a philosophy Jôb market blog" (Anon 1:51).

Fracking brilliant! That's exactly how I feel: "My soul is weary of life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak of the bitterness of my soul" (Job 10:1).

Anonymous said...

I read this post to my partner, who is not in philosophy but has observed the philosophy job market from afar, and she started to cry.

Anonymous said...

The professor business is an itinerant one. That is not a secret. EVERYONE knows that. You have to go where the work is. It's not like being an accountant or a lawyer or a doctor, where any town anywhere needs your services.

You DO need to work your way up, to prove yourself. It's just like everywhere else. Some people can prove themselves while still grad students, others need more time. And some are not going to end up as professors at all. And that's the way the world is.

You complain about being 27-30. You'd think that by 27-30 you'd have some idea of how the world operates.

Anonymous said...

Let me give you people a bit of real-world advice, from someone who has gotten real jobs from classified ads and who has sifted through hundreds of resumes picking people to interview.

In an "employer's" market, the only people who are going to get interviews/get the job are the people who are "perfect" for the advertised job. The people who meet the criteria exactly. If you are not PERFECT for a job, you probably aren't going to get it. Focus on those opportunites that really are a fit for you.

Applying willy-nilly on a wing and a prayer is never going to get you anywhere.

NY said...

"But seriously, I've always been baffled by the fact that you think it's somehow outrageous that you, without a PhD or journal articles, i.e. without tangible research output, can seem to expect people to seriously consider hiring you."

You, big shot, should fuck off.


"I just don't understand all this belly-aching. You all haven't even finished your dissertations yet and you want someone to give you a job? It is just unrealistic. Maybe it happens in some cases, but to think that it is a god-given right is insane.

If you'd all ever worked, you'd know you start out entry-level and work your way up. That is how the world works. There may be exceptions for superstars, but everyone else works like that."

And you should fuck off as well. You know what philosophy professors get paid to do? They get paid to teach students. Yet we care more that a candidate has articles published on some terribly narrow topic in an area we know nothing about anyway. If not for undergraduates having to fulfill requirements, philosophers would have no jobs.

Anonymous said...

I agree, it's not right -

Over the holidays I saw a lot of friends from college- they have lives, careers, homes (nice homes), nice cars, winter trips to Mexico...and they call me lucky for still being in school.

Ya dude..i'm going to the frat for a few beers..wanna go?

Anonymous said...

The APA was a month ago, I realize, and people are beginning to feel despair. But it could be that despair is not warranted yet. Check the wiki. It indicates that there are lots of jobs that apparently haven't yet made calls for campus interviews.

This assumes that the wiki is still being updated. But that seems to be the case. (Check the wiki's history.) So that call for the campus interview that you really want could still be coming.

Please don't tell me I'm wrong about this. It's all I've got left.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:04 here. Look, I'm not complaining about being 27, nor about the realities of the job market. I was just trying to point out that I thought the analogy was inept.

But when I started reading this blog, my impression was that it was a place to vent, and to joke, with people similarly placed. I'm guessing the comments a few posts back were right, that the additional ugliness is a factor of people being stressed as opportunities narrow down.

The job market is ugly enough. Do we really need to keep cutting each other down?

Anonymous said...

4:25, 5:04, 5:29, 5:35 -- thank you for your helpful and insightful observations that life is tough all over and that the world works in certain ways. I'm sure that every time you've been disappointed or dejected about something you've cheered yourself up with those thoughts.

Tenured Philosophy Girl -- since you asked, I'll tell you where the trauma of the VAP track is: moving your spouse and two young children to a new city for several years in a row, where they get to try to make new friends while you struggle to afford health care and child care so that you can do enough work to maybe get a grown-up job someday -- though who knows when or where! -- and stop moving around and living with paralyzing uncertainty. It has nothing to do with thinking you're "above" such things. I'm not saying it's not worth it or that those of us who find ourselves there aren't responsible for our choice to be there, but it's not exactly a bed of roses for everybody.

Also, in the sciences it's quite common for people to avoid the post-doc chase by finding a job in industry, which can be lucrative and intellectually satisfying, and is relatively secure. The match system in medicine is tolerable because it's for a specific length of time and you have an excellent chance of finding a good job in a place you want to live when it's done. Both features are clearly not present in the philosophy no-man's-land between PhD and (maybe!) TT job. So I don't know "why we should be different," but those are two ways in which we clearly are.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:03:

I haven't given up hope either. In my case, I know I'm on the short list at one place, and probably on a similar list at another place. Additionally, there are some schools that have indicated that they hope to extend campus invitations by the end of Feb. (or even March. These are smaller, remoter schools, but given that I'm from a non-Leiterrific place, this is my market.) So in my case, things might just be getting interesting. (I did have some earlier interviews, but no dice...)

Prof. J. said...

Wow, that 'advice from the real world' shtick gets old fast.

Tell you what, honestly, maybe hard work helps, but you need luck, too. A lot of the sorting is luck. As I recall, some years back it was, I had about 15 APA interviews, and out of them I got exactly one job offer. Yikes. Whew. After that, it was easy. (Well, relatively speaking.)

So, good luck to you, PGS.

Anonymous said...

prof j, from your ivory tower, why don't you actually help these people? These are cries for help, not venting, help them! Vague words of encouragement with a vague story doesn't help anyone.

Pseudonymous Grad Student said...

Anon. 7:22 --

No, it's venting. Prof. J's response --ie, comiseration--is exactly the response of someone with the experience to understand what we're doing and the kindness to know how to react to that.

And "ivory tower"? Seriously? Dude, come on.

ttprof said...

Hang in there, PGS. I don't know who you are, but I'm routing for you. How's P.G.O.A.T?

Anonymous said...

I offer here my job history since getting a PhD in philosophy with the sincere desire that it may give some hope. If, instead of providing some comfort, it merely depresses, then I’m really sorry. I’ve been sitting here looking at the ‘publish’ button trying to figure out which is more likely. But what I want you to think is this: “This sucks, but if I end up with something decent four or five years AFTER I have the PhD in hand, I’ll still be ahead of THAT guy. And even he ended up in a tt job.” I’m from a program that is Leiterrible.

1st year out with 0 pubs:
8-course adjunct job

2nd year out with 1 pub in a journal you’ve never heard of: 2-course adjunct job for one term, unemployed the next

3rd year out with 2 pubs in journals you’ve never heard of: adjunct jobs at 3 schools – 16 courses (I needed $)

4th year out with 2 pubs:
VAP with 3-4 load (almost all critical thinking courses)

5th year out with 2 pubs: same

6th year out with 3 pubs: TT at SLAC

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead said...

Back to work people.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 8:29 raises an interesting question--at least for me.

I'm in a visiting position right now, in a place I like, and in a town where my partner and I are quite happy. But do too many years visiting worry SC's?

