"In many disciplines, for the majority of graduates, the Ph.D. indicates the logical conclusion of an academic career." Marc Bousquet

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Grad U Wants to Know What I'm Doing Now


I got an email from the department secretary the other day: "We are compiling data on people who completed the program within the past two years. (This is new. They never used to ask what happened to people.) What is your status now? At your earliest convenience, please let me know the organization you work for and your position title."


Two amusing assumptions there:
  1. Clearly, I do NOT have a tenure-track job. If I did, they'd already know about it.
  2. I am EMPLOYED. Somewhere. In a position with a title I'd be proud to share with them. WTF kind of crack are they smoking?
When I didn't reply, I got a second one. I suppose it would be helpful of me to let them know one of their former "stars" is doing scut work. But why would I do that?

They can Google me.

Perhaps the department secretary would like to trade jobs for a few weeks? Ze makes more money than I do. Ze ought to know how to Google someone.


  1. This is exactly how I responded to the last such request from my department.

  2. I have to admit ... I think the temptation to send in something snotty/sarcastic in response would get the better of me. Your response is probably better, though. :)

  3. I think what's motivating their interest is that they've had far fewer tenure-track placements in the last two to three years. They used to brag about what a great placement record they had, even though they never mentioned what became of the far greater number of people who dropped out or got nonacademic jobs upon completion. Now they're scratching their heads wondering where their mojo went. It's such bullshit. I have no doubt they'll find some way of using whatever information they get to inflate their own image and sidestep the problems.