It'd be funny if it were happening to someone else.
I have a question that is odd but related to this comic. I am on the market this year, and I expect to get a very decent tt job. The problem is that I have never done anything else except philosophy and I am wondering whether I might actually prefer a different career. Will it ever be possible to explore alternatives without ruining my philosophy career? (E.g. would it be possible, and not thought poorly of, to take a different sort of job - though one, perhaps, related to my field - during my pre-tenure or post-tenure research leave?) Is the only way I can explore alternative careers to leave philosophy entirely? N.B. I think it would be stupid not to take a tt job this year after all the hard work.
Of course, the downside of Law School is actually going to fucking law school. I took a law class for help with a part of my dissertation (in bioethics) and it was unbelievably boring! Do you really want to spend time fucking around with stipulated definitions or would you rather analyze concepts? Do you want to spend time with torts, precedent, yada yada?Give me philosophy any day! Law seems a poor substitute even if it is a more profitable one.
Here's some food for thought:As of this afternoon, Leiter's page lists 16 philosophers (with degrees from US institutions) who have secured either tenure track or post-doc. employment. Only 1 of those philosophers has a degree from a top 10 Leiter school. 2 have degrees from 11-20 ranked schools, 1 has a degree from a 21-30 ranked school, 2 have degrees from 31-40 ranked schools, 3 have degrees from 41-50 ranked schools, and 7 are from Leiter-unraked institutions.
As of this afternoon, Leiter's page lists 16 philosophers (with degrees from US institutions) who have secured either tenure track or post-doc. employment. Only 1 of those philosophers has a degree from a top 10 Leiter school.Why exclude the other dude who got his TT job with a degree from a top-2 (overall) Leiter school?!
Of course, as has been pointed out here before, not all TT jobs are created equal. Maybe some of the details of their appointments will reveal differences that track with the Leiter ranking. Maybe not. I also suspect that a lot of the hotshot ABDs from top 10 schools have so many interviews and are entertaining multiple offers that the skewing of TT toward top 10 schools will begin showing up here soon enough and burst all our lower Leiter bubbles. Maybe not. I have no evidence for these assertions, but neither do most people speculating here.
2:27, what do you mean?I see one person from a top-ten Leiter-ranked program, namely Jason Turner (Rutgers). But you seem to be disagreeing with j.j.cocoapuff. What gives?(But I do see three, not two, from 11-20 ranked programs. Notre Dame, Arizona, Irvine each have placed one on that list.)
Stephan Blatti (Oxford) hired by University of Memphis. AOS: Metaphysics; philosophy of mind.Ranking of Top 50 Faculties In The English-Speaking World1 - New York University2 - Oxford University, Rutgers University4 - Princeton University, University of Michigan[etc]http://www.philosophicalgourmet.com/overall.asp
Relax people. There isn't enough data to make any claims yet. I know of three searches that are going on right now. One where a top 5-er turned down a job and the other two have offers out to top 10-ers.No legit conclusion can be made from the data yet. It would be like claiming that women are getting all the jobs after the first few posts b/c three women in a row were listed.Give it another two to six weeks to sort itself out before you get crazy with the the data. Also look at TAR (Weatherson's blog) for details about last year's search and "good" jobs.
Anon 3:04 here.Yeah, sorry. I figure out what you meant about "top two overall" after I posted my question.
Another question: I have been holding out faint hopes that a school I interviewed with at the APA would go to a second round of flyouts, but now it appears from the wiki that an offer has been made. Does that decrease the chances that another group of flyouts may happen? My intuition is that once an offer goes out, do schools typically run through all the people they brought to campus then cancel the search if none of them work out? I'm basing this on the guess that second rounds of flyouts occur when none of the first candidates is viewed as acceptable. But I could be wrong. Does anyone have experiences where more flyouts are scheduled after an offer goes out?
