Happy October, friends. It’s Friday, so you know that means three things:

1) More Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Rooibus in yet another novelty mug (and yes, I have enough novelty mugs to do a different one for every week of the JIL. Much to my minimalist husband’s dismay, I collect novelty coffee mugs).

2014-10-03 10.56.23

This is a souvenir mug from the fake hotel that houses the Tower of Terror ride at Disney parks. I actually own three Tower of Terror-themed mugs, procured from three different trips to the Tower of Terror, that being but a fraction of the times I have actually been on that ride, which is my favorite ride. Anyway, this particular mug was purchased on the last day of March in 2013, at Disney World in Florida (my other two are from Disneyland in CA), where my friends Brittany and Matt were married.

2) Grocery shopping. Today is the first autumnal day we’ve had here in weeks — it’s basically been prolonged summer for as long as I can remember — so it was kind of like the first day of school with respect to me actually getting to wear some of the maternity clothes I’ve spent the last few months either sewing or shelling out for. 2014-10-03 08.51.51

This is a stretch silk caftan-style shirt I made from this truly exquisite Catherine Malandrino print I got for an absolute steal from Fabric Mart Fabrics (not shilling for them; just really like ’em–though if they want to pay me to advertise, just let me know! I will happily sell out for you, Fabric Mart). They often sell designer overstock, and this silk was incredible. I think it originally retailed for something like $40 a yard, but I got it for $8. And unlike most silks of its weight, it was so easy to work with. It barely slipped around at all. And to wear, oh holy hell it’s like wearing butter. Another thing I did with this garment that was fun is that I arranged the drawstring casing and belt loops so that it could gather and tie in the back only, for a sleeker line (well, as sleek as a big fat pregnant lady can look).

I am wearing this getup with some Old Navy maternity leggings I got on sale for $10, plus the New Era of Schuman Shoes (Schoes?): FRUMP CITY FOREVER. These are Dansko ankle boots, motherfuckers, because my fucking feet are enormous and my back hurts all the time, and basically if you want me to wear high heels and look sexy, you had better stuff about $200 worth of singles into my granny panties (size XXL now, because it’s cheaper to just buy plus-sized regular underwears that fit over the bump, at 12 for $10, than special expensive maternity underwears just to keep some form of vanity-size dignity).

Anyway, the best part of this getup is that not 20 minutes after this was taken, I got some decaf at Whole Foods and spilled it all down that gorgeous print, and spent the rest of the grocery-shopping morning looking like I drooled all down my front. The funny thing is that I have probably been spilling coffee like that for years, but it probably just went onto the floor without me noticing it because I didn’t have a big fat belly to catch it.

Digression: I need to start an effective letter campaign now to Trader Joe’s, so that by the time my kid is like 2 they will have gotten rid of the Kid Carts. You know the Kid Carts. The Kid Carts are the nightmare come true of every parent, because they are specifically designed to capture the fancy (and stoke the obsession) of children who are at exactly the age where they will both NEED NEED NEED a cart of their own to push around, and in no way be fit to do so. Every kid I see with one of these in a Trader Joe’s is a) beyond delighted, and b) either busily procuring $3000 worth of canned oysters, or busily ramming said cart into whatever he can see. The idea that I could in any way deny my kid the Kid Cart is preposterous — the thing is designed to invoke a nuclear-scale meltdown if forbidden, which would actually be worse than dealing with whatever timesuck and aisle-space blockage just using the damn Kid Cart would cause. “There is a basic human desire for agency,” my husband explained to me. Apparently, human beings, from a very young age, just feel this primal need to be in charge of something. I feel like getting between a barely-verbal, newly-ambulatory 20-month-old and that primal need is a recipe for disaster, so please my beloved Trader Joe, for the love of all that is holy, by mid- 2016, 86 the Kid Cart. (Opinion in my house, by the way, is divided on this. “I’m not really feeling you on that,” says my husband. “The kids are so cute with their little carts!” Yes, yes they are. “And I feel like it brings the kids in on the [grocery shopping] experience, instead of just being passive participants.” Well then, it’s settled; you are officially on Kid Cart Wrangling duty for time immemorial.)

3) All right, let’s rate some jobs. There is only one new job on the German JIL this week and it’s non-tenure-track, so I am going to combine it with another one sent in by “Dottie,” an eagle-eyed reader, because they both fall under the most odious trend in foreign-language “hiring” (or lack thereof), which is the idea that the sole acceptable way to hire a foreign-language professor these days is to hire one person to do not two jobs, but at least three, or in some cases four. At one salary, selbstverständlich/por supuesto/oczywiście/ਜ਼ਰੂਰ.  Here’s a humdinger:

Cal State-Fullerton. “Multi-Area Lecturer, Non Tenure-Track.” “The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures seeks an energetic and engaged full-time Lecturer (non-tenure-track) to cover at least two–preferably three–of the following areas: Chinese Studies; Japanese Studies; Cultural, Art and Film Studies; German Studies; Korean; Italian; Arabic; Vietnamese; Translation Studies; Hispanic Media, and other related fields. This appointment may be renewed one or more additional years.”

