Changes Hardly Worth Mentioning, and Yet I Go On For Some Time About It

In the past eight months, Pan Kisses Kafka has grown exponentially. EXPONENTIALLY. I never knew my stats during the Early Years (2003-2007), but during the post-hiatus, pre-Thesis Hatement year (2012-2013) I averaged about 150 views a month during a good month (some were as low as 15, probably just spam crawlers). After Thesis Hatement, I started getting a tad bit of traffic again, thanks to becoming active on Twitter (though in April I think I had 150 followers), and gaining the attention of Sarah Kendzior, Karen Kelsky, William Pannapacker, and others whose links brought in hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of views. In May of 2013 I had 7,500 views, and my mind was blown. I said “fuck it” and put ads up, figuring I’d get paid every ten months or so (WordPress makes you rack up $100 before they’ll release the dough).

In December 2013, the month that just ended, I had 74,000. I now get 3,000-4,000 views a day (my all-time max is 6,100, thanks almost entirely to Claire Potter, and yes, I am thinking of sharing my December ad revenue check with you, Claire! It’s the least I can do). Anyway, 74,000 views. Almost 30,000 unique visitors. Who are you people? Why are you reading? You know what? I don’t want to know–JUST KEEP DOING IT. I love you. I love you all so damn much. Even the hate-readers. Honestly, especially the hate-readers, because I used to be such an avid hate-reader myself before I promised my husband I wouldn’t do it anymore–my favorite targets were ultraconservative Christian blogs, and what do you know? I BECAME FRIENDS with a bunch of the bloggers, because Rebecca Schuman Turns Enemies to BFFFs and That Is How Shit Rolls. I am actually kind of obsessed with seeking out and befriending people I think I’ll hate, or who think they hate me. Kind. Of. Obsessed. So if you’re an A-#1 Schuman Hater, you might be next, and know that I DO knit things, but I don’t cook (but I do really enjoy treating people for meals out, even if I don’t have any money).

Anyway. The only “consequence” of the community that’s grown around this blog (and to my regulars, may I say once again that I LOVE YOU?) is that now I get quite a few comments. Until today, I had an email alert to notify me every time I had a comment, and especially if one was waiting for moderation. I still moderate every comment from someone new, and if they’re too mean, I’ll trash them. But after several months of waking up to 10-30 email alerts, most alerting me to conversations that readers are already having with each other (many of which are really awesome!), it’s begun to disturb my sleep, because when I wake up to use the little girls’ room at 5 a.m. I immediately get a pit of dread in my stomach about what kind of comments are awaiting me, and I know it’s no good to check your email at 5 a.m. and that NOBODY SHOULD CHECK EMAIL AT 5 A.M. so I don’t, but then I just sit next to my husband in bed with my eyes wide open and a pit of dread in my stomach, and sometimes he’s a light sleeper, so my anxiety wakes him up too, and he’s like I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON HERE, BUT I BLAME YOU, SCHUMAN, I BLAME YOU. And when it comes out that it’s something to do with my self-obsessed post-academic stuff, he gets (rightly) pissed, and then I have both a pit of dread AND my husband’s pissed at me, so I have a double pit of dread, and get a shitty night’s sleep.

So what I’m saying is that I’ve turned email alerts for comments off. I’ve also added a thing that makes you put a name and email address when you comment (though obviously both can be fake!). I will still moderate comments from newbies, but now it might take me days to get around to it. I hope that this does not discourage regulars from keeping up the conversation–I read every comment, usually (but not always) every day, but unless I’m way ahead on my deadlines I don’t respond to all of them anymore, because it makes me too anxious. 

So if you don’t see your comment appear a few days after you’ve made it, accept my apologies in advance, and know that unless it was downright cruel, I’ll approve it. I just want to wake up to my usual morning inbox, of dog pics from my mom, the daily IT “outage” alerts I get from UMSL, the occasional fan/hate mail, articles needing changes from my editors (love you DK, JT, BR, DH!), and offers from Spanx. 

In conclusion, I love Spanx.



16 thoughts on “Changes Hardly Worth Mentioning, and Yet I Go On For Some Time About It

  1. I have had my blog for almost ten years now and I am pretty sure the number of real people to have ever read it has never exceeded six. I know who three of these people are. The other three are a mystery.


      • And they called you “Schulman.” I never thought of your name as hard before this last week or so.


      • SMDH at that headline. Also in the same genre of concern trolling: “Can’t get a job as a Lit PhD? Learn programming!” “Can’t get a job as a Lit PhD? Teach composition/work as writing program admin/manage a writing center!” This is all actual advice (learn programming) from people in my discipline, the first from an Associate Professor. And then there’s “Can’t get a job as a Lit PhD? You should have gotten a Rhet/Comp PhD!”