Anon. 8:29 got a tt spot after 5 years out--is that typical? Would any SC members care to comment on patterns? Or advise as to how many years visiting starts looking like too many?

Anonymous said...

My impression is that the wiki is not very reliable at this stage. Via the rumor mill I heard that one unlisted school made fly-out decisions a long time ago. I don't want to post it, as I don't feel I know it. Of course, I could post "heard rumors that ...". But there is no precedence for that. There are good reasons why the wiki is highly reliable at the APA interview stage but fails at the fly-out stage. At the APA interview stage, there are 12+ people who might post. At the fly-out stage there are only 3+ people who might post. When the fly-outs are primarily from overseas (e.g. Britain) the chances that notifications are made go down (as the wiki is primarily a US thing).

VAP said...

OK, I'll be the optimist.

I think this speaks to the nobility of the profession. Every one who gets a job in philosophy gets the job because they love philosophy. They dedicate their life to the pursuit of truth. There are very few pretenders in the profession.

We pursue our work at significant monetary and psychological cost. Too risk so much for what you care about is worthy of admiration. Non-academic friends with big cars and houses see this and are jealousy. They are happy to pay the bills, but they wish they had work that means that much to them.

It is natural to be depressed. But would you rather call on clients or file forms? I hope not. So take heart. It may work out.

I will pour another drink as I try to believe what I just wrote.

Anonymous said...

YOU DON'T HAVE YOUR PhD??

Justifiable depression starts when you have all the feathers and still can't fly. In the meantime, concentrate on earning more stripes.

Opps. Mixed metaphors. Well, we can live with that.

tt assprof said...

PGS,

It took me four years after diss to find a tt job.

I don't think that's unusual, it may even be pretty typical.

I have a colleague, who is a very good philosopher, who spent 10 years in the wilderness.

So I wouldn't stress too much now since, after all, you don't have your diss yet.

Look at it this way: you still have four or five more years before you should feel desperate.

Shit, at your stage, I wasn't even thinking about tt jobs, and counted myself lucky I got a VAP.

Shit, at your stage, I was just psyched I found a thesis to go with my overlong diss.

Once you defend, I'm sure you'll do very well indeed. Sounds like you even landed some interviews at the APA. You should count yourself not only good but lucky for landing those.

Sisyphus said...

Oh, man --- you're makin' me cry, dude.

And I don't understand how so many people can respond to this post where you're trying to admit and process through your emotions --- and also, doing the very important tasks of publicizing how many many of us feel (as well as warning future job seekers that this is what it will feel like) --- with stupid attacks, crappy generalized-suck-it-up advice, and free market bullshit.

Come on, people, are you really saying that PGS can't legitimately have these feelings because of the presence or absence of a degree or publication?

PGS, I'm sorry. I'm sending you my best wishes.

Anonymous said...

"You know what philosophy professors get paid to do? They get paid to teach students."

That's only true at community colleges, or of adjuncts at colleges and universities. For proper professors at LACs and research institutions, part of what you are paid for is the research that you do. Hence, someone like PGS, who, as far as I can tell from what she's said in this blog (and I've read all of it), has only proved herself on the teaching side, is aiming high to get a TT job at most institutions. Let me elaborate: if she's up against candidates, and she is, who have proven ability to produce research (i.e. the PhD, publications), she's not going to get the job. I refuse to fuck off. I didn't go on the market till I'd got a PhD for the reason that I thought it would be a waste of time before for me. I think I was right. It might have been different if my AOS was in more demand, of course.

"Applying willy-nilly on a wing and a prayer is never going to get you anywhere."

This is the lesson I'm drawing from this year's search big time. The only nibble I had this year from all those applications was for a job where the advertised AOS matched mine exactly. For everything that I could do, but isn't exactly me, there are better people and it turned out to be a waste of postage.

Anonymous said...

Sorry PGS (and the rest of you)--I feel for you. I really do. I got nothing my first two tries on the market.

And frankly, I'm a bit dissapointed to read some of the harsh comments on this blog. For example: to compare the situation of a philosopher who get no flyback to that an an MD is outrageous. First, unlike an MD who has decent credentials, the philosopher has ABSOLUTELY no gaurantee of a VAP, but the MD can easily get a decent internship and residency---if s/he likes, probably in the same city s/he is living in. Second, the MD KNOWS there is a job in medicine at the end of all this. Its certain. The philosopher has to worry that s/he is wasting another year that could be devoted to developing a new career. Its one more year while her friends from college are getting promotted in their chosen career. Third, a residency in most fields of medicine PAYS MORE than a tenure track job in philosophy. So, in a relative sense, the MD is not putting of making a decent living for another year like the philosopher. Finally, an MD is 4 years! That's, in part, because its UNDERSTOOD that an MD does not prepare you for an academic career in medicine. But a PhD in philosophy is supposed to do. That's why they usually take at least 6 years, and for many, more. This is also true in the sciences. Science PhDs are faster, in part because its understood you will get a postdoc where you will improve your skills. And a VAP is completely unlike a postdoc in that you will have heavy teaching and you will NOT be developing your skills and boosting your research CV at nearly the rate that a science post doc can. And wrt science post-docs: most of them can keep their postdocs as long as they need to, until they find a job. Its a reasonably comfortable situation. Philosophers usually get, if they are lucky, one year gigs at time. Way more stressful.

Finally, if you get stuck adjuncting, your life is really much much suckier than any science postdoc or intern/resident.

Mr. Zero said...

PGS, I definitely feel your pain. I'm in sort of the same boat--ABD, no flyouts. Also, no interviews. In fact, I'd suggest thinking about it this way: it's actually sort of an accomplishment (relative to the fucked-up state of the job market, of course) to get any interviews at all without a completed dissertation. The people in my program who go on the market without a diss tend to suffer horrible defeats, but the same people tend to do really well once their dissertations are done.

Are you in danger of not being funded next year? If not, I'd try to just shake it off and finnish the diss in time for next year. I think once your advisors can write that they've read your entire dissertation, your luck will improve.

Philosophy Prof said...

VAP positions are sometimes for 2-3 years, but more importantly even if they are advertised as 1-year, they are in many cases renewable. A school that has a teaching need in a given year will often have that need the next year and the next, and if a person does a good job, renewal is in many cases a matter of course (as the SC doesn't want to search again). So moving around may be a pain, but it's very different if one gets to stay put for 2-3 years, find some grounding in a community, publish a bit, add some teaching experience. And SCs are not going to be concerned at all about VAPS so long as some publishing is done in those years. If one publishes nothing, that's different, but if one does publish a couple of good pieces, then the 2-4 years at the VAP is just a sign that the person wanted to bear down and get some work done without going on the market again and again. That may even be a positive sign to the SC that the candidate is not crazy. A wrinkle is that it won't be totally clear until the spring semester if a VAP will be renewed (if there is the relevant teaching need), but this happens very often.

languagepolice said...

