The Modern Language Association (MLA), the umbrella professional association of my profession, has brought the dreaded Jobs Information List (JIL) into the SPACE FUTURE OF THE FUTURE! I just got an email from my best friend Rosemary G. Feal (for reals, I just met her at a conference and she is a) very nice and b) a SPITFIRE–people, do not blame the MLA itself for every bad interview and horrible committee you ever encountered, it’s not the organization’s fault) telling us all that starting in the fall, every seeker on the JIL gets a free Interfolio account, and can apply directly to listings from the JIL, with the use of Interfolio’s services (probably still costing $4 apiece, but what do we want, a massage?!?). I think this is an absolutely fantastic idea, and I am very happy the MLA did it.
Why? This means that the life-destroying, time-sucking, soul-torturing fall ritual of applying for academic positions (more on why this is such an unpleasant process in a future post! Lucky you!) just got slightly less stressful and $20 cheaper–provided that every department that lists with MLA accepts electronic submissions.
So…now for the curse-filled invective: a preliminary note in advance to those departments who are still going to insist on getting things on paper: WHY??? Why the retrograde, pedantic exceptionalism? You want that shit on paper? PRINT IT THE FUCK OUT. I will be paying the extra postage to send dossiers the old-fashioned way with even more despondency in my heart than there usually is between the months of September and February. Please, search committees, I know you are just looking for “the best fit” (by which of course you mean: someone from the Ivy League, UCB or Chicago), but please take the psychological and emotional toll of the job market into consideration when making this decision.
So, in conclusion, congratulations to the MLA for a great development, PLEASE RECONSIDER? in advance to any department that insists on making the hardest thing most of us do every year that much harder.