I cannot tell you how depressing I find it that someone qualified to teach three (possibly unrelated and often difficult) languages at the college level must still beg for what is basically a full-time adjunct job that might get renewed. Do you know how incredible a person would be if she could teach, say, Chinese, German and Arabic? Like, that person should have a Nobel prize and her own language school, not a 1 in 50 chance at a shitty job in Orange County, where I would imagine the Lecturer salary at Fullerton State does not pay enough to live in the area. Jesus Tap-Dancing Christ.

And now, before your rage stroke presents fully, this is happening:

Murray State University. This is actually an English job for an English PhD, but read on: “Ph.D. in English required, with an emphasis in Medieval literature. Ability to teach German courses required (graduate coursework in German). Ability to teach composition required. Evidence of good teaching and scholarly potential required. Interest in/experience with Digital Humanities or teaching online preferred. Will teach 12 hours per semester in composition, humanities, German (one course per semester), and areas of expertise.”

So German is now such a dying discipline that they are willing to allow people with no degree in it whatsoever — who’ve taken a graduate reading course or a single German lit course taught in English — to teach it in college. Meanwhile, there are hundreds of people with degrees in German who can’t get hired to do a damn thing, because now it is apparently acceptable to hire one person to do not three jobs, but four: English Medievalist, Germanist, Comp/Rhet, AND DH. I can only hope they have an inside candidate for this who just happens to do all this shit already, because if not, this is once again a truly abhorrent precedent. Even if this is an inside hire, this fucking school should be ashamed of itself. (Also, for rate my JIL veterans, they did a similar multi-language search last year).

All right, the only thing that can cheer me up now is to get the coffee stains out of my caftan and watch last night’s Project Runway. Later days. *sob*

33 thoughts on “Rate My JIL, Oct. 3: DO THREE JOBS! DO FOUR! THANK ME, PLEBS!

  1. Ah, Murray State. Has three separate entries on the “Universities to Fear” page: http://academicjobs.wikia.com/wiki/Universities_to_fear

    A sample: “Murray is def. in the middle of nowhere. The SC showed a positively unhealthy obsession with alcohol, which appears to be their only solace.”

    And another one: “They began the interview by asking me to read a one-page write up by the search chair detailing that Murray is in a dry county and that there’s an Applebee’s in town, etc. I appreciated the effort to be real, but really, on the first date you don’t tell people about the wart on your ass.”

    p.s.: That caftan’s print is gorgeous.


    • I should add that they had a job in my sub-field a few years ago. I didn’t apply, knowing a thing or two about the realities of living in the rural South/Mid West. I didn’t share this decision with my committee (I was still a grad student) because I knew what I would hear (“Apply everywhere!” “It’s just a first job, the market will pick up next year!” “You can always leave with some publications under your belt!”)


  2. Completely unrelated: since I am, like you, a huge Trader Joe’s fan, I have a question: have you tried their Pumpkin Body Butter? It smells so delicious I could eat it. I am a huge fan of fall and all things pumpkin (just bought TJ’s pumpkin spice coffee).

    Every time I visit, they have something new (Cowgirl Bark!) and I feel this sick sense of dread coming on that I’ll get addicted to it and they’ll take it off their shelves.


  3. Also beware of the places that have the shopping cart cars with the steering wheel for kiddos. Once you put your kid in one, you can NEVER GO BACK. Stay strong!


  4. Trader Joe’s hides the Kid Carts on the weekends. Hi then, or belt your adorable hellspawn into the big cart so they’re “closer to the samples.” (Yeah, I wish they’d 86 the dang things too.)

    Also, the Kid Carts are a lot like the German requirement in that second ad: out of left field, undesirable to all right-thinking adults, yet obnoxiously present.


  5. Oh man, I’m just starting on the job market*, and this honestly makes me feel better. I’ve been blaming myself for not having picked a more employable research specialization when I was applying for grad school, since no jobs are hiring for my subfield, and even the “open specialization” ones want specific technical or administrative experience that I don’t have. But some of these combinations are so ridiculous that I’m getting a sense that…it’s not just me. It’s them. I certainly can’t blame anyone with a German PhD for not being able to teach Chinese and Japanese.

    *Literally, I have applied for one academic job so far, and spent a total of two hours working on the application. When you know how bad the odds are, it’s hard to try much harder, especially at the cost of time you could spend working on your dissertation and getting OUT!


  6. For me, with my nyc eyes, the whole outfit is incredibly chic. The shape of the dress, the print, the tights, and yes, the shoes. Maybe it’s just because everyone’s on foot and on the subway here in ny, but women in heels look a little sad to me now.