  2. Rebecca: How about one big final, fireworks–finale call for the Indiegogo campaign? A challenge to at least break $1000 or…go crazy and try to up to the advertised goal of $2000.


  3. Hi Rebecca,

    Since you seem curious about who is reading your blog, I thought I’d drop you a line and tell you who I am. I first became aware of your writing thanks to the notorious “Thesis Hatement” essay, and I’ve been following (stalking?) you ever since.
    I finished a PhD in comp lit (mostly in German lit, with some film history) in 2004. By that time, I was living in Berlin with my freshly minted, blissfully nonacademic (but smart and adorable) husband. After a few resoundingly unsuccessful applications to jobs at German universities (who are we kidding … they have plenty of their own unemployed academics over here), I decided that taking a nonacademic job was preferable to starving, or being a total drain on my hard-working husband. I now work as a communications specialist for an international management consultancy, and have translated a number of interesting books from German to English in my (ahem) “free” time.
    But here’s the thing:despite being reasonably successful, owning a nice home, living in one of the world’s most exciting cities, and being in a fabulous relationship, I generally felt like a loser deep down – because I didn’t “give it my all”; because I drank the Kool-Aid so long that academic success was the only thing that mattered, and everthing else was a sellout; because being part of the “elite” had become such a huge part of my self-image (especially since my generation was the first in my family to even go to college, let alone grad school). When I got the job offer from my current employer, I broke down sobbing. Because, perversely, taking a good-paying job to perform a skill I do well at for a respected company meant I was a failure.
    Frankly, for a toxic cocktail of reasons – running the gamut from poor (nonexistent?) advising to a soul-killing personal crisis during most of my time in grad school – I would have been woefully unprepared for the job market anyway. I didn’t miss out on anything, except a big dollop of bitter disappointment (and possibly personal bankruptcy). Reading your razor-sharp columns has been a big step for me in realizing that my intellectual worth does not depend on recognition from the academic system – which, as you so clearly point out, is pretty broken at this point in any case.
    So, this far-too-lengthy comment is all about me, and I really just wanted to thank you. You’re a great writer, and a great advocate for recovering academics everywhere. Keep up the good work!


    • @Wiesel. Loved your post. I especially related to the “being woefully unprepared” due to adviser neglect (criminal, really) and the poor mental state I was in (after the shameless treatment I received in grad school ––which I’ve mentioned in other comments on this blog– and somewhat tangential personal reasons).

      You have what sounds like a great life and I’m glad you’re done “detoxing” from the KoolAid. I’m still figuring out the job situation and you were oh so smart to not even go into the market–I wasted too many years.

      I love hearing from other folks like you! Good for you, me, us!


      • Thank you, DM, for your very kind reply! I can’t say that my professors evern mistreated me – most of them were kind and even supportive, but in such a diffuse way that I had no idea what I was doing. A great deal of the fault certainly lies with me. Maybe deep down, I was afraid to ask certain questions because I didn’t want to hear the answers. In any case, I’m not done detoxing yet, but reading Rebecca and her wonderful group of commenters is helping me on my way. And you’re right – we rock!


  4. Page views: a true meritocracy! But I’m embarrassed that about 10,000 of those page views may have come from me. I’m not a stalker but I just need some contact with observant, hilarious, and incisive commentary since everyone I work with will eventually be on my tenure committee — talking to them is land mine city. Thank you so much for your perceptive, funny writing. I’m so glad you’re getting paid for this! How I found you? I got my dream job last April and I put the words “happy PhDs stories” into google and only horrible disaster stories emerged in the search results — of the “my doctorate ruined my life” variety. (Btw, landing my dream job almost killed me and took more strategizing than the Normandy invasion.) One of google results was “Thesis Hatement.” It was awesome. When I saw you were a VAP at Ohio State I thought, oh, she’ll be fine, she’ll get a job. Imagine my surprise when Karen Kelsky followed up on your post and said you’d left academia. What?!? I started following your writing and suddenly the term “cyberbullying” took on real meaning. People are crazy/ angry at you. All of our weird American hang ups about success, failure, capitalism, education are thrust on one person. Schuman is a strong person to withstand it. I never felt the cult mentality about grad school but I sure did about entering “the job market.” You’ve helped me deprogram. Your blog brings back traumatic memories of “the wiki” and mla interviews that feel like $1000 hazing exercises but it exorcises them. Thank you so much for your writing. I hope 2014 is another awesome year for you!


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