Does anyone have a sense of how common it is for schools that lose their TT people to other schools to immediately turn around and start either a TT search or a VAP search the same year. So far we have the University of Montana, University of St. Thomas, and Ohio University losing TT people. I'd love to have anyone of those positions for a year VAP. Also, if this is indicative of the movement of people around, then ABDs and new PhDs aren't only competing against lots of 1, 2, & 3 year VAPs, but also against people who already have the much coveted TT positions.
Anon 4:58.It doesn't happen often, but I've definitely seen searches which go back to more fly-outs after an initial offer is turned down. Sometimes the SC isn't that impressed with the other people that they have flown out, or by the time candidate #1 turns them down, the other fly-outs that they were interested in had already taken jobs elsewhere.
jimmyjimmyccp,It's still pretty early in the year to predict how well top 35 schools will do compared to the rest.Check out last year's list.Or,the year beforeOr,2005Maybe there is a trend that shows it isn't true that top 35 programs are more successful in finding jobs for their candidates (I'm not going to waste my time calculating it). You'll need more data, though, than what is on the current list of TT hires.Leiter believes the quality of the faculty at a program translates to two important benefits: training and jobs. He writes, With occasional exceptions, only high quality philosophers train high quality philosophers. And with almost no exceptions, only philosophers with strong reputations in their areas get students good jobs.Furthermore, he says,With rare exceptions, only philosophers with established reputations in an area of specialization can get students good jobs in that area. Letters of recommendation from philosophers who are not respected researchers in an area are generally not very credible.What I think some people miss when thinking about PGR rankings is that even Leiter admits that the overall rankings are not as important to getting a job as the quality of the faculty writing letters in your AOS.He goes on to point out that, even in top-ranked departments, only those who study under the highest quality faculty in their AOS do well in the job market (see his examples of Harvard, Pitt, Penn, Brown, etc. in the link above). I think the advice that has been going on in previous posts about the overall ranking of programs is a little out-of-sync with what is really important in finding a job. A person coming out of NYU, Rutgers, or Princeton who studied under a junior faculty who is not a heavy weight in his/her field is less likely to get a job as someone in a much lower-ranked department who did study under a heavy weight in that AOS.Want to know if you are going to get a good job in philosophy? Look at your dissertation adviser. If s/he isn't among the top 5 philosophers in his/her AOS, your chances aren't that good no matter what big-named department your degree has on it. If you are at a lesser-ranked department, but your adviser is top 5 in her/his AOS, expect a lot of interviews based on her/his letter.
I already went to law school, and it sucked mightily. I couldn't believe how boring it was. Working as a lawyer has been even worse, and I'm delighted to be ditching it to enter a PhD in philosophy next fall. There's more to life than money, e.g., life. You don't want to be spending it in a law firm.
According to the wiki, some of the big-name schools are making a huge number of offers, namely Pitt (5) and NYU (3). What's up? Is this something about the candidate pool?
I like the idea of top 10 schools making unannounced multiple offers. It takes all the top 5 ABD hotshots out of circulation so us more mundane folks have a shot at the leftovers. Maybe we'll be seeing more 2nd round on campus calls.
"A person coming out of NYU, Rutgers, or Princeton who studied under a junior faculty who is not a heavy weight in his/her field is less likely to get a job as someone in a much lower-ranked department who did study under a heavy weight in that AOS."This seems empirically false."Want to know if you are going to get a good job in philosophy? Look at your dissertation adviser. If s/he isn't among the top 5 philosophers in his/her AOS, your chances aren't that good no matter what big-named department your degree has on it. If you are at a lesser-ranked department, but your adviser is top 5 in her/his AOS, expect a lot of interviews based on her/his letter."I'm not sure I agree with this either. Your advisor can't _get_ you a job; only your good philosophical work can do that. And places with better faculty overall are going to leave you better trained as a philosopher (because they'll give you better training in all of the subjects you study), which will translate into a better dissertation.