I just wanted to add, as an addendum to my previous comment, that something that may be helpful channeling job search anxiety for creativity is finding the right genre for self-expression. For P.G.S. and P.G.O.A.T. and nth year, that might be blogging, and I know I have enjoyed (if that's the right word) this blog since I discovered it.

I happen to think that the academic job search process is ripe for some sort of philosophical reflection in an essay format. A few years ago, I stumbled upon the writings of Irwin Edman, rather a popular philosopher in the 1930s and 40s it seems. Anyhow, his essays are conversational, perhaps not unlike the tone of many blog entries, but that does not rob them of philosophical insight.

I wouldn't suggest delving into serious writing right now -- when there are dissertations and applications to complete -- but one can write notes or muse over possibilities to be developed, say, over the summer.

Anonymous said...

"Of course, I could post "heard rumors that ...". But there is no precedence for that."

Well, why don't we (as in you, because my only source of rumors is this blog) start such a section on the wiki? That might induce schools who know of the wiki to get info out, if they see misinformation under a section that marks itself as being unreliable, but the last hope for wounded souls.

"Every one who gets a job in philosophy gets the job because they love philosophy."

Not my experience, but it's nice that you believe it so I won't piss too much in your orange juice.

And PGS: I do feel your pain, honest. Been there myself. I think all the comments about "you don't even have your degree in hand" are a little patronizing and mean-spirited, but I've got to say that they are on to something. I went on the market when I was ABD, but realized it might be too early to expect much (I got no interviews that year, as it happened). The fact is that having the degree really does make a difference. What those of us several years out should be telling you is the following:

It sucks getting squat after you've been in grad school n years, proved yourself, and gotten to the point where you'd be a good prof. But try not to get too disappointed now, for three reasons. First, your odds will improve in a year or two or even three, so the news now isn't as bad as it seems at the moment. Second, if you get too down now, it'll make it harder for you to be optimistic when your odds are actually improving. Third, the experience you're getting now should benefit you later, so the current pain is actually constructive (though, again, it may not feel like it now).

Does that make sense?

Tenured prof said...

"You know what philosophy professors get paid to do? They get paid to teach students. Yet we care more that a candidate has articles published on some terribly narrow topic in an area we know nothing about anyway. If not for undergraduates having to fulfill requirements, philosophers would have no jobs."

The fact that were it not for undergrad teaching our jobs wouldn't exist does not entail that that's what we get paid to do. It's *one* of the things we get paid to do, but it's not the only one. Your belief that it is - and the impication that research doesn't matter much - may go some way towards explaining institutions' lack of interest.

And even on the teaching, what's important is research led teaching - but the research needs to be there first for that to happen.

on the Job market (as in 'Book of') said...

I am in the same situation as PGS, albeit in my first year on the job market. That said, I feel that all of the wailing and gnashing of teeth is senseless, counterproductive, and most likely premature.

Admittedly I, too, was feeling like Job a few months ago when I ended up scoring only a single APA interview. The interview went really well, I became extremely hopeful again, and then I didn't get a flyback. Instead of putting my fucking hairshirt back on and crying out to Elohim about being forsaken and such, I just went all Stoic. And there I remain... in the Stoa. It's a good place to be.

Why? Well, for one thing, I feel like now I can finish up that dissertation which I'll be defending in a few months. Don't forget, folks, how awesome THAT event will be for you in and of itself! Hell, I've been in school since 1997 and that entire time I've been dreaming about FINALLY getting that Ph.D. It's a huge accomplishment, especially for someone like me whose parents are immigrants with high school level educations.

Now, I know what everyone says: "What the fuck use is having a Ph.D. if you don't have a job?" It's not a completely tootless retort, at least not yet - at least not in fucking February! I mean, it's not as though there are NO prospects left. I don't think any of us are in a position to lament until at least June (maybe later). If there's still nothin' doin' at that point, well, maybe I'll be a bit disappointed. The prospect of riding the adjunct train for a year is not appealing. But I agree wholeheartedly with Prof j. - if you work hard enough, you'll eventualy get a good job in philosophy. The rest is all about becoming "indifferent to indifferent things." You don't have to be Seneca or Nietzsche or Joel Osterman to realize that feeling sorry for yourself accomplishes nothing.

My advice is to keep pouring over the JFP, CHE, HEJ, IHE, H-NET, UA, and jobs.ac.uk and apply for every fucking thing you can (within reasonable parameters, of course).
There are still some TT jobs floating around with more to come, not to mention slews of VAPs, limited-term appointments, postdocs, and CC positions.

Also, consider the fact that in spring a sizeable portion of your competition disappears. The kings and queens of the "first round" are out of the picture, and the operative question becomes: "are you at the top of the heap in the second round?" If the answer is "yes," as I honestly think it is in your (PGS's) case, then your chances of getting a job between now and September are increasing by (at least) a couple orders of magnitude. Sure, maybe it won't be an awesome TT job, but who gives a fuck? You'll get to do what you love and not have to worry about paying the bills. To keep belly-aching at that point (because you're at some no name school or you're living in a shitty town or you have a huge course load or whatever) is bullshit. Put your fucking nose to the grindstone, work your ass off, and try again. With additional teaching experience and publications and whatnot, things can only get better for you the next time around.

Let's all stop saying "sorry" and "I feel for you" and "this is depressing." Here's what you do, PGS: put on the Flight of the Valkyries, preferably at the highest volume that won't cause some to call the police, and tell yourself "I AM SUPERMAN AND I WILL EAT THE JOB MARKET FOR FUCKING BREAKFAST." Then bust out your books and get to work as only an Ubermensch can! Get the word "arete" tatooed on your fucking brow if necessary (preferably in Greek) as a reminder that YOU are EXCELLENT, that this is all just so much AGON and that eventually you will triumph over everything and everyone. Delusions of grandeur? Maybe, but who cares? The point is that you'll stop moping, get to work, and before you know it, you'll be Dr. PGS and you'll have fucking job.

Do you smell that, PGS? It's the sound of victory, my friend, and it's coming our fucking WAY!!!

Soon-to-be-jaded Dissertators of the World UNITE! Let's DO THIS, PEOPLE!!!!

Anonymous said...

This comparison with MDs irks the hell out of me. We're not MDs. We didn't go to medical school. We did academic PhDs. I'm entirely sure that everyone when they signed up for that had someone somewhere tell them that this was a crazy decision and ask what the hell they would do afterwards. I cannot believe people were not aware of the risks. Yes, if you go to medical school you are assured a job pretty much. People with medical degrees in this respect are completely unlike 99% of people on the planet. Most people on the planet are subsistence farmers. The fact that some of the most privileged people in the world today and some of the most privileged people who have ever lived come on here and bitch, bitch, bitch about how cruel life is to them, makes me palpably disgusted. Which is good, actually, because it kills my own temptation to be self-pitying.

weeping wall said...

