Rate My JIL: Ole Miss Edition

Questions for you:

  1. Do you already live in or around Oxford, Mississippi?
  2. [Insert Ole Miss joke re: pro-slavery mascot or post-2012 election riot or about this or this, or this.]
  3. Do you have at least an M.A. degree in German, and the ability/desire to shoulder a 4-course teaching load and service duties?
  4. Do you have another immediate source of income in your current hometown of Oxford, MS, once the Fall 2014 semester is over? Perhaps a connection to some nice OxyContin, or working as a carnival ride operator at the Mississippi State Fair? I list these occupations not because they are “classic Mississippi,” but because drug dealing and carnival attraction operation are two of the few jobs for which someone with a PhD in German might be qualified.

If you answered “yes” to any of these queries, the following listing may be for you!

University of Mississippi, aka “Ole Miss.” Instructor of German. “Duties will include teaching first- and second-year courses in German language and participating in some extra-curricular service in the German program and the Department of Modern Languages.”

So far, so good. I know many Germanists whose first love is indeed language pedagogy (and that’s understandable, as one of my favorite graduate seminars was in language pedagogy, and other than its five-days-a-week-ness, teaching German 1 is both fun and easy as FUCK). Instructor jobs aren’t glamorous, they won’t get you any name-tag favor at the big conventions (which you won’t be able to attend anyway), but they’re steady. Usually. Read on.

“This is a temporary appointment for one semester, with the possibility of being a full academic year (nine-month) appointment.”

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Are you fucking kidding me? Under no circumstances should any Germanist anywhere who does not already live in or around Oxford, Mississippi even consider for one second applying for this offensive non-job of a “job”. You will be better off waiting tables or adjuncting in the area where you already live.

Here is why.

  1. For job-market purposes, this position is no better than an adjunct job on your CV. Seeing the title of “Instructor,” search committees will assume you’re an adjunct already, as that is the title most adjuncts have. You’re just an adjunct with a 4-course load + service (so, an adjunct and a sucker). This job will hurt you, rather than help you, on the market.
  2. There is no way on God’s Green Earth those Mississippi fuckers will pay for your moving expenses for a puny one-semester gig (oh, sorry, with the “possibility” to turn one-year, because every precarious German professor has the kind of flexibility where they can move to fucking Oxford, Mississippi for AN INDETERMINATE AMOUNT OF TIME).
  3. Can you even afford to take this job? The average annual rate for an Instructor at Ole Miss is $30,556 (and they can be paid as low as $24,000). Plus, you will probably not get your first paycheck until you’ve been working for at least three months (you’ll have to plan at least two completely new courses, unless you happen to have already taught from their textbook, using exactly the syllabi they’ve approved).
  4. Thus (see #s 2 and 3), unless you already have money, financially you will actually be worse off for having taken this job than better. And if you already have money, why would you take such a shitty job?
  5. You will neither have money, time nor support to attend conferences, nor will you have even the beginnings of time necessary to put research out.

This job is literally worse than no job. If you do not already live in Oxford, Mississippi, do not apply for this job.

8 thoughts on “Rate My JIL: Ole Miss Edition

  1. To those who stop at point 2 to jump straight to the comments, go back. Go back, skip point 2, and read the rest, because that is what is relevant. Our job market is completely fubared but because you might be skewed a racist if you don’t jump all over someone for calling out racism (ahem…), you’re going to miss the bigger picture.

    These jobs BLOW. They promise you the *possibility* of future work (and yeah, even a year long one that promises you the “possibility of renewal” is fucking with you in the same way) IF you uproot your life, most likely move away from your partner/family/friends for a few months work at probably shit wages.

    But if you want to rant about the racism of pointing out racism, by all means, go ahead and miss the point of how we are all, collectively, dooming the education system here for ourselves and out students.


  2. Do I dare point this out? Would it be indiscreet of me? Oh, fine. I will: The Ole Miss job isn’t an actual vacancy. I know the person who will be taking it, and I know that the person who will be taking it is married to a tenure-track faculty member in another department. The reason for national searches for such strange positions is many times due to not wanting people to suspect a genuine conflict of interest. Alles nur Schein.

    As for the whole “raging racist” thing … (although I see that part has been edited) … That’s really not terribly fair. I mean, yeah, we know that Mississippi doesn’t really have a sterling reputation, but Ole Miss is a very good school and our colleagues there are very bright. Living in ragingly racist Mississippi is no worse than living in seethingly and silently racist New England; it’s just a different manifestation of the same thing. Not to mention your average Mainer or Portlandian (Oregon) has never met a non-white person IRL, so we don’t really know how their hideous racism would manifest itself if there were another Great Migration to those areas. 😉


    • Apologies — I made a slight error about the Ole Miss job. I was thinking of another Mississippi university. I don’t know anyone at Ole Miss. Profuse apologies. BUT: I stand by what I said about these really strange national searches. Toodles! 🙂


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