In my experience, and that of my friends (who include lawyers and academics, and people who went to law school both before and after grad school), those who go to law school with primarily mercenary motives (or who take law classes for purely instrumental reasons) often find law school boring. The reasons for this are pretty self-evident. Those who go to law school after either graduate training or experience in another field of work tend, on average, to find it less boring. This is both because these people are in law school out of genuine curiosity and because they've independently developed the ability to take a more critical approach to the subject. Very few undergraduates have that ability right out of the gate (although most of them are convinced they do). Law is not for everyone, but it is far from an inherently boring field of study. Practice in a large law firm, on the other hand, is rarely anything but soul-killing.
"Your advisor can't _get_ you a job; only your good philosophical work can do that." Who would hire Warren Goldfarb if he was 29 today, much less Saul Kripke? The original poster was correct: good work doesn't get you the plum jobs all by itself. People who land them right out of school think the system is a meritocracy, but they're wrong. The only time good work lands you a job is for senior hires. Junior hires are always based on promise rather than accomplishment. This doesn't mean a couple of papers in a good journal don't help, but you're not getting the job because of those papers, and plenty of people with no papers but good letters still get plum TT positions. Rightly or wrongly.
"The original poster was correct: good work doesn't get you the plum jobs all by itself. People who land them right out of school think the system is a meritocracy, but they're wrong. The only time good work lands you a job is for senior hires. Junior hires are always based on promise rather than accomplishment."First of all, unless you've been on the hiring committees of many many departments yourself, you have no reason to make these blanket generalizations.Secondly, that junior hires are based on promise rather than accomplishment is still compatible with promise being evaluated on the basis of your current work and writing sample, rather than what someone says about you. No one is getting a plum job without a fantastic writing sample.
No one responded to this, so I wanted to repost it and see if anyone had anything to say:I have a question that is odd but related to this comic. I am on the market this year, and I expect to get a very decent tt job. The problem is that I have never done anything else except philosophy and I am wondering whether I might actually prefer a different career. Will it ever be possible to explore alternatives without ruining my philosophy career? (E.g. would it be possible, and not thought poorly of, to take a different sort of job - though one, perhaps, related to my field - during my pre-tenure or post-tenure research leave?) Is the only way I can explore alternative careers to leave philosophy entirely? N.B. I think it would be stupid not to take a tt job this year after all the hard work.
To Anon 12:17 who wrote:"No one is getting a plum job without a fantastic writing sample."This is just false. I have been on four search committees at three different universities one as a grad student.When it gets to the three fly outs, "fit" in my experience is far more important than a fantastic writing sample. Some have been okay, but they cannot all be fantastic. Have you read some published stuff lately. I have read lots of files and seen lots of people that had just okay writing samples (for various reasons) and they got an offer.These jobs are a lot like the NFL draft: If you go to Souther Cal, the Rutgers of College Football, you are going to get drafted. Remember that from ugrad to graduate school you have been competing for limited resources and slots. Why does USC and Florida and Tennessee, and Ohio State put some many players in the NFL, while Appy State doesn't?They start off with better prospects. Talent and promise. This doesn't mean that the kid from Connecticut or Miss Valley State cannot be the next Jerry Rice (i.e., Quine), but the odds are slim. Remember that Joe Montana when to Notre Dame.There is a reason that guys from small schools get drafted: they fill a need at left guard or something. This is why if you are the best grad student at a school with an unranked PhD program, you can still get a job, but you will be doing the 4/4 thing in the middle of nowhere.The philosophy job market is the NFL draft without the big contracts and agents.But a fantastic writing sample is not a necessary condition for getting a job. I have seen it lots.
Hi 10:44,Perhaps the reason why nobody responded was because your question made us all want to swallow poison. Or make you swallow poison. I got zero interviews this year. I'm not complaining -- I know how the market works and I hope to do better next year when my dissertation is done. But think about it: I went to the APA this year to see some talks and hit the book fair. The idea that some guy who's got a TT job in the bag would be such an insensitive ingrate as to come on to this blog to ask that question makes me want to fuck your mom. Seriously. You're an asshole. You're asking guys who got no interviews or no flyouts or no offers to help you decide whether you can "explore your other options" without jeopardizing the TT job you're definitely going to get. Twice. The more I think about it, the more angry I get. I have no options. I'm not going to help you. Go to hell, you fucking dick.
