My first column for the Chronicle of Higher Education Vitae project is up today (and don’t get too attached to that minimalist layout–the hub hasn’t officially launched yet! This is TEASER CONTENT).
It is about the horrible platitudes many FULLPROFs give their job-seeking progeny, and some pro-actively humane suggested replacements for them. Since Vitae doesn’t allow commenting yet, I thought we could do some here: did I miss any? Was I off the mark about any? What’s the worst thing a senior faculty ever said to you while you were on the market? Here’s mine (and it’s actually a combination):
INT. MLA 2013
My department’s infamous Cash Bar Cocktail Party, where the entirety of German Studies goes to self-congratulate and/or be desperate (depending on the ladder level). I am explaining to one of my usually-favorite grad-school profs what I will do if this market, my fourth in a row, ends up the same way the previous three did (the stakes are higher for me now, because I’ve just finished what I thought was a very promising interview, and already have one campus visit lined up).
ME: I am thinking of transitioning to Gen Ed, Humanities-Core type of stuff. I really love teaching in those programs, and they are so important in a University-scape of diminished Humanities.
HIM (AGHAST): But THEN you wouldn’t be able to do your RESEARCH! (Said with the same tone as “But THEN you will DIE FROM LUPUS!”
Later in that same party:
HIM: Rebecca, come here and meet this guy–see, he’s not giving up on the market, and neither should you!
“This Guy” is a person whose area of research is nearly identical to mine, but who graduated from a more prestigious program. Ergo, my direct competition, who will beat me every time, is still out on the market.
The sheer unbelievable cluelessness of people who are legitimately trying to help us will never cease to amaze me. NOW COMMENT AWAY!