I went on the market my first time this year (one interview, no flyouts); I haven't defended my dissertation yet. Some random questions I have:

The first poster said they had 8 or 9 interviews their first year, then none the second. What could explain that? Is the market that random and irrational?

I have always heard that being out of academia for a year is viewed as a very bad thing. The other day someone told me that it probably wasn't that big of a deal, and that SCs probably wouldn't even notice. Which is it? And what if one spends that year getting a couple of good publications? Then is it O.K.? I am thinking of cases where this exile is forced (say, someone who's funding has ran out and they fail to get a VAP).

Something I am curious about but never seem to get a straight answer on: how do people determine what their AOSs and AOCs are? (I know, "if I don't know how to determine what my AOSs are I'm not ready for the market" blah blah blah.) Obviously the area of one's dissertation is an AOS, but what else can allow one to claim something as an AOS? I have a publication in an area x and have been told to claim x as an AOS; but I don't feel I know enough about x to do this. Is a publication enough? I see people inflating their AOSs all of the time and it irritates me (probably because I'm not smart enough to inflate along with everyone else). Obviously this issue effects the number of jobs one can apply for, and therefore one's chances of getting a job.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I had three years of APA interviews without an on-campus, then finally finished my dissertation, got a few good pubs, got four on-campus interviews and landed a t-t job I've held tightly ever since. My only consolation is that those who get it too easy don't seem to cherish it much. But that's cold comfort for those who never get it... Good luck.

Prof. J. said...

Weeping,

The basic idea, I'd say, is that if you think you could teach a graduate seminar in the area, it's an AOS, and if you think you could teach an undergraduate class in the area (with some prep, obviously, but without having to spend months figuring it out) then it's an AOC.

That said, I think it's fine to tailor the two categories a bit to 'position' yourself for the sorts of jobs you want to apply for. Inflating them is a bad idea. If you list a whole bunch, it's going to look dubious and you might be asked some tough questions intended to smoke you out.


On another note: the idea that PGS shouldn't feel so bad because most people in the world are subsistence farmers strikes me as absurd, though it's kind of an interesting question (AOS ethics?) exactly why.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:30 asks us to think of the subsistence farmers and shut our whine-holes.

I'm sure somewhere someone is telling subsistence farmers to think of the war refugees and shut their whine-holes.

I hate this kind of argument. Fact is, things could always be worse and things could always be better. It's not a sign of wisdom to be aware of the former but not the latter.

Now, if people were bitching TO (unhappy) subsistence farmers about how awful adjuncting is, 8:30 might have a point. But they're not, and (s)he doesn't.

Anonymous said...

You have an OAS in X if you wrote your dissertation on X, or if you have published on X in a selective journal that can be counted on to vet the professionalism of your article with respect to X.

Either one of those is supposed to be a measure of your expertise with regard to X.

Jaded Dissertator said...

Yeah, PGS, I think you should finish your dissertation before you start venting.

You know, cause not only does that entitle to you a job (just like an MD!) at wherever you want around the people you love, but it also satisfies all the anonymous assholes' criteria for what allows us to complain about a somewhat arbitrary, opaque hiring practices that take place in a supposedly (otherwise) rational profession.

Seriously, who the fuck do you think you are? Providing this forum and blog for all of us to entertain ourselves when we should be writing a dissertation that is at less advanced stages than surely yours is.

Jesus, why don't you stop thinking that your (probably) at least 10 years of work (including BA, MA) in the area you love should count for something, if not at least one fly-out?

And fuck you for thinking that you deserve better explanations here and there, or at least have them commiserate with you, from your readers other than the standard: 'Oh, you're ABD? You have no publications? You must be an idiot to think...', because, yeah, you shouldn't expect that from the boards you supply from people who don't have to read this blog.

You're fucking right I'm not soon-to-be-jaded anymore. I'm jaded .

weeping wall said...

Thanks prof. j. and anon. 9:06.

To get in on the AOS inflation action, I was thinking of finding one of those Greek philosophers that we only have one surviving line from, reading the line, and then claiming Ancient philosophy as an AOS (because I am an expert on this philosopher). I doubt SCs would get as big of a kick out of that as I would though.

And all of the faux-macho advice in this thread to just "toughen up and quit bitching" is very obnoxious.

Anonymous said...

If our expectations of getting a TT job out of school are so unreasonable, as many have mentioned, then why invite us to the APA? (This gets back to one of the other forums about the (dis)value of APA interviews). Part of the reason I am bitching is because I spent over $1000. to attend the APA. As an ABD, why do they waste my time, money, and emotional energies then? Instead of preparing for job interviews, I could have been writing the dissertation, not going into debt, and maintaining my motivation.

m.a. program faculty member said...

I think we need to distinguish between adjuncting and VAPing. 'Adjuncting' (as I hear the term used) usually involves getting paid per course, usually lower-level courses, usually with no benefits. Some folks try to support themselves by adjuncting, often pulling together courses from several different places per term. That's a *rough* row to hoe.

VAPing is having a full-time position at a place, usually with bennies. Sometimes the teaching load is high (4/4), but not always. And often you get to teach upper-level classes too.

This can have drawbacks, as people pointed out above. The teaching load often is high, you have the uncertainty of where you'll land the next year, etc. (Although some of these places extend VAPs for several years; I had friends who did so at Temple and at William & Mary.) And especially if you have a SO and/or kids, it can be a drag.

But I strongly disagree with the poster above who says that you can't help yourself on the market while VAPing. Having the additional teaching experience and evals can make a huge difference. People fresh out of grad school often struggle when they first have to teach, so some hiring committees prefer people who already have experience. And you can make time to hive off pieces of the dissertation and send them out to journals.

And if you're lucky, you might even land at a place with good students and welcoming colleagues. It can be a rewarding experience.

Anonymous said...

The reality is that many philosophy PhDs will NEED to find a job outside of academia, given the severe shortage of positions. So you may feel better if you had a safety net or backup plan in place.

This isn't to say that your degree was a waste of time; your graduated education is certainly valuable for its own sake (following Aristotle), and there are many skills transferable to the business world, such as writing, critical thinking (strategery), research, etc.

This isn't also to say that you should give up on an academic job, if that's your dream. But in the meantime, you'll want and need a job to pay the bills. And you can still work as a lecturer for whatever schools are nearby. This is also a good foot-in-the-door in case a TT spot does open up. Or they may like you so much that they will even create a job with you in mind (though they're still obligated to conduct an open search). And in the meantime, you can work on publishing journal papers and giving conference talks to make you a more attractive candidate next time.

This is all to say that you can empower yourself and retake control of your own destiny. Don't let the academic job market crush your soul.

Anonymous said...

prof j., since you're still reading this, the point is that you all ARE in the real world but some of you don't want to acknowledge it. Look at something like this:

"somewhat arbitrary, opaque hiring practices that take place in a supposedly (otherwise) rational profession."