To Anon 10:44:Getting a job requires help from lots of people at your PhD granting institution. If you don't take a job, I don't know how that would look to them and thus your chances of getting a job later would suffer I think.If you are good enough to get a TT job, then take it for a while. If you don't like it, then you can leave instead of going up for tenure. I just don't think it is a good idea to be wondering now "what if." If on the other hand, you have a strong desire to do something else and you have been successful enough to get a good TT job in philosophy, then I say do that for you will be almost assured success.Pre-tenure and post tenure leaves are granted, but the pre is to get you ready for tenure. You don't want to spend that time doing something else risking no tenure. As for post tenure. My university has a leave program where you can take a year off without pay (not the same as a sabbatical) and come back. I think this is the kind of think you would want to look for.I wouldn't, however, bring up this desire in an on-campus interview.Good luck.
Upshots of going to law school from a grad department in philosophy:1) Law Schools LOVE philosophers. LOVE them.2) You will be a superstar. The intellectual demands and standards are pretty dramatically lower (this is from a viewpoint of people coming out of top ten Leiter programs into top 5 law schools).3) You will rock the LSAT. Seriously, a well-trained philosopher should ace the LSAT. 4) Three years vs. 6-7 years.5) Always come back and do the JD/PhD thang.6) Able to feel like perhaps you might just might make a small difference doing law rather than doing philosophy.7) Or, able to embrace fully the dark side, maximizing your disposable income,size of cocaine stash, and number of power ties.
Pittsburgh made five offers? What the fuck is that? Berkeley, three; NYU, three; Princeton, two.FIVE?Oh, and anon 10:44/1:09: You probably can't explore alternative careers much -- unless they are fairly closely related to your philosophy career. But if by 'explore' you mean something that can be done in a month or two, then that's conceivable. (I've explored being a roofer by re-roofing my house. It took weeks. I prefer philosophy).Seriously, though -- FIVE? Is that true?
"Pittsburgh made five offers? What the fuck is that? Berkeley, three; NYU, three; Princeton, two.FIVE?"I'm not connected to this search, so this is just speculation, but many people feel there was an unusually high number of very strong candidates going out this year, so they may have thought:1. We have five people here all of whom we would be happy to hire.2. All of them have good offers elsewhere, so we can realistically assure the Dean that we will probably only get 2-3 of the five. (And if, contrary to expectations, all five show up, then so much the better.)3. All of them will be first choices somewhere very good, so if we just make two offers, and those two don't come, the remaining three (who we liked almost as much) won't come either because they would rather be at the other top-10 school that picked them first rather than come to a school that clearly preferred at least two other people.
Geeze, Mr. Zero, that's a bit rough -- I didn't get an interviews either, but there's room on the blog for people who did -- even if they are crazy enough to contemplate turning away from a TT position to explore some alternative career.It happens -- a friend of mine turned down a GREAT postdoc to...go to law school?!? Crazy, but it happens.As for Pittsburgh -- I understand that it's possible to give a rational explanation of the five hirings, but still, that's a lot of hiring. Anyone know what areas they hired in?
Anon 12:17, you misunderstood my point. Maybe I wasn't clear (or maybe you're defensive, or both). Junior hires generally don't have enough accomplishments that they're really being hired on the basis of what they've done. Senior hires, it can be a different story. Admittedly, I had a professor in college who wrote four books in five years after grad school, and 3 papers in the next 30 years, but in general, however good a TT hire's work is, it better pale in comparison to what he's going to do.Given that, I don't see how it can be a meritocracy when the truly deserving folks (the best scholars) are still years away from separating themselves from mere mortals like myself. The best people aren't yet the best people, they're just most likely to become them. Seems tautologous to me, and hence personal experience and empirical evidence should be irrelevant. It depends on the meaning of "best".Thus, the chosen sometimes think being chosen is proof that they are the best. It's really just proof that they've given indications they might become the best.Oh, yeah. When you say "you have no reason to make these blanket generalizations," you mean "I have no warrant". You don't know whether I have reasons.
