Please tell me why it is so tough. As a rising senior now applying for Ph.D. programs, a lot of what I hear is depressing or blatant denials. But I'm mostly told that (1) if you publish a lot and make the right connections as a Ph.D. candidate, you will emerge with a job and (2) that most of the old folks will be retiring by the time that I finish. Are these myths that deserve to be trashed as we seek better options or what? Hope I don't sound too nervy. Thanks for all you do.
I love nervy. Bring it on. As for the advice you're being given:
(1) is right, but not nearly as easy as you might think it would be. Grad school is hard. Like, really really hard. Telling you that all you have to do is "publish a lot and make the right connections" is about as awesome as Charles de Mar's skiing advice in Better Off Dead: "Go that way, really fast. If something gets in your way, turn." It's not wrong exactly, it's just totally fucking useless.
(For important suggestions about how to avoid some pitfalls in thinking about this, check out what PGS wrote here a while back.)
(2) is a tired myth that deserves to be trashed. The assholes who perpetuate this myth deserve to have their kneecaps smashed in with a ball-peen hammer. Some discussion of this in the PJMB archives can be found here, here, and here.
good luck kisses,
Edit: Bonus Better Off Dead trailer! (Go to 0:56 for the quote.)