There's some fantasy notion that the coccooned safety of college-to-grad-school is supposed to continue after school. Especially since you are all perfectly rational philosophers! But a job is a job, just like all the other jobs, pretty much the same rules apply.

Anonymous said...

I realize there are always exceptions, but at my program has hired the past couple years and has consistently brought out ABDs for flyouts. Of course, they also usually come from top-10 programs, but not always. When I failed to get any APA interviews, professors here say, well, you'll need to get your PhD (got it, but didn't help). Then they say, you'll need a publication (got one, didn't help). Then they say, well, the expectation now is that you'll need to VAP for 1-3 years because there's so many people lining up for these jobs with VAP experience. But what about all the candidates YOU'RE bringing here for flyouts?!?! Are you saying you have lower standards than those places that will likely interview me. I scream to myself. FUCK!

Anonymous said...

Why should all wanna-be philosophers be entitled or get an academic job? Do we really want the underperforming ones to be teaching young minds?

Not everyone can be an above-average philosopher, by definition. The meritocratic process in academic hiring is supposed to weed out the weak ones (i.e., you). If you want better luck in your job search, you might want to do better work or work in an area that has job appeal. Do some soul-searching: maybe you're really just a hack who's not cut out for academia.

On the other hand, there is something wrong with the hiring process, with the over-emphasis on pedigree of your graduate school. The Leiter rankings make it harder for the lower-ranked depts to place their new PhDs. That is, they can still produce outstanding philosophers, but there's already a strong built-in bias against lower- or unranked depts. (This also exists in the business work with respect to business schools, for instance.)

Welcome to the "real" world. Life sucks; get used to it.

prof. J. said...

prof j., since you're still reading this, the point is that you all ARE in the real world but some of you don't want to acknowledge it.

I honestly don’t know what you’re trying to say. “The real world” is an expression people use when they want to denigrate academics, but besides that it seems to be content-free.

Look at something like this:

"somewhat arbitrary, opaque hiring practices that take place in a supposedly (otherwise) rational profession."

There's some fantasy notion that the coccooned safety of college-to-grad-school is supposed to continue after school.

I thought the idea was that academics, and particularly philosophers, pride themselves (ourselves) on being especially clear-headed, rational. The job market strikes a lot of people as suffering from blatant irrationalities – I agree with this, to a large extent, but it’s much more salient when you’re inside and the irrationalities keep smacking you on the back of the head.


Especially since you are all perfectly rational philosophers! But a job is a job, just like all the other jobs, pretty much the same rules apply.

I’ll abstract from the snideness and the triteness and just say, seeking a job in philosophy is subject to some of the same ‘rules’, but there are plenty that don’t apply at all, and it adds quite a few of its own peculiar ones.

But really when I said the “real world” advice was getting old fast, what I meant was that people suffering through a very difficult episode of life really don’t need to hear smug and patronizing ‘advice’. You don’t tell someone whose boyfriend just dumped her that in the real world relationships don’t last forever. You don’t tell a laid off GM worker that in the real world most people don’t get to keep their jobs forever. You don’t tell someone diagnosed with asthma that in the real world people get sick. These are pointless, trite, patronizing things to say.
Of course, in the real world people are trite and patronizing and say pointless things.

Anonymous said...

No need to start panicking yet, folks. The Feburary JFP has not come out yet, and every week there are several new web-only job ads.

Yes, these might not be TT jobs or with your dream schools. But, as others pointed out, it's a different hiring environment now that puts a premium on having an established track record in teaching and publishing, which means that an adjunct or VAP position may be part of the "normal" career track for most philosophers now.

And after the Feb JFP, there are still others. If you don't have a job by the fall, then you can start panicking.

tenured philosophy girl said...

Anon 222: Please don't overgeneralize the specific point I was making. Of course there are lots of disanalogies. My point was just that, in and of itself, having it be the institutionalized norm that one does a year or two somewhere before settling somewhere permanent is not so bad.

And you're just wrong about how much money residents make.

If you have young kids or other such circumstances, then of course moving around sucks. I never said it was fine for everyone - I was careful not to. Having young kids makes lots of things way harder, doesn't it now? Luckily it's worth it - but there are costs to deciding to start reproducing before you're settled in life. Duh, one might be tempted to say. And *most* new Ph.D.s are relatively unencumbered, frankly.

Oh ... whoever asked - yes, too many years on the visiting circuit hurts you terribly in the eyes of search committees. 1 or 2 years won't hurt at all - after that your chances start dropping fast.

Poker analogy guy said...

It's a cliche, everyone's heard something like it before, but my mantra on the job market has always been: "it's all one big session."

That's poker pro David Sklansky's line, urging players never to pay attention to a single hand, bad beat, tournament, or even a single year when evaluating their poker careers. Some of these people who get choice jobs their first year are like the guy who sits down at a table and draws out on three inside straights with bad pot odds. No point in being bitter, in the long run, these things even out in the long run. It's natural to be frustrated about consecutive bad beats, but the only rational course of action is to work on your game. If you're good the chips will come eventually. (I know, it's a cliche. But it helped me, just repeating the line. Oddly enough)

Jaded Dissertator said...

Anon. 10:07

After quoting a portion of my previous post, this was said:

"There's some fantasy notion that the coccooned safety of college-to-grad-school is supposed to continue after school. Especially since you are all perfectly rational philosophers! But a job is a job, just like all the other jobs, pretty much the same rules apply."

No, you obviously aren't reading me correctly. I didn't mean to imply at all that we are all perfectly rational in the profession, or anything of the sort. I only meant that given that we are in a profession that prides itself on rationality, the job market hiring practices are somewhat ad hoc and opaque (from what I understand; see the discussion on the importance of APA interviews for a point of reference).

Furthermore, I have no delusions as to not being in the real world, or in some cocoon of safety that academia affords. For fuck's sake, there is no such cocoon even from undergrad to grad school. We go through much the same thing after graduating from a BA program to applying to a Ph.D program: apply to as many schools as we can and hope that in the process we get chosen by some school to do philosophy and teach (which we all love) at some stipend that is near or below the poverty line (if we're lucky).

So, yeah, I know how the real world works, you fucktard; I live in it on a meager stipend in a big city with very few prospects for advancement in the future. If that isn't the real world, I'm not sure what is.

And you know what, I shouldn't have to apologize, and neither should anyone else, for wanting to complain about their job. No matter how much I love it, and no matter how much it happens to other people in the so-called real world.

I have no sense of entitlement; I have a propensity to complain about the prospects of all the hard work we've been doing going unrecognized and having that make me feel like shit. Yeah that happens in other jobs most assuredly, but the bus-builders union 427 doesn't have a blog for me to complain on.

Though I'm sure if they did, you'd be over there talking shit too about their sense of entitlement that after 20 years of working 60 hours a week somewhere they can just be laid off for no reason (true story, happened to a family member).

