Saturday, December 15, 2012

Open Thread

There has been a request for an open thread in which to brag and bitch about the market, gossip about jobs, complain about the profession, ask questions, etc. Good idea. So let it be written; so let it be done. --Mr. Zero

257 comments:

1 – 200 of 257   Newer›   Newest»
William James said...

In the way of bitching, how about the questions that are not actually questions but quizzes? I once had "Tell us how you would teach either Anselm's ontological argument or the Pillars of Islam." This was clearly aimed at seeing whether I knew either of these, rather than being a question about pedagogy. (Much of the interview was taking this tone.) Maybe this sort of question is not in any way out of bounds, but it's irritating nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

Not intended as a jerky comment: maybe there was just some presupposition that you would be familiar with those things, and the question was actually a genuine teaching question? I think a lot of times departments tend to think that the common knowledge in their dept. is common knowledge everywhere. So maybe if those are the sorts of things these people all teach in all their classes, etc., they just assume that others have familiarity with them? (I come from a department where I am nearly certain that every single grad student and faculty member could tell you a fair bit about the ontological argument, and I can see someone asking that in a question that really wasn't designed to test knowledge but rather to be a good way to get someone to talk about something really specific, to get away from the general "how would you teach an intro class?" etc. questions, which aren't all that informative.

Anonymous said...

Any news about the Temple job?

Anonymous said...

I hate hate HATE online HR forms that make you input EVERYTHING. Why do they care when I graduated from high school? Why do they want to know how much I want to be paid? Why do they care about the specific duties for each job I've ever had or how much my starting and ending salaries were? Why do they care whether I was paid monthly or bi-monthly? Seriously...WTF?

Anonymous said...

Two things about the profession that have increasingly started to bother me are this.

First, it is really starting to bother me more than it used to that I am part of a profession that is little understood and little respected by those outside of it and the American culture at large.

Second, I am frustrated with the lack of upward job mobility and opportuntities for career advancement in this profession. I was able to secure a TT position at a very small liberal arts school, and, while I am happy to have a stable job, I feel stuck and like there are no options for ever advancing career wise given the very bad job market.

I am thinking of applying to law school and changing into the legal profession. I know the job market is tight there, but I still think it is better than academia, especially philosophy. Moreover, overall, the legal profession is respected more than philosophy is.

Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

@ ANON 5:25

Yeah, here's a thought:

How about you shut yer frickin yapper!!!! A lot of us would consider a stable TT job at a small liberal arts school to be the culmination of our life's ambition and dreams. How damned inconsiderate it is for you to come to this website, at this time of year,to bitch about how your SUCCESS doesn't satisfy you.

And by the way, "upward job mobility"? Really? Who are you, Gordon Gekko?

Remeber the words of Epicurus, "what's good is easy to get, what's terrible is easily to endure". So suck it up and enjoy your tenure.

Anonymous said...

5:25,

1. For that, we have only ourselves to blame. As a profession, we consider anything even brushing up against hoi polloi (in the form of publications for popular presses, publication in periodicals for the general population, etc.) to be beneath us, and then bitch when nobody outside our little circle cares about what we do. You don't like this? Fix it. Publish for the masses; publish in popular media outlets. Go to other departments at your college and seek opportunities to share what you do with other departments, other students, or the community at large. Or, more importantly, next time you're revising an article for some top-tier journal that will look great on your CV and never be read by anybody outside the profession, re-read your comment here.

2. There is a way to move "up." You publish your way into those more prestigious positions. You do enough top-quality work that you make enough of a name for yourself that schools contact *you* for jobs, asking you to apply to their "national search" for the endowed chair in esoterica. Of course, to do this, you have to ignore my advice in #1.

Anonymous said...

708

I'm an untenured applicant who believes people have a definite right to complain about their current jobs.

I know people who ended up with tt jobs where they are miserable. It's cruel, petty, and really unempehatic of you to believe that if you have a tt job then you automatically lose all rights to be unhappy. WTF is that?

A lot of things can affect your job, location, your fellow department members, your students, the political and social climate. Just having a job is definitely a good in someone's life but that doesn't mean that the job is all (or even most) things considered good. A single asshole faculty can make life a living hell, I know this because I've lived it. Get over yourself and let people vent. This is supposed to be a safe space.

Anonymous said...

Already with the requisite "I've got a TT job and I'm unhappy with it" and the "Hey, you've got a lot of nerve coming here to complain about your TT job!"

Anonymous said...

@Anon 9:46


7:08 here...

Sure people have a right to complain about their jobs. We all do from time to time. But on this blog? At this time of year? Fuck no. Like I said above it is damned inconsiderate to come here and bitch and moan about your success.If you want to complain about your TT job, do it offline, or do it on some other website, or at some other time of year. Don't be an insensitive douche bag.

Anonymous said...

I say this as someone currently very depressed about getting no interviews so far: just because someone has something I think I want doesn't mean they can't say they are unhappy with it. In fact, that's a good reminder to me not to put all my happiness eggs in one basket. We are all familiar with the data that show we are really bad at predicting what will make us happy, and getting the job we think we want is one of those things.

