Sunday, September 25, 2011

why you should try to be interesting

Another link with an interesting take by Mark Lance:

If nothing else, worth reading it for the apt baseball analogy.

-- Second Suitor


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

"Say also that you are a really good philosopher, coming out of a 20th ranked department, neither the absolute star coming out of Rutgers, nor someone who really shouldn't have a job. That is, you are someone that the majority of departments would be happy to welcome as a colleague, but in that not really much different from 50 or so other folks on the market. And say there are 20 jobs that really fit your area and that you have a reasonable shot at. What is the default base-line? In this market, I think there is a perfectly good chance you will get zero interviews. And there is very little chance that you will get more than a couple."

Well fuck me.

Then again, I'm at the bottom of the Leiter rankings, and last year there were probably about 20 jobs that fit my area, and I got 5 first round interviews (no on-campus, no job). Maybe my file is promising, or maybe I just got lucky.

Anonymous said...

On the one hand, there are reasons I can't stand the "The Professor is In" entrepreknowitall. On the other hand, this had some seriously familiar points:

I loved my advisor, but on the whole, my grad program? Not so much with the interest in my job placement.

Anonymous said...

I mean, wrt the story I just sent, I don't agree with all of the following, but I don't disagree, either:
"The point of graduate school, for the actual graduate students themselves, is preparation for a career. A career like yours, with benefits and a retirement plan.

That kind of career derives far less from a thick wad of dissertation pages than from the quantity of one's publications, the impressiveness of one's grant record, the fame of one's reference-writers, and the clarity of one's ambition. I don't find it problematic to say any of that openly. But apparently you do. You reject it as "vulgar" and "careerist"—as if wanting to have health insurance is vulgar and wanting to not go on food stamps is careerist."

Wordy wordy word.

Anonymous said...

I know I am coming to this somewhat late, but I am a bit sceptical about Marc Lance's advice to be intersting and politically out there, so sceptical that I will be keeping this anonymous. His strategy would seem to work when the stance would alienate 5 of the 50 departments you are applying to. But if you take a stance that 40 of 50 departments would have at least one member who doesn't approve, then it is disadvantageous. Assume that you are a member of a group that people in the profession genuinely don't like (however much they must profess to be neutral about). Say you are an evangelical, anti-feminist, war veteran (if there are such philosophers). This is something that, if your name is recognized, will get _many_ people on committees to not give your CV a second look.

I don't see too many people saying "I remember this guy stood up for Ayn Rand in a brave and smart way, lets give him a second look."

Now given that people in many groups feel that many people really deep-down are prejudiced against their group (and I can say with varying degrees of certainty that blacks, Jews, women, LGBTQs, Republicans, Arabs, Veterans, Hispanics, evangelicals, think this), and everyone knowns that there are many kinds of prejudice out there, do we not have a case for keeping one's mouth shut and not being too public about how pro-anything-even-mildly-controversial you are?

Forget about a home run, there is a good chance that you will find that everyone in the game refuses to let you use their bat.