Yeah, it's not a totally analogous case, but, hopefully, you're not so much of a dick that you'll uncharitably misinterpret that comment too.

Anonymous said...

I'm a little in shock at how many people go out on the market for several years as ABD's. (Anon 8:55: "three years of APA interviews and *then* finished your dissertation?" PGS, as well: second year on the market and still ABD?). This seems just ridiculous, and perhaps speaks to why people are hesitant to hire ABD's in the first place. If it is going to take you over a year, or three, to finish your dissertation, then you shouldn't be on the market. My "Leiterrific" PhD program had a policy of not allowing us on the market unless we had a complete draft of our dissertation done by early fall of that job market season. That way, when we claimed an expected defense date of that spring, there was some meaning to it. Not so in these other cases.

Now, I recognize that going on the market takes time away from working on one's dissertation, but that time should be factored in before one makes the decision to go on the market.

Our department is hiring this year, and when it came out that one of our candidates was on the market for the second year *and* was ABD, that made some of us cringe.

Anonymous said...

I second anon 11:32. It is sad that people have to go on the market as ABDs. Think about it. This is the time you are finishing up your dissertation. Finally, things are falling into place, you now have your original contribution to the field, you are now laying the foundations of your future research, you now have the chapters to turn into papers. This should be an exciting and enjoyable time, when you are doing what you love, and do it well.

But instead, you go through this hell, often to find out that you've wasted your time. If you can arrange it, you should concentrate on making that dissertation very good, start publishing, and you'll have good chances next year.

Anonymous said...

I'm just writing to register my complaint again against schools that interviewed me at the APA and never contacted me to tell me where I stand. Why not do this? What's the point of torturing me? Where is the humanity here?

I certainly hope that the people applying for ethics positions at least got better treatment in this regard.

Anonymous said...

Well, sometimes we ABDs may still be ABD because we didn't get a job. Dissertations can be open ended like that, it seems. If I land a job in April, then, yeah, I'll be able to wrap it up in the summer. If not, I'll keep picking away at it through summer and fall and, lo, I'm still ABD when October JFP comes out. I'm not saying this is a good way to progress. For your own sanity, just finish it. But that's weakness of will for you. If I were to do it all over again, I wouldn't look at a job ad until after I had defended.

Anonymous said...

Echoing (and paraphrasing) Prof J and Jaded Dissertator, I ask anyone who is at all inclined to use this blog to talk about the ‘real world’ to please fuck off. The only thing more insipid than this meaningless phrase is the prevalence of jaw-droppingly stupid claims to the effect that applying for a job in philosophy is just like applying for a job in any other field, as if trying to land a tt job in philosophy at Miscellaneous Southwest State U. is much the same as trying to get hired as assistant to the regional manager at Dunder Mifflin Paper Supply Inc.. It’s demonstrably not. Shut up.

Anonymous said...

The problem with you people is that you refuse to understand how similar the academic job market is to any other job market. You expect the Philosophical Magesterium to magically place you in a position somewhere, perfectly suited to your heartfelt wishes and desires.

You apply for a job. They look at your qualifications for that specific job, how you fill their specific needs. If you meet that cut, they interview you. If you survive that, they do another more in-depth interview. Then they choose someone to make an offer to. If that doesn't fall throgh, they go to someone else, or just decide to wait until they can find the perfect person.

Is that inaccurate? For the philosophy job market or for any other organization in America?

If you all thought about it more realistically in these terms, you'd be better able to groom yourself to look good to potential employers, and have more success.

There may be an oversupply of Philosophy PhDs relative to demand, but that is not unusual at all in a job market. It just makes things more competitive (and upsetting).

Anonymous said...

Lots of schools, including my own, won't give TA support once you've defended your dissertation. Consequently, many of us, even if the dissertation is done, stay ABD an extra year (or two) if we don't get a job so that we can keep the (comparatively) well paying TA positions rather than doing the same work for half pay as adjuncts.

Its tough, since we know our applications look better if we have a Ph.D. in hand, but the consequences of not getting a job are much worse as well.

Anonymous said...

Here's one reason the philosophy job market isn't like other job searches: if you don't get a job doing philosophy, you're going to have a *really* hard time doing something else.

If I'm applying for, let's say, a manager job at Dunder Mifflin, I can also apply for managerial jobs in other (though best-off if related) areas.

By contrast, (a) what you can do with a philosophy PhD is pretty limited, and (b) once you have one, you'll be considered over-qualified for most other positions. I've had two friends have this happen (one in philosophy, one in a different field) - one finally found a position after two years, and one is still unemployed after applying everywhere (including hourly jobs stocking shelves) in her location.

will philosophize for food said...

Anon 12:32: "Our department is hiring this year, and when it came out that one of our candidates was on the market for the second year *and* was ABD, that made some of us cringe"

Why? This is my second year on the market ABD. My first year I only applied to about a dozen jobs. I knew the diss was about half written, and I could have finished it if I needed to--but as it turned out I didn't get a job, so I didn't. But I'm not going to apologize for not finishing. The goal was to get some experience on the market, how to do these applications and interviews. If I got a job, cool; I would have finished the dissertation. But I knew what I was doing this year and was super-organized--due solely to my experience having done this already once before, and knowing what to do. How to succeed in an interview, and the hoops involved in the process are not known a priori.

As Anon 12:02 points out, "sometimes we ABDs may still be ABD because we didn't get a job." 1) Taking more time to do a good job and/or 2) procratination both do apply to my not having finished. But there are other, more practical concerns when deciding to finish or not while jobless. Let's say you do graduate:

3) Then one may lose one's institutional affiliation, and begin a "gap" in the CV. This may hurt down the road.

4) Student loans come out of in-school deferment. That means not only am I jobless, but then I need to fight with Sallie Mae.

But even if these were not concerns of yours, still I spent time doing extra and more thorough research, and making the dissertation a better piece of work. Why should that make someone cringe?

Anonymous said...

May I request that people stop abbreviating "publications" as "pubs"? Maybe it's just me, but it grates on me in much the same way as hearing Rachael Ray say "it's gonna be delish!"

A Dept Chair said...

I just discovered this blog, one of my PhD’s students told me about it.

Brilliant!!!!

Absolutely Bloody Brilliant!!!!!!

Just because you are awarded the PhD in Philosophy doesn’t mean that you are eligible for a teaching position at a college or university.

Over the years, I have a seen a lot of candidates at APA and to be honest, while they maybe be brilliant in thought, in the class room, I really wonder, we’ve had more than a few people bomb their interviews when they had to teach a section of our undergraduate classes.

You need to look at yourself in the mirror and be honest with yourself – can you cut in academia? Have you considered alternative careers?

The supply of philosophers far outstrips demand and as a department chair I can afford to be very, very selective.

Anonymous said...

This is Anon. 12:15 addressing Anon. 12:38.