This is my first year on the job market. My question is: when do I say, okay, a TT job is not happening? Should I face the music now? I have zero interviews so far, and have applied to 40-some-odd jobs at every quality university.

It was always a long shot. I'm at a 30-range Leiter, one pub in a specialist journal, one co-authored pub book chapter. But I thought I might have an attractive combo of AOCs. I have a MA in another field.

My main problem is: I've got a family. I can't do a few one years and build up my pubs. Or I can, But I really don't want to move them from place to place. So this year was do or die, really.

If I'm not getting interviews for TTs now, do I still get stragglers next week?

Patty said...

For the person contemplating law school... I'm assuming you've defended -- if you're thinking about teaching law, then choose your school carefully. If you aren't thinking about teaching law, then you'll have to explain why you're changing paths -- you'd better have a good answer for that one. My (now) ex was ABD in poli sci and had 3 one-year jobs at a decent SLAC. That was the first question they asked him in many, many interviews.

Anonymous said...

This may not be the appropriate place to ask this, but I suppose it's as good as anywhere else:

I am finishing up my MA work and preparing to consider PhD programs in the next year, but recently I have begun to wonder whether my MA is a natural terminal point for my studies. Obviously I knew the state of the job market and the competitive nature of the field before I enrolled, but lately this knowledge has had more of a bite than before. If I take what I hear from my department at face value I should do fairly well in my PhD applications. But almost everything I hear from nearly every other corner is that, regardless of the program one comes out of, even garnering an interview is a struggle. Knowing this, and the opportunity costs of attending a PhD program for the next 7 or so years, what would be the honest advice from those who are on the job market? Those who have jobs or have had them for a while?

I love studying philosophy, and more often than not I enjoy being a graduate student. But many of the anecdotes here paint my likely future as living at or below the poverty line, delaying other big decisions (like having a family), and enduring tremendous stress in order to even have a shot at an interview. I do not like the idea of stepping away from what I love without seeing it to the end, but I am worried that doing so will likely result in walking away empty handed and trying to start on the private job market at 30+ with no savings and no viable connections.

I already know the advice that one should treat the PhD like its own goal and not even assume a job is waiting at the other end. But this seems like such backwards advice, given that much of the content of this blog and comments focuses on the hoops one must jump through in order to find a job. It sounds like much of the work that goes on toward the end of PhD studies amounts to tailoring oneself to the job market. What time is left, then, in a PhD program to enjoy learning philosophy? If that is my motivation should I get out now while I still have the energy to make decent inroads in some other profession? I feel like the time to make these momentous decisions is slipping away, and I do not want to miss out on a very fulfilling future for lack of guts, but nor do I want to chase a very unlikely dream whose path is paved with the remains of those who are equally as talented and passionate if not more so.

Anonymous said...

7:13

I'm with you sis/bro. First year out, pubs (in my case, 6), outside letters, no TT interviews yet. Seems like a number of schools still haven't contacted folks. Also, hold out hope for post-docs if you're applying to those. I've heard from several people that the TT market has gotten pretty sick, with so many people 2-5 years past their PhD applying out.

Anonymous said...

Surely it reflects the bad state of our profession when students can spend 7 or more years in graduate school and have no job prospects afterwards.

Moreover, not all TT positions are created equal and some can be at schools with a lack of prestige and with bad students in unattractive areas of the United States. Surely, for someone in such a TT position, after spending 7 or more years in graduate school, it is reasonable for them to wonder whether the professional opportunities they have attained are worth the work and effort they spent getting a PhD. It is hard for me to think of many other professions where you can spend 7 or more years in graduate school and have such a lack of professional opportunities afterwards.

For Anon 7:13, it is never to early to start forging out back-up plans outside of academia.

For Anon 8:29, I see little difference nowadays between trying to become a philosophy professor with a stable and secure income and trying to become a Hollywood movie star. The odds of each are about the same. Just don't do it.

Anonymous said...

8:29,

I would say that if you can get in a top ten program, you'll have a decent shot at success, given the other necessary factors (read, publications). If you can't secure a spot at one of those, my advice would be go to another field or try to use the MA to get a job. The deck is stacked against those not in pedigreed departments, and when the deck is stacked against you in this market, you have a fuck all chance of landing a TT job.

Anonymous said...

7:13:

You should not despair yet.

Lots of places have yet to call/email, and, as mentioned on other threads, you can get a call on the way to, or even after, the APA.

You could also get a call from a place that already posted on the wiki. I, for example, saw a school I am very excited about posted on the wiki in the middle of the week. I got bummed as the day drew to a close...then, several days later, I got an email asking for an interview. Who knows why?!?!

Also: do NOT try to generalize from the lack of response you have so far. The fact, for example, that you have no interviews at your "lowest" tier places, is no hard evidence that you will not get a call from one of your "top" tier places tomorrow (or whatever). There are numerous reasons to not get called, and they do not recur in schools of the same tier, or across tiers - they are often very specific to a department, year, and candidate.

If you knew whether you were making it into the final cuts rounds at these schools, you would be better placed to guess the coming odds. But, alas, candidates have no access to that information.

Anonymous said...

