Yesterday, someone who hate-reads me way too much spent untold amounts of his life composing (and definitely not editing) a 3000-word manifesto about the horrible scourge of yours truly, which was published on Inside Higher Education. It was the epitome of tl;dr, and thus I will not be linking to it here or quoting from it at all–in fact, IHE is publishing my response tomorrow and that will be the end of what I will have to say about the matter.
For now, instead I give you this, which is my newest on Slate and has already struck such a nerve that it’s hit #1 on the site (it might not be there anymore by the time you click, BUT IT WAS ONCE, huzzah).
This is a piece expressing what literally every academic in the world has gone through at one time or another, including the blogger Amanda Ann Klein, who actually wrote an extensive, TWO-PART post on exactly this subject, with exactly the same reverence as I have for the job market [ie none], a few weeks ago, which I in my pregnancy/coaching/conference-going/deadline-meetingness did not read, even though it is on MY OWN BLOGROLL, which is the real teachable moment here: READ OWN BLOGROLL. This is not like me at all–you guys know I love linking out to education bloggers, especially female ones, especially female ones who do not suck up to the job market, so this was a real missed opportunity on my part. At any rate, because I did not get a chance to link out to the piece in my Slate article, I am linking out to it now! Please read it! It goes into way more detail than mine did (hence the two-partedness), and again, I wish I had seen it to quote and link out when I was in said aforementioned deadline-meeting frenzy.
Anyway, what is this thing everyone has gone through, do you ask? It is this: A well-meaning friend or relative asking a well-meaning question that is actually the worst thing that could possibly be asked at that time. “You like California, right? So why don’t you just work at Stanford?” As if the only reason a very smart person does not currently work at Stanford is that the thought never occurred to him before.
The guy in IHE accused me of using too much hyperbole in my writing — and so, to celebrate hyperbole, my editor suggested I kick what in the first draft was just a mild anxiety attack up to full-blown death. So, now I will “prove” to the world that I do not exaggerate, by publishing an article that claims in earnest that the academic job market kills people. Anyway, here’s a quote, which includes yet another Mr. Show reference:
A would-be scholar in, say, 19th-century British lit, is limited toexactly this list of jobs, period. There are no other jobs (well, none that pay a living wage. There’s adjuncting, and lots of it). This is not a world in which other jobs can be produced from thin air. In academia, you cannot just march into the department with your CV and be like I’m a smart go-getter! The chair will not respond, Listen up, kid—you’ve got the goods!
You are all superstars, in superstar machines, taking it to the sta-haaaars. Emotion lotion!
PS the hard drive of my computer was called Superstar Machine for like seven years; then it was called Emotion Lotion! Now I use Dropbox like a normal person so it’s called “Dropbox.”