I'm a grad at Pitt, I can confirm that 5 offers were made. Pitt has extremely few junior faculty right now, and are looking to lose a couple of the younger profs in the immediate future. Speculation on my part, but I think the number of offers was related to that more than to an unusually strong batch of candidates.
Anon 10:44, I disagree with the other posters. You've got to do what you love. If you don't love academia, get out. Email all the schools you interviewed with, tonight, before you have second thoughts, and tell them you are pulling out of the search because you want to follow your dreams. Do it right now. Really.
3:08,I may have been overly harsh in my criticism of 10:44. Nevertheless, I stand by the spirit of my post, if not the language I used to express it. I have no problem with the successful folks coming on, and I don't mind them coming on to ask for advice, and I don't mind them leaving philosophy for some other career if that's what they want. That's not the issue. What was so offensive about 10:44's question is the idea that he would ask us, the losers, for advice about how best to explore the possibility of leaving without actually committing to leaving.Look, either you want it, or you don't. Either all this shit is worth it to you or it's not. If it's not, best of luck to you -- I mean that. But don't ask me for advice about how to explore your options without going whole hog, like a weasel, while I'm busy preparing 13 measly applications for VAPs and sabbatical replacements, scrounging for your crumbs. That is pure bullshit. I have envelopes to lick. See you tomorrow.
Given that, I don't see how it can be a meritocracy when the truly deserving folks (the best scholars) are still years away from separating themselves from mere mortals like myself. The best people aren't yet the best people, they're just most likely to become them. Seems tautologous to me, and hence personal experience and empirical evidence should be irrelevant. It depends on the meaning of "best".I agree that it depends on the meaning of best. I originally took you to be saying that the junior search is not a meritocracy because it involves nepotism or something nefarious like that. But obviously you meant that it is not based on "ultimate" merit, i.e. who will be the best scholar in 30 years. Which I can't disagree with: of course we don't know for certain who will be the best career-long scholar. That is compatible with it being based on "current" merit, rather than, e.g., who one's advisor is; I didn't mean to be saying more than that. Sorry for our miscommunication.
I apologize. I really really really did not mean to offend anyone or make anyone feel bad. I took my question to be in the spirit of the discussion of alternative careers. I figured there were several professors on this blog who might have some knowledge to share that I didn't have, and there is no way to ask this question in a non-anonymous setting without consequences (relatedly: maybe some grad students are unsure that philosophy is really for them and are wondering whether they should take a year to try something else while in grad school because it will be too late afterwards). I also think of us as all being in this together, and I certainly don't think less of anyone who does not have a job, so I didn't mean to imply that! Finally, I am experiencing a lot of anxiety, as we all are (for various reasons) throughout this process: my primary reason at the moment is that committing to something is hard, especially when it does have certain drawbacks vs. other careers (most notably, salary) and when I have never in my life done anything besides academics.But if I was insensitive, either in my manner of asking the question or in choosing to ask the question at this time in this forum, then I apologize. I sincerely wish you all the best of luck.
I would like to add that I'm not trying to defend my own standing or say that everyone who didn't get a job is less deserving than everyone who did (as I explicitly said in a previous post). In part I am writing this because I don't want newly admitted grad students to think that the key to getting a good job is to choose a famous advisor (or current grad students to think that the key to getting a good job is to suck up to someone famous).
Harsh or not, this line by Mr. Zero had me in stitches:The idea that some guy who's got a TT job in the bag would be such an insensitive ingrate as to come on to this blog to ask that question makes me want to fuck your mom.
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