Special Summertime Rate My JIL: Real or Joke? + a CONTEST! + an UPDATE!

by Rebecca Schuman

Guys! Guys guys guys guys guys.

Several readers have brought to my attention this morning this ad for an adjunct job (one course per quarter!) that pays semi-OK given its area (the Area of Bay, aka $$$$$$$$$$ Silicon Valley hellscape). The job is at Santa Clara University, which, here are two fun facts about this place:

1) One of my friends–who is a native speaker of German but not actually from Germany–applied for a job in German there several years ago and was told point-blank: “We only hire Germans” and hung up on. So, given that Santa Clara University accepts federal aid $$, Santa Clara University’s German program violates shit-tons of laws. (FYI: all law-abiding foreign-language departments ask for “native or near-native” fluency; a stupid designation but that’s the language of the field.)

2) My dad taught at Santa Clara University back in the 60s and had a student named Chuck Schmuck. True story.

Anyway, here’s a third “fun fact” about Santa Clara University: They JUST MIGHT be fucking with all of us when they list the following as “Basic Qualifications” for a one-quarter adjunct job. Bolding of most insane parts mine:

“The successful applicant will have at least 25 books on topics ranging from the history of Silicon Valley to the biography of microprocessing to interviews with entrepreneurs to the history of human and mechanical memory; will have been published by presses such as Harper/Collins, Doubleday, Random House, St. Martin’s, and SUNY Press; will also have e-books on topics such as home life in the US, home life in the UK, and water conservation; will have worked as both a journalist for a print newspaper and for magazines; will have hosted television and radio productions for PBS, cable television, and ABC; will have worked in electronic media such as being editor of Forbes ASAP or a weekly columnist for ABC.com; will have founded or co-founded at least two start-ups; will have professional connections to Oxford University in the UK as well as to numerous media (print, electronic, and television) in the SF Bay Area and beyond. The successful applicant must have demonstrated experience in teaching nonfiction writing and internship classes for undergraduates, must have demonstrated success in helping undergraduates secure internships in public writing that lead to jobs, and must be committed to working with undergraduates.”

So, Santa Clara University wants Suze Orman for $6000 a course? Does this program not know that anyone with this profile will probably be hiring ghostwriters? Does someone with 25 ghostwritten books on home life in two different countries AND WATER CONSERVATION have the time or desire to schlep all the way out to Santa Clara University to teach the current Chuck Schmucks of the world, for what amounts in Silicon Valley to an insulting pittance? What say we? Real? Joke? Parody? Anyone from Santa Clara care to elaborate, and/or explain to me why your German program thinks it’s OK to violate the law? (I mean, obviously this is a poorly-disguised ad for an inside candidate–but since when do ADJUNCT jobs have inside candidates? And who IS this person?!?! UPDATE: IT’S THIS GUY. Why would he be willing to do this for $6000? And since when do adjunct jobs have to advertise at all?!?!?)

And, last most importantly:

I now bring you Schuman’s Cover Letter to Santa Clara University Contest.

The most inspired bored creative writer who composes a hilarious cover letter that also technically claims to meet all of the above “basic” qualifications–and is AS BELIEVABLE AS THE LISTING ITSELF (s0, not that believable, but just sincere enough to make you not dismiss it out of hand)– and actually sends it in with a CV (and CC’s it to me) will receive $50. CVs and names can be made up. Hilariousness and creativity will be judged by me; no appeals. Winner, with name redacted, will appear on this site. Deadline Thursday, June 12, 8 p.m. Central Time.


UPDATE! I have received an email from Mike Malone, who may or may not be the target of this inside adjunct-hire. I can’t confirm or deny anything, lest I violate the law that the fake/real ad was written to comply with in the first place, but I will just say two things: 1) Mike Malone is a really nice guy, and did NOT actually write his own Wikipedia page (in other news, I need to abort the draft of mine I was working on; I got stuck after the third grade anyway). 2) Mystery solved, but I can’t say anything more, because unlike SCU I actually care about employment laws.

Now if there were something we could do about their German program’s illegal hiring practices…