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

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The job description is up on Versatile PhD

I posted it up there this morning, if anyone cares.

Seriously, one or some of you should apply for this. Within 24 hours of posting on nonacademic sites, we've gotten a FUCKTON of resumes. Like 80. Out of those, only a few sound like they might be pretty good. And by "pretty good," I'm talking about the smart kid with the undergrad degree in theater and a couple years of admin experience seems the best so far. And that's not really our ideal candidate. Our ideal candidate has stronger writing and editing skills, but we're mostly getting admin types who can only do about half of this job. The admin part is easy -- we can train you for that in a week. The writing and editing skills require an EDUMACATION.

We did express this in the job ad -- essentially that you don't NEED a graduate education to do this job but we'd prefer someone who had one or who had elsewhere acquired the skills we're looking for. I'm hoping something will come along through Versatile PhD because the attitude I got from Grad U Placement Doofus was totally condescending and full-of-shit contradictory. The gist of our conversation was:

Me : There's this job one of your ABDs or recent PhDs might like to have.

Placement Doofus: But it's not an Tenure Track ACAMADEMICAL job. Waaaaaaaaaaaa!

Me: No, but it pays better than being a fucken adjunct. Pays better even than what newly hired assistant profs in your department get.

Placement Doofus: Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! A lot of our adjuncts have been trying for tenure track placements for several years now. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!! Why are our placement rates so low? They never used to be this bad. They used to be pretty good. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! Why are our adjuncts so unhappy?? They just need to ride this out for another year or two, and things will improve.

Me: No, things aren't going to improve. Even if they do, somebody could take THIS job for the intervening time and get the fuck off food stamps for a little while. Your adjuncts have no money and feel like they have no future. Why do you think they're so unhappy? Why do you begrudge them the chance to move in another direction? To a place where they would be actually appreciated and compensated accordingly??

Placement Doofus: Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!! Our adjuncts are wonderful. They are too good for a crappy admin job. You yourself betrayed THE GREATEST PROFESSION EVER by leaving. Clearly, it was not your true calling. I must protect our graduate students and adjuncts from heretics like you.

Me: You are so full of shit the fumes are carrying across the internet.

Placement Doofus: By the way, your new job sounds really great. Can Grad U take credit for your success? It's so great to know our graduates are moving on to have such interesting careers. Our graduate students need to hear about this. They need role models. We should have you come back and talk to them one of these days after you start New Job.

Me: I don't have time for this. Can you just please circulate the job ad so that somebody else can move on to have, as you say, "such an interesting career"?

Placement Doofus: Waaaaaaaaaaaa! I'll ask around. There's Desperate and Pathetic Adjunct. Do you remember hir? Ze finished the year before you did and has been teaching for the department and going on the market every year since. Ze might be getting tired of that.

Me: Yes, I think I remember Desperate and Pathetic. But why don't you circulate to everybody? That way, everybody knows the job is available and they can make their own decisions about whether they're interested or not.

Placement Doofus: Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!! You're a heretic. You're trying to get people to leave the department. We can't afford to discourage our cheapass limitless supply of permatemps precious graduate students. I might circulate it. I'll see what I can do. I'll have to warn them about you first ... But can Grad U still take credit for your success in getting New Job?

Me: Fuck you.

*     *     *     *     *

Maybe my attitude didn't help as far as getting word around. I was more polite, but I couldn't totally disguise that I thought Placement Doofus was full of shit. At least at New Think Tank (same as at Think Tank) you can tell people they're full of shit when they wax poetic about such free-market pipedreams as privatizing the sidewalks (dudes, that's actually in the job description, the "full of shit" part and everything!!). They appreciate knowing when they cross the line over to KrazyKrackpotKookville. Can't quite say as much about academe.

I think I'm gonna do another post when I get a little more time about what it's like being on the other end of the hiring process. Quite fascinating, actually.


  1. Did you know that the sidewalks *have* been privatized in NYC? Well, not exactly, but property owners are responsible for maintenance and safety of the sidewalks adjacent to their property.

