Job-Ad Deconstruction & Wiki-Wack on Vitae

Today brings the first of a two-week, two-column blitz on Vitae; today’s column is sort of a two-fer. It begins with an intro that explains my presence on Vitae altogether: I am there (and here) to normalize failure on the job market, an activity that is actually already quite normal. Then it goes on for awhile about academic job ads and what they “really” mean.

Next week’s Vitae is about the Wiki–all the rage and gallows humor, none of the swearing.

Today’s column was inspired by my CHE forum trolls, Rate My JIL and the #ButtScan contest–enjoy!



6 thoughts on “Job-Ad Deconstruction & Wiki-Wack on Vitae

  1. Your last paragraph here is especially true not just for academia, but across the board. So much of the job process today is inhuman (I’m looking at you, TALEO!) and needs an overhaul – or at the very least some admission that the reason you don’t have a job yet may not be entirely on your shoulders.


  2. Alas, as much as I wish the following were true, it just isn’t:

    “A small liberal arts college that insists on its new hire having an “aggressive research agenda” doesn’t mean it. If you have a CV that seems to be aiming for an R1 (publications in top journals, a book under contract), search-committee members will either read you for an immediate ditcher, or they will be resentful of your productivity and fearful that you will make them look bad.”

    You know what our Dean, bless his cold heart, is telling incoming humanist job candidates when they talk about tenure expectations? Excellent teaching, without which you can kiss your butt bye-bye at the third-year review. AND one book completed, articles in top journals, plus significant, demonstrable process on the second book. At a liberal arts college. The market is so bad that teaching colleges now have raised research expectations equivalent to R1 universities. Why? Because they can. And we have the tenure denials in the past couple of years to prove it. Plenty of fish in the sea. Dance, tenure-stream monkey, dance!

    So, all you applicants to SLACland, be careful. The days of Mr. Chips and student mentoring are long gone. Be prepared to talk cogently about how you will close your office door and get publishing!


  3. Tomorrow an editorial board is deciding whether or not to offer me a contract for a book that is a thoroughly revised (like four year’s worth of work) version of my dissertation. This was meant to be my “tenure book” but now it looks like it will be my “job book,” that is, if I even get a friggin’ job. I know it will probably work against me in my job search, having published a book, but to heck with it, the work is more important. If it does go through though, I’ll have more publications than half the faculty who “work” where I am an adjunct. Meritocracy? my ass. Next I think I’ll learn how to plumb….


    • Yep. Yep yep yep. People now need a book in print to get a job. A book in print that they got in print with NO RESEARCH SUPPORT WHATSOEVER. It is shameful and unconscionable. Also, many of the people who interview you will have never written a book, you will make them feel inferior, and they will not hire you.


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