Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Number Crunching

Before I had a chance to get a post up about it, I saw some fellow Smokers in the comments over that-a-way engaging in some job market accounting. I need a quick break from syllabi planning, so I'll join:
588 applicants to the Open/Open job at Boise State. 588. That's 238 more than the number of applications to the Open/Open job at Coastal Carolina, which I already thought was sort of staggering.

That makes the over 750 applicants to Duke's Writing Program from across the Humanities actually seem quite small. Given that the MLA has predicted a 35% drop in the English job market last year (putting the decline at 51% over two years), you might think the applicant pool would be larger to these and similar positions.

Maybe us philosophers aren't applying en masse to the positions and that's keeping the numbers down. But, when there was only about 250-300 positions advertised in the JFP this year, including Humanities/Teaching Fellowships, we should be applying to anywhere that would consider giving us money.

You know, money we could use to recoup some of our ridiculous job market expenses. Really? $148 per night? And travel expenses? Say, on average $250. And, the amount spent on 46 apps sent (for me) via Interfolio on a conservative estimate of about $10 per app? Shit, son.
Right. Back to work. Happy Christmas Eve and see you in New York:

--Jaded Dissertator


Anonymous said...

I'm in a bit of a tight spot financially right now (a fellowship check I had counted on hasn't come in yet) and my dad (bless his heart) gave me a floater loan for the NYC visit. It was for $800, which is, IMO, cutting it a bit close. What with $650 for the APA hotel (which I'm splitting with a friend, but it's got to go on one of our cards and he's in an even tighter spot than I am), surface travel fare (on top of the $400+ ticket, since I'm coming from the West Coast), and food. Not to mention the beer I've got to buy at the Smokers, so that I don't give the impression I'm some tetotaler.

I can't afford to buy a proper suit and, since I'm a woman, I'm hoping that a pair of nice trousers, a nice white shirt, and a lovely sweater is good enough. Fuck it, I can't even afford to get a goddamned *haircut* prior to this. So I'm hoping that the institution that is interviewing me looks beyond my poverty-induced appearance and see the wit and brilliance beneath. Or at least the willingness to teach whatever, jump through hoops, and serve on all the undesirable committees, just so long as they'll pay me.

I'll stop whining now...I mean, I guess I should be glad I've got an interview and all. I just wish I didn't have to spend upwards of $1500 to actually, you know, go to it.

Anonymous said...

I just called the Marriott at the group reservation number: 800-843-4898. They have lots of rooms available for the conference, from Sunday night until Wednesday night. All at the regular room rate. It turns out there have been a tonne of cancellations. Someone may want to move this to the front page.

Anonymous said...

I hope that the whole idea of the conference interview is phased out. It seems like a vestige from another time. The downsides for both cash-strapped departments and candidates seem obvious...

I've only applied to 15 jobs this year. The longer odds brought on by the economic crisis -- along the disappearance of positions with my AOS -- don't seem to warrant an extensive job search this year (or, one imagines, next year).

Like a lot of people, I'm hoping to get some more publications out, hoping that I'll be competitive when the economy rebounds. Someday.

I'm also wondering if I should pick up an AOC in something like, say, the philosophy of hotel management.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with being a teetotaler?

I mean, have a look at

Abe Lincoln is on there, just to name one.

Anonymous said...

On drinking at the smoker- one of the best philosophers I know had one of the better ideas I've seen last year and brought his own wine. At least last year no one looked in bags or the like, so why not just bring in your own? It will be cheaper and almost certainly better.

729 said...

Anon 8:31

I will be at the APA, and although I am not a professional hairstylist and cannot cut hair, what I am really good with is products and hairstyling. If you want a blow-out, you got it. (I also have hot rollers, so if you want curls, that's also possible). A good blow-out done right will last a couple of days. It is also nice to be fussed over and I promise to say encouraging things. Send me an email:

Anonymous said...

Odd that you mentioned the number applying to the Boise State job, it is staggering. It must have something to do with it being open/open right? And I'm in no way implying anything negative about the department, university, city or state (it's a lovely place, I grew up in Boise). I'm just curious about the number of applicants. I realize the football team has given the school some kind of recognition, but I just can't make sense of it.

Anonymous said...

To appreciate the broader context for the utter stupidity of flying to NYC during the holidays for interviewing, check this out:

BunnyHugger said...

I really don't like thinking about how much I have spent on sending out applications through Interfolio. And this in a winter where I had all kinds of unexpected house-related expenses that have driven me further into debt. I need some egg nog.

Anonymous said...


I'm not religious, but if there's anything like a true spirit of the holiday, you exhibited it. I don't smile much reading TPS, but thanks for that one.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9: 58 said "I'm also wondering if I should pick up an AOC in something like, say, the philosophy of hotel management."
From personal experience, I'd say just go for it. My AOC is in hotel management too! Thus far I landed four interviews at the APA and will be staying for free at the Marriott!!!

729 said...

Hi Anon 3:11 *Aw..shucks...* It's no biggie, truly. I will be there with products in tow anyway.

I also have four women's suits that I can lend out for interviews. (Sorry guys!) These suits are small sized--sizes 2 - 4. They are cool suits. Not seriously expensive ones, but cool-professional sorts. Each one of these suits happens to be a lucky suit. I can't make any guarantees about the luck, but any of the women candidates needing a suit can borrow one and look pretty great. All you would need to have is a very good quality black tee-shirt to go with any of the suits. It should be long--not cut off too close to the waist. A very nice piece of jewelry or earnings (silver) would work as accessories. I will be driving to the APA and will have the suits in my car. Email me if you want to borrow one (

Polacrilex said...

"'I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!' I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell - 'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad!... You've got to say, 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it..." -from Network

Regardless of any return of the economy, most of us on the market will not get tenure-track jobs within the next few years. There will be no magical lines opening. Even states that were in the black last year are now forced to cut their university budgets next year (e.g. Indiana). Given the financial costs of sending applications, going to the Eastern (and possibly the Central) APA, plus the emotional cost of the market, I left with the question, "Is it worth it? Is this type of gambling against such horrendous odds actually worth it?" This process has nothing to do with the love of wisdom. It has everything to do with numbers. The numbers don't seem as though they will get any better any time soon. The numbers suck.

Anonymous said...


"I just called the Marriott at the group reservation number: 800-843-4898. They have lots of rooms available for the conference, from Sunday night until Wednesday night. All at the regular room rate. It turns out there have been a tonne of cancellations."

I called it in a comment in an earlier post.

CTS said...

To All:

I will not be there this year, as our search was pre-canceled. But, I wish you all the best.

Keep in mind: you are smart, educated, dedicated people. I believe in natural justice, however slow it may be.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what's slower, natural justice or the gradual decline of a life spent chasing something so unattainable (followed by the slow decomposition of that talented, promising corpse).

Pre-canceled? What a coincidence, I've been pre-denied any interviews and am now pre-unemployed and truly pre-fucked.

CTS said...

Anon Dec 27:

If you are still around on this thread: Sorry I did not see your reply and much more sorry for your predicament.

I wish I had something helpful or even particularly insightful to say about this mess. I don't. I do want you to know that your colleagues who are employed/tenured are unhappy and concerned and just plain ... terrified by the job situation.