    BTW, for the love of godde, could you please consider getting ridde of this white on black theme??????? It is seriously fucken unreadable and makes my fucken brain pulsate in a bad way.

  2. There's some law about like that in DC, too, but they don't enforce it.

    Black on white, white on black. Makes no difference to me as I'm nearly blind as a bat and have to magnify it 200% either way. Given surrounding other circumstances, however, I may be reinventing soon-ish as "After Academe: Act II" or 2.0 or something and that would necessitate some sort of makeover and/or maybe a move to Wordpress. In the meantime, I'm not changing anything, though. You'll have to have another drink or two to turn those bad brain pulsations to good.

  3. I posted a link to your post yesterday to my twitter feed with the hashtag #altac, hoping some people would see it.

    I also just posted some encouragement on my blog for people to contact you.

    Damn, one of us has a direct opportunity to get someone out of academe! We have to make this happen!!

  4. Thanks, JC! I suspect there's an element of hesitation, but things really do move so much faster outside academe. Hesitating over the cover letter's perfect wording for too long means possibly the best person won't even be considered, which would be a shame! We've already talked to several people on the phone and are planning on scheduling in-person interviews for at least 2 of them. We'd like to interview 5-7 or so total, and I have no doubt we'll find them somewhere. But I wish we'd get some responses from the post-acs because they'd move to the top of the list, most likely. Won't happen, though, if they wait until next week to hit the "send" button. Now is the time!

  5. YES! MOVE TO WORDPRESS!!! It's so much fucken better than this blogspot shittehole!

  6. I just sent you an email. I may have a candidate, but I am a little confused as to what to tell her as far as procedure goes. Looking forward to your answer so I can pass the information to my friend.

  7. I, of course, emailed Spanish prof back, but for anyone else that is confused, the job description is posted on the job board at Versatile PhD. You do have to login as a Versatile PhD member to view it. I recommend anyone reading this blog to join VPhD (it doesn't cost anything and they don't spam you), but if you're not a member and want to know about the job, email me at recentphd@gmail.com. I'll send you the description. It's on a few nonacademeic sites, too, but we pitched it slightly differently there.

  8. Wordpress is great. You can probably sign up with a host (like HostGator) and have them move the blog FOR you, for free, and set you up. It's been awesome for us so far.

    I get angrier and angrier about the cluelessness and recalcitrance of higher ups in academia who are just so clueless and behind when it comes to the serious need for grad students to be marketable outside of the academy. HEADSPLOSION.

  9. My thought is actually NOT to migrate what's already here. Despite certain people's objections to the aesthetic, the dropped curtain and reverse color scheme somewhat reflects where my head has been the last year and a half -- as in, my world felt like it had been turned upside down inside out when I first left and I didn't know what was coming next. Bad brain pulsations for sure! So, I'm thinking I'll leave this up as a statement about this whole experience and have a last post that links to Act II or whatever I end up calling it. This won't be for a little bit, though, at least not until the new job starts.

    The cluelessness these days just makes me sad more than anything else. These are people's lives we're talking about, fairly large chunks of their lives. Graduate students are, for the most part, intelligent and productive, and their potential is just being exploited and wasted. And it's sad because this is the future of higher ed in this country. Today's graduate students SHOULD be tomorrow's professors, but the vast majority of them will simply end up doing the work of professors for a decade for something around minimum wage and then, when they finish "school," leave the profession before they've ever had the support, salary, and status to realize their full potential as scholar-teachers. Just plain sad all the way around that so many of the higher-ups are too clueless and selfish to positively encourage grad students to make themselves marketable outside of academe.

  10. "certain people"

    Hey! I'm not "certain people"!

  11. Meh, somebody else complained, too, via email, although they didn't put it quite so eloquently.

  12. The 2 Year Life of the MindNovember 30, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    I've been looking for this post FOREVER. It's fucking BRILLIANT! Your characterization of the placement administration is not only priceless, the attitude is SPOT ON for not only them but others.

    I'm bookmarking this post...