Oh, hello. Didn’t see you there. It’s been a bit quiet around here for approximately the last 19 months. Coincidentally, I have a 19-month-old child. You know what wasn’t fun? Laboring without anesthesia for 20 hours and then having to get cut open anyway, and then somehow being expected to recover from major abdominal surgery whilst also caring for a helpless miniature human! And I’d still rather relive labor and the first two hellish weeks of being a parent on Nietzschen ewige Widerkehr loop for time immemorial than go back on the academic job market in German. As usual, Weird Al said it best.
In this situation, “you” is academia. Thought I’d spell that out since academics often have a hard time with jokes. You know what else is a joke? This year’s German job market. Mercifully I was too busy getting death threats from the Trumpiverse last year at this time to pay a goddamn microsecond of attention to the JIL, but this year I’ve got a walking, talking sentient being who sometimes tolerates a babysitter and always tolerates twenty minutes of Sparkabilities in her Baby Jail, so even though I now have many, many, many better things to do than Rate Someone Else’s JIL, I’m doing this for you, the sad suckers who are still out there for some reason. Remember: “sunk cost” is a fallacy. It’s NOT true that the longer you stay out there, the more reason to stay out there because otherwise all the time you’ve spent out there is wasted. The time you’ve spent out there is already wasted.
So. This year’s Rate My JIL is going to be, in one of my daughter’s favorite phrases, “a LITTLE bit different!” I’m going to cross over into other disciplines sometimes, and I’ll definitely be taking requests, so if you see a particularly ridiculous ad—or an innocuous-seeming one that has an unseemly backstory—please do send it my way, and I’ll do a special Rate My JIL just for you (whilst keeping you totally anonymous, of course, since as you all know, search committees regularly comb through the miscellany of Pan Kisses Kafka to weed out traitors, and they are all IT experts so they can figure out who you are no matter what username you use). But, as always (or, at any rate, as it has been dating back to 2013), I’m going to start with German. This year’s debut German JIL is one of the worst I have ever seen. It contains thirteen jobs total, which is abjectly terrible on its face, but wait. Three of those thirteen jobs are non-tenure-track (NTT), one is open rank (a.k.a. forget it), three are senior positions, and six of the thirteen (don’t need to be Adjunct Nate to know that’s more than half) are not in German, at all but merely German-adjacent enough that they can nominally be advertised on the German JIL but there is no fucking way in hell a Germanist will get them.
There is some crossover in the above basket of deplorables, so here are the brass tacks: On this year’s debut JIL, there are FOUR (one, two, three, four) actual beginning tenure-track (TT) jobs in German, for multiple hundreds of new, semi-new, semi-old, old, and old-old PhDs who are still for some ungodly reason attempting to squeeze themselves into this fly bottle. Still, though, four is four, right?
Ha. Ha hahahahahahahaha nope. Two (that’s half) of these positions are at Ivies or the Ivy-adjacent, which means they will hire exclusively from institutions of equal rank, possibly even themselves. These jobs are not for you, regular person (or even non-suckup-super-eminence’s-pet at an elite place). That means there are, on the first day of the JIL when the alleged “big dump” (ha) happens, exactly two tenure-track positions in German for which most of you can apply. Go home and get drunk now. If you’re already drunk, get drunker.
Albion College. Visiting Instructor. “The Modern Languages & Cultures Department of Albion College seeks a full-time, one-semester sabbatical replacement (emphasis mine) for our German program beginning January 2017.”
Yep, that’s right. This is pretty much an adjunct job (with, I am assuming, possibly erroneously, slightly better pay), for one semester with no possibility for renewal, advertising on a national list. Please. If you do not already live in or near Albion, Michigan, do not apply for this shitty job. Do not incur moving expenses for this shitty job. Do not leave a partner or uproot a family for this shitty job that is advertising on the debut JIL that once held all (or almost all) of the tenure-track listings of the year. They say the debut JIL is a bellwether. Not only is that true, but this exact job is a bellwether for the current and future state of German Studies. Drunk yet?
Baylor. Chair of the Dept. of Modern Languages and Cultures. Accepted specialties include Aramaic, King James English, and glossolalia.
Duke. Tenure-Track Assistant Professor in Theory and Global Culture. Do you enjoy having your application stuck at the bottom of a stack of 1500 of its best friends? You do? Then definitely apply for this open-discipline job at Duke. You have a better chance of getting $5 basketball tickets on game day than you have of getting this German-adjacent job.
Elon University. VAP. Every Rate MY JIL I will do an If You Can’t Say Anything Nice listing, and this is that listing. Hey, everyone, this VAP job is for three entire years! Wow! Fantastic! Definitely move your family to Elon, North Carolina for it!
Hopkins. Some Sort of Endowed Chair in Yiddish and yeah, this ad applies to like four people in the world, so, no.
Kalamazoo. Actual Tenure-Track Assistant Professor of German. I have a friend who got a job in this department so I can’t be too scathing. I’m just going to leave this picture here and wonder aloud: If these folks think German is a Romance language, you may get to teach some pretty fucking interesting courses.
Stanford. Assistant Professor of German. Godspeed, Princetonians!
Texas State. Assistant Professor of German. Well, Texas State-San Marcos, prepare to get the biggest deluge of fancy-degreed candidates you have ever seen. I think it would be the most amazing thing in the world if this were an inside hire and all these poor schmos in San Marcos, TX had to read through 500 super-earnest applications about almost-done dissertations in Transgender Transnationalisms.
**TRIGGER WARNING: NEOLIBERAL AUSTRIAN-SCHOOL GARBAGE CLAPTRAP BULLSHIT.** I’m about to mention the name of an institution whose very moniker will bring up trauma in many reasonable individuals. Please steel yourself accordingly, or simply look away from Rate My JIL for the next five to ten seconds.
University of Chicago. Same bullshit society of fellows thing they advertise every year. Have fun working for the Donald Trump of deans who does not know what a content warning or a safe space is and has never been in a position to need one! Fuck those assholes.
U of Maryland-Baltimore County. This is an open-rank, German-adjacent job you will not get.
Nebraska. Dept. of English. Director of a Judaic studies program. Not even remotely adjacent to German studies, unless you go all the way back before the great Anglo-Saxon Vowel Shift (not a thing, I realize. Making a point.)
Williams. The same VAP position they advertise every year or two. It breaks my heart that their administration just makes them do this year after year after year. Obviously making a search committee and combing through 500 applications from desperate bastards is a great use of time and I’m sure they adore doing it over and over and over again. CLEARLY YOU HAVE THE ENROLLMENT, BILLIAMS. JUST APPROVE A TT HIRE ALREADY. JESUS FUCK.
Yale. Assistant Professor of German. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
All right, friends. I hear the dulcet tones of my kid returning from the park. This has been a truly great use of my very limited free time. I can’t wait to do it every week.