Rate My JIL: Would You Rather Edition

Yesterday my daughter turned 20 months old, and I wrote my (roughly) twentieth letter to her, ostensibly detailing her progress, but really detailing the full nervous collapse I suffered this week. Something about the combination of very little sleep, a frequently ornery toddler, and an ill-timed screaming fit in the middle of a grocery store caused me not just to teeter on the brink of madness, but to slip over the edge. And yet, still, I’d rather live yesterday on a Nietzschean eternal-recurrence loop for the rest of eternity than waste even ten minutes applying for any of the following jobs that I would never get, and you will also probably not get. (“I don’t have a PhD in German,” you say. Now you’re just splitting hairs.)

Lehigh. Assistant Professor of German. “An interdisciplinary approach to the teaching of language and culture is favored, as the successful candidate will be expected to contribute to the German language major as well as to the Global Studies program.” Have fun walking the super-awesome tightrope between showing how innovative your teaching is and mortally offending the china-delicate sensibilities of the person or personages who are going to immediately view your cutting-edge multiple-cultural-literacies ideas as a direct insult to their life’s work.

Middlebury. (Not Really An) Assistant Professor or Instructor of German. “Candidates should provide evidence of commitment to excellent teaching and scholarly potential.” Hear that? Candidates, make sure your research agenda is aggressive enough so that you will be a good case for the tenure this two-year job is not eligible for.

Princeton. Senior Lecturer. Hey, now that sad bastard at Columbia can have a friend! Meet at an apple orchard in the Hudson Valley for playdates.

Penn. Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities. This is not a German job.

Penn. Assistant Professor of Environmental Humanities. This. is. not. a. German. job.

KK. Speaking of “job,” I have several, and I need to use my pathetic sliver of non-child-caregiving time to do them. Byeeeeeee. (New JIL comes out tomorrow, so expect another sad little update over the weekend.)

Reminder: FORWARD ME your most annoying faculty list-servs!

5 thoughts on “Rate My JIL: Would You Rather Edition

  1. I have a kid at Lehigh, and I never knew much about the school before (even though I went to college/grad school less than 100 miles away). Knowing what I know now, I would consider that the plum job this year. (Except for the dynamic you describe.) Good luck to all 4,000 applicants for that position.


    • Yeah that will definitely be nice work if you can get it. But that job description is a fucking minefield and it’s best that candidates pretty much ignore it and just send in a general dossier and hope for the best.


  2. I had my own “the baby refuses to sleep, I’m so exhausted I’m about to crack” meltdown last night. In the midst of it, I started browsing through my news feed because that’s my coping mechanism, and I read your post. And it really helped to know that I wasn’t alone feeling this way. You are a fantastic mom, and your daughter is beautiful and amazing.

    And I detest the freaks who make faces when a baby cries in a public place. She’s a baby, she can’t control how she feels. They are adults, what’s their excuse?



  3. And as for the JIL, I keep thinking I must have pressed the wrong button whenever I see the Spanish JIL because, surely, it can’t be that bad. But yes, it’s that bad. It’s worse than even during the horrible recession years.


  4. Non-field specific jobs listed under specific fields seems to be the latest awful trend, or at least it feels that way looking at this year’s jobs. A year ago there was much well-justified sneering when Cornell was looking for a professor “in some area of the humanities or qualitative social sciences.” This year we have professors of “global studies” or “intercultural communication.” These jobs seem to spread the pain to both ends: it further raises the bar for applicants, while individual departments get strung along with the tantalizing hope that the tenure line will fall on them, even if they end up with a colleague who’s half-in, half-out of the department.


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