  7. Yeah, I saw that ad for the Medievalist/Germanist/Rhet-Comp/All-the-Other-Jobs-We-Need-Filled-But-Won’t-Hire-For. My heart quickened at “Medievalist” but when I got to “Ability to teach German courses required” I snorted, said “buh-bye,” and kept looking. To expect someone to possess even two of those abilities is asking too much, but more? Ridiculous. Good luck to them.


    • Anyone with those skills should sure as shit be able to live somewhere better than whatever “Justified” road-trip episode nightmare houses Murray State (I’ve been told by Kentuckian readers that it is NOT in a “holler,” but since Raylan & Co are in charge of all or Kentucky, it’s feasible they could potentially track one of Boyd’s crew down/up/over there).


    • I think that what we’re seeing here is that search committees think that the job market is so bad that they can ask for something ridiculously specific, and even if there’s only a .05% chance of finding it, with 200 applicants, you’ll actually find that person. Or at least that’s how I think these folks are thinking.

      Sidebar: I was curious the other day about a job that I had interviewed for but not gotten a few years ago and so checked that department’s website. It turns out that the person who did get the job had not one but two PhDs…


    • Interfolio can mail them (or it used to be able to), for the low, low price of $6 each. So, a minimum of $24 out of your pocket to apply for the sole Medievalist job in all of Germanics this year.


  8. Hi, I love rate my JIl! I noticed this week, though, that there are quite a few new German jobs. (Alabama, Rhodes, Michigan State, Chapel Hill). Did they come out late, or did you just choose not to rate them?


  9. Rebecca, I know that you focus on the German jobs, but I had to share this English one with you as well, as it fits the overall theme of this post: https://www.mla.org/jil_listing?id=21841
    Basically, the job ad should say, “Just be able to do all the things.” I’m still trying to figure out why someone would need three lit specialty areas if they only teach one lit class a semester. Perhaps it will help them direct the writing center?


    • That Franklin College ad posted above calls for a moment of ‘LOL, wut?!’ Some translation is called for:

      “the other position will be a full-time, renewable instructorship that may become tenure-track in the future.”
      Search Committee Translation: You see that thing dangling above your head. That’s a carrot. No tenure for you!

      “For these positions, we are seeking generalists who can teach three or more of the following: Romantic, Victorian, British Modernism, Early American, American Renaissance, American Realism, American Modernism, Postcolonial, Creative Writing (poetry and / or fiction), and Rhetoric and Composition. A demonstrated interest in directing the college’s writing center is a plus, as is the ability to teach world literature survey or literary theory. ”

      Search Committee translation: Yes, we do not live in the real world in which each of these areas is a entire dedicated sub-field. Yes, we know nobody is writing a dissertation categorized under Romanticism but also Victorian, but wait … also British Modernism. We also need you to do do the job of four people: three professors and a Writing Center administrator. You’re welcome!

      The only thing that fills my heart with glee is that they will receive 900+ applications that three people will have to read over the Thanksgiving Weekend.


      • I would love to know when they’ll let applicants know whether or not they’re interviewing for one of the TT lines. And how the committee/chair/dean will decide which is which, since they haven’t made it (or anything) clear in the ad. Nothing like fostering some animosity among the new hires. (“Wait, *they* got the TT lines and I didn’t?”)


      • I kind of like the idea of a return to having generalists rather than period specialists. The former teach better classes, at least in my limited experience (English minor). The over-periodization of literary studies is arguably part of the problem, creating job market rigidity where none is necessary.

        What I don’t like is “4-4 plus you will run a Center we don’t want to run ourselves” aspect of the posting.


  10. Well, you know, all those Asian languages are, like, basically the same anyway, right? So it’s totally okay to expect one person to teach Chinese and Japanese and Korean and Vietnamese!


  11. I wonder if the Fullerton and Murray jobs aren’t designed with someone (spouse, friend, “favors owed,” etc) already in mind? The preferred skillsets seem far too specific for these to just be instances of the departments’ needing multiple areas filled at once. I mean, since when do English departments teach German? I bet someone’s spouse has an English PhD and happens to be from Germany; this is a way of ensuring that he/she gets the job. Ditto the Fullerton position. I bet someone’s spouse grew up in a Vietnamese-speaking household in Germany, learned English in German high school, and knows a bit of Chinese too. Now, if I were that person I would cut ties the academic shmoe who’s tethering me to Fullerton and seek greener pastures elsewhere. But maybe the person the posting is intended for is somehow not mobile (kids? a wart on his/her resume?).

    This is my critique of ANS, btw. Too many job listings he counts in his data sets were never really open job listings in the first place.


  12. We’ve got a similar one in my field, Classics: The Department of Classics at Duquesne University invites applications for a tenure-track position at the rank of Assistant Professor with specializations in Ancient History and Archeology of the Ancient Mediterranean World, to begin in Fall 2015. The successful candidate can expect to teach introductory, survey, and special topics courses in these areas. Candidates should be broadly trained in Classics, and able to teach Greek and Latin at all levels as well as a variety of courses on ancient texts in translation.

    Wait, you want a historian, a philologist, or an archaeologist? Because those are three different jobs.


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