Look, you condescending dumbshit, nobody every said, suggested, or implied that somehow, as if by magic, all philosophy job seekers will certainly land jobs perfectly suited for them. Surely you can understand that your description,
notwithstanding your unconventional use of the phrase ‘fall through’, is nothing more than a description of ANY job search. But it doesn’t even begin to follow that someone who thinks it should and does work differently in academia than in the paper manufacturing and supply industry ‘refuses to understand’ how the two hiring processes are similar. Do you really need an exhaustive list of the oh-so-many ways in which the two processes are and should be different in order to understand the simple point that we justifiably expect something different when we go on the philosophy job market? For me, at least, this was one of the many reasons I went to grad school instead of entering the ‘real world.’

Just to try to make it crystal clear to you: Suppose I say, “Both people are trying to become president. Both make promises, both raise money, both campaign, both take part in debates, both do a lot of traveling, both talk to the media, etc., etc.. So, I don’t know why ‘you people refuse to understand’ how similar Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee are.”

Wouldn’t this be at best a mildly dimwitted thing to say, and at worst an outrageously stupid thing to say?

Anonymous said...

This (from anon 12:38) has to be a joke: "If you all thought about it more realistically in these terms, you'd be better able to groom yourself to look good to potential employers, and have more success."

If you understood how similar the philosophy job market is to every other market then you would instantly be published in multiple top journals, be great at teaching students you don't know even when being watched, and would come across in interviews as friendly and approachable yet intimidatingly brilliant. Easy.

Anonymous said...

"For me, at least, this was one of the many reasons I went to grad school instead of entering the ‘real world.’"

THIS IS EXACTLY MY POINT!

You are now entering the real world, whether you like it or not. The real world has no guarantees, no set path, no earned right to anything. Getting a job is getting a job, whether in academia or in the "outside world."

Anonymous said...

To Anon 12:15:

that's 'Assistant Regional Manager', not 'Assistant to the Regional Manager'

Anonymous said...

"If you understood how similar the philosophy job market is to every other market then you would instantly be published in multiple top journals, be great at teaching students you don't know even when being watched, and would come across in interviews as friendly and approachable yet intimidatingly brilliant."

Go apply for a job at Google, see how it is. Go try to get a job at a top law firm. Go try to become an NFL cheerleader.

If there is an over-supply of potential employees, or if the job is especially desirable, the employer can be very selective. They can make you jump through whatever hoops they want. This is not a peculiarity of the philosophy job market or academia.

Anonymous said...

Dept chair writes,

"Over the years, I have a seen a lot of candidates at APA and to be honest, while they maybe be brilliant in thought, in the class room, I really wonder, we’ve had more than a few people bomb their interviews when they had to teach a section of our undergraduate classes."

Hey mister/miss dept chair,

In case you haven't heard the latest, teaching demonstrations absolutely suck as a way of assessing teaching potential. Keep up with the times. Artificial environment and all that. Why did you ever think that stepping into such a situation would EVER be a good indication of how good of a teacher someone would be. Those who pull it off well are good at SOMETHING, to be sure, but it doesn't follow in a million years that it's necessarily teaching that they're good at.

Anonymous said...

Dearest Anon. 3:12,

OK, genius. If your claim amounts to 'getting a job is getting a job' and that doing so is not always easy, then I'm pretty sure everyone agrees, since the first part is a tautology and the second part is a FUCKING OBVIOUS POINT THAT PEOPLE ON THIS BLOG HAVE COMMISERATED ABOUT FROM DAY ONE. But if you're identical to Anon. 12:38, then how does your claim even come close to supporting this:

"You expect the Philosophical Magesterium to magically place you in a position somewhere, perfectly suited to your heartfelt wishes and desires"?

or excuse this:

"If you all thought about it more realistically in these terms, you'd be better able to groom yourself to look good to potential employers, and have more success"?

How does 'YOUR POINT' even come close to addressing what I said at 2:20?

All along, your point was just that getting a job is getting a job and that getting a job can be difficult? Fucking great! You're brilliant, Mr. Obvious! If only all of these philosophers were as enlightened as you about their own job market! You see? What we failed to realize is that x = x. If only we had this jackass around before we entered grad school!

Anonymous said...

"You see? What we failed to realize is that x = x. If only we had this jackass around before we entered grad school!"

Yes, you fail to realize that the philosophy job market is, in fact, very similar to other job markets. You expected that they should be substantially different. Unfortuantely, you were mistaken. Maybe there's still time for you to recognize the similarities and act accordingly. That would help you be more successful in the philosophy job market.

Of course, you think I am nothing but an obnoxious asswipe. I may be an obnoxious asswipe, and I may enjoy making philosophers play the "tautology", but I'm actually giving extremely good and helpful advice.

Anonymous said...

"I may be an obnoxious asswipe, and I may enjoy making philosophers play the "tautology", but I'm actually giving extremely good and helpful advice."

Are you also a child? (Seriously. There's money riding on this and it would be helpful if you were to answer. In case it is any incentive to answer, I say no. I gave my friends odds. One says you're between 14 and 17. The other says you're younger.)

Anonymous said...

That's funny about my being a child. I definitely see how you could think that. I'm an adult. I think the technical term is troll. But I only troll on whiny, self-important philosophy blogs that already have lots of disgusting pseudo-gossip and nasty language. Otherwise I'm an upstanding member of society.

anon 2:45 said...

"Maybe there's still time for you to recognize the similarities and act accordingly. That would help you be more successful in the philosophy job market."

So I was wrong. It's a troll, not a joke.

Just in case there is any point in stating the obvious, knowing that it's tough to get a job does not actually help any real candidates on the philosophy job market.

Anonymous said...

Here's a vote for going on the market when you're ABD. It's good experience, it helps you network, it helps you see the larger picture that often gets hidden by too many years in grad school (you get a glipse of what comes next). Networking: I've got my degree, but I had a great conversation about my current research during an APA interview this year, and I'll thank the guy who interviewed me in the notes when I publish it, even though I didn't get an on-campus from it.

Just don't take it personally if you don't get APA interviews, or on-campuses.

I've also had friends who got TT hires while ABD, and yes, sometimes that's a bad decision, but sometimes it works out great.

Anonymous said...

But I only troll on whiny, self-important philosophy blogs that already have lots of disgusting pseudo-gossip and nasty language. Otherwise I'm an upstanding member of society.

Hey, so are you also the guy who was complaining about the vicious gossip in the Princeton thread? Maybe you should pick an alias...

Anonymous said...

Bring on the market this year has helped my dissertation: it put pressure on me to compose the best writing sample and job talk paper I could. And that's a significant chunk of my dissertation! I worked much harder on those than I would have if there was no deadline, or if I didn't have the threat of a professor in my dream department seeing them and laughing at me. Plus, the comments I've received have been incredible -- these people engage with my work much more than my advisor! -- so I think it will be a better dissertation for my having been on the market this year.

