Lately, my conviction in this conclusion has been wavering. I mean, fuck, I would be a failure if something I've devoted at least 10 years of my life (including undergraduate) to philosophy, something I felt like I was good at, were to suddenly disappear and I was left with 250 pages and at least 2 years of work on a topic that, apparently, no one in all of the philosophical world cares about; right?
But, just as I was about to give into this thought, fellow Smoker Yousaidsomething points me towards this entry over at Bitch Ph.D. ringingly endorsing this article in the Chronicle by Thomas Benton on why no one should pursue a Ph.D. in the humanities. You should really read both posts, but, in case you don't have time, here's Benton's little gem on the topic of failure:
If you cannot find a tenure-track position, your university will no longer court you; it will pretend you do not exist and will act as if your unemployability is entirely your fault. It will make you feel ashamed, and you will probably just disappear, convinced it's right rather than that the game was rigged from the beginning.Nail. Head. Hit.
The moral: don't give in to the expectations that make us feel (wrongly) like failures if all doesn't go according to a plan others have constructed for us, start thinking about other things that might make you happy in case the very possible scenario of not getting a job happens, and heed Xenophon's timely advice:
Grad school has to be about the journey, because there's no guarantee that there will be a career, or even a first job, at the end of it. If you don't love the trip, it's not worth continuing on it.--STBJD