I wouldn't be surprised if this was true even for people who didn't get flyouts.

Anonymous said...

In case anyone needed reminding:

Don't feed the trolls!

jimmyjimmycocoapuff said...

There are many fine jobs available to philosophy Ph.D.s who are unable or unwilling to secure an academic career.

They include: Management consulting (e.g. McKinsey, Bain, BCG), where you first year's salary would be > $150k; a career in government (the Foreign/Civil Service, a staff job on the Hill, think tanks), where you would enjoy a life of prestige; positions that require lucid writing (journalism and literature); and so on.

Of those of you unable to secure an academic job (but who want to), most are below-average philosophers modulo your peers. But not all, of course: Some of you might have the potential to be truly great philosophers, but luck/your idiosyncratic personalities/your genius, indeed/etc. work against you. Does this suck? Yes. It is unfair? Yes. But it is the case nonetheless? It is.

It is nice to be a tenured Ph.D. at a research university. It is also nice to be a Ph.D. in New York City, making six figures a year at a consulting firm, sleeping with a model, wearing bespoke suits, giving money to worthy charities, and getting invited to swanky parties. Think about it.

Anonymous said...

I regret going on the market as early as I did, but the other grad students my year were doing it, and I figured I could finish my diss if I got a job -- and I could have -- it just wouldn't have been nearly as good as it was when I finished it three years later. It took me a lot of time, but I was working out my own views on some really difficult shit, and once they were worked out the pubs came easily and it all came together. Could I have done that in less time if I wouldn't have been raked over the coals repeatedly on the market? Probably. Hence the regret. But are the speed-racers burning through their PhD programs in half the time I took really coming up with anything worth saying? Or is it just more careerist bullshit clogging the pipes?

Anonymous said...

A real troll never actually identifies himself as a troll. And someone making a good joke would never make it plain that it's a joke. However, I've given you all a lot of advice, I wish you'd take it.

"Hey, so are you also the guy who was complaining about the vicious gossip in the Princeton thread? Maybe you should pick an alias..."

No, I was complaining about the whining there. That is what gets me, the whining.

"knowing that it's tough to get a job does not actually help any real candidates on the philosophy job market."

That's the stupidest thing I ever read. Seriously. It just shows how disconnected you are from the real world. This really is a job market. If you know market conditions, you can make much better decisions.

Anonymous said...

Will philosophize for Food:

Here's why people would cringe if they knew you were on the market last year and you are still ABD:

If you are applying for jobs, you probably have letters from your advisors that promise you will have defended this summer. If you do, its reasonable for me to assume that you had such letters last year, and the promises were broken. If the promises were broken last year...

What you are saying is that "had I gotten a job, I would have finished up really quickly, but now I'm doing a careful job instead." But I would be seriously inclined to doubt that your letters said "If WPFF is offered your position, I am confident that he will be able to pull together a half-assed dissertation and that his committee will let him slide with this." But according to what you say, that is in fact the strongest statement they could have made that would, even modally, turn out to be true.

My advice: going on the market when you are less than sure you will finish that year is not a terrific idea to begin with--it is less than likely to result in success, and it vastly increases the chances that you will NOT be finished in time to go on the market the next year with PhD in hand. If you DO go on the market unsure if you will be able to defend by Sept., and dont get a job: Bust your ass to be able to defend by December. If you go on the market with PhD in hand, no one will care about last year. And finally, if you are on the market for the second time ABD, try to keep that a secret. There's no paticulary obvious way that SCs will know this.

Anonymous said...

Tenured Philosophy Girl:

According to this: http://mdsalaries.blogspot.com/2005/10/residency-salaries.html

the median stipend for a 1st year resident, across all specialties, is $46,000. That's more than my starting salary as an AP in philosophy was just a few years ago. My guess is its about the average today. And that doesnt include the fact that Residents usually get free food and other perks.

So, no, I'm not wrong about that.

tenured philosophy girl said...

Anon 11:32: Um, what you said was "Third, a residency in most fields of medicine PAYS MORE than a tenure track job in philosophy."

So yes, you were wrong about that. $46K definitely does not count as 'paying more than a tenure-track job in philosophy', though there are surely some starting salaries somewhere that are less then that (not many I bet).

I'm not sure what you're on about with the 'free food and stuff'. It's true that some events for residents are catered by crappy hospital food services. I am sure you will find a few occasions to scrounge a free meal as a TT philosopher too. Is this seriously part of the equation? Or was it that free pen from the pharmaceutical company you were really coveting?

None of this is important. It just bugs me when people say false things and then defend them despite providing their own evidence that they are false.

Anonymous said...

"In an "employer's" market, the only people who are going to get interviews/get the job are the people who are "perfect" for the advertised job. The people who meet the criteria exactly. If you are not PERFECT for a job, you probably aren't going to get it. Focus on those opportunites that really are a fit for you."

"Probably" is the key word. My flyouts, two years ago, came from schools for which I was *not* a perfect match (I didn't get calls from the schools where my AOS and experience lined up perfectly with the job description) and my tt job came from even farther afield... in April.

Nelson said...

Ha ha, philosophers are losers.

Anonymous said...

This is so off-topic, but I thought it was a really interesting set-up when I found it out - apparently the vast majority of decent residencies involve free lunch every day, provided by pharmaceutical companies (better than a pen!). In fact, I only know about this practice because of the difficulty a friend of mine (who had some fairly obvious ethical worries about the practice) had locating programs that *didn't* have this practice.

Anonymous said...

i think you have to understand the original post, and the sympathetic responses, as the expressions of people reacting to and trying to learn from a certain kind of trauma.

likewise with the "real world" trolls and the "free market" trolls. they are just manifesting their previous traumas in a different way.

like the child of abuse who abuses their own children, the "real world" trolls are victims trying to enact the role of victimizers.

the "free market" trolls, too, are just identifying with their oppressors.

these are just additional ways of whining and crying for help. less honest ways, but not otherwise different.

Anonymous said...

you really think the average starting salary for an assistant professor in philosophy is higher than $46k/year?
Not even close, according to this:

http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/custom/portlets/recordDetails/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=ED456763&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=ED456763

According to this, the AVERAGE salary for an AP in philosopher (average, not starting) is 41K at public schools, and 39K at private schools. Thats 2001 data, but were talking average, and still a long way from STARTING resident salaries in 2005 (the date of the residents data). The average salary of a resident looks closer to about 50K, just by eyeballing.

Overall, I would say that on any interpretation, it is incontrovertible that medical residents make more than assistant professors of philosophy.


I guess this isnt important. But I think its kind of important to realize just how paltry the "prize" is in this game that this blog is dedicated to.

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain, I've gone through the cycle of hope, aggravation and disappointment(always a bridesmaid as they say).

I've taken to just walking around with my ass stuck up in the air to make it easy for everyone to fuck me, by which I mean pathetically cobbling together adjunct jobs so I can not scrape out a living...