Candidates do have a way of getting a rough idea if departments have at least some interest in their dossiers. Make a webpage and install the software to track hits on the site. If you see a lot of hits from locations you applied, at least you know you are getting on their radar. This has actually allowed me to predict for the last three years who was calling and who might. If you get nada, then that might be a bad sign.

zombie said...

"This is my first year on the job market. My question is: when do I say, okay, a TT job is not happening? Should I face the music now? I have zero interviews so far, and have applied to 40-some-odd jobs at every quality university."


1) I think it is unrealistic, in the current job market, to think you will get a job in your first year. Unless you're a superstar. Or Rusty Jones. One reason for this: there is a steep learning curve when it comes to putting together an effective and attractive dossier. You'll get better at it in the next couple of years. If you keep publishing, your CV will et better too.
2) It is too early this year to throw in the towel. Interviews are still being scheduled. Non-APA interviews can happen any time.
3) 40 apps is not that many, IMO. I applied to more than 60 my third year on the market (2 years ago), and extended my geographical range to places that were acceptable, but not my ideal. I ended up with a job in one of those places, and I really, really like it here. And so does my family.
4) "every quality university." See #3. Do you want a TT job, or only a particular TT job? If the latter, you might want to throw in the towel.

Anonymous said...

"I've heard from several people that the TT market has gotten pretty sick, with so many people 2-5 years past their PhD applying out."

What happened to the mindset of the stale Ph.D.? And are we to infer from this that potentiality no longer trumps actuality? Not that there were any good justifications for either of these beliefs, but why are departments changing their prejudices now?

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:13 here. Thanks everyone. Appreciate the input. So: pretty much give up hope, but all is not totally lost.

I realized after I typed "every quality university" that it was misleading. I meant, universities of every quality. Including those that had no philosophy department, where I googled them to make sure they were actually accredited, etc. Geographically undesirable. I applied to every job I saw where I fit the AOS/AOC. I will take a TT job pretty much anywhere. If it has benefits, I'm there!

I know I can increase my chances if I do a one-year or two. Just very hard on the fam.

Anonymous said...

Some questions: if one is applying for jobs during one's tenure year, does this hurt one's chances of attaining a new position? Also, if one fails to achieve a new position but receives tenure at his/her current position, how does this affect subsequent applications for junior tenure-track jobs? (Assume that the applicant is willing to restart the tenure clock at a new institution.)

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have a rough idea of how many people go on the job market each year and how many people end up with absolutely nothing?

Churl's Monkey said...

I was on the market for five years (four of them post-dissertation defense) before landing a tt position in 2010. I sent out 300+ applications over those years. I had two full-time adjunct positions. I have a very patient wife (and no kids) who is now very happy with where we live. It was very difficult for us at times, but we think it was worth it. YMMV.

Anonymous said...

Rusty Jones did not get a job his first year on the market. Try, and then try again.

Anonymous said...

I too have a TT job I'm very unhappy with. I've been in this godforsaken s***hole for the past 4 years. I took the job, thinking that it would be a stepping stone to a better job in a better location. I did everything right. I published like crazy, tons of articles and a book during my time here. I applied for every job in my AOS/C that looked like it was in an even slightly better locale. No bites. I began to think that I might be overqualified. So I took some things off my CV when I applied to community colleges. Still no bites. Now I'm 2 years away from tenure at a place I don't want to end up. My wife hates it here. The school system is terrible. There's ethnic/racial hatred and crime everywhere. My colleagues are mostly former high school teachers. My only hope to escape this h***hole is to change careers. So word to the wise: if you think you'd just be happy having a TT job (with benefits) anywhere, think again. There are some places that are just not suited for educated people to live. There are some higher ed institutions that resemble high schools. Try not to make my mistake.

Anonymous said...

10:18's response is spot on: do NOT use past rejections to predict how the future will go. This year I failed even to get interviews from a number of PhD-granding departments despite excellent pedigree, outside letters, and multiple pubs in top-10 journals, and then just as I was about to despair, I got a call for a campus visit at a program better than the ones that won't be interviewing me. Also, there is lots of room for departments to call early in the coming week.

Anonymous said...

I'm a full prof who has been on a lot of SCs. I'd guess that this is the week for interviews. All the way through the week til Friday at 6pm. This is because a lot of places are just finishing up classes and end-of-semester work now, and so only now do they have time to decide on the final interview list. Don't despair until after 6pm on Friday. And you might even get something later than that--although at that point it is unlikely.

Anonymous said...

I also hate my tenure track job at a SLAC. To begin with, it's not even in a city I would have chosen to work in if the world conformed to my every desire. Furthermore, Having to teach a 2/3 load is total a nightmare. I never know what to do with my summers now that I don't spend them frantically looking for short-term drywalling/roofing/restaurant jobs. Going to the doctor and dentist for regular checkups is a bitch. Having to deal with disinterested and grade grubbing students is so much harder now that I have an office on campus and they know where to find me. And the committee work, fuck, I mean who wants to have an opinion in their department/institution that actually carries even a little weight, it was so much better as a grad student when no payed me any mind or wanted me to have any responsibility. And not for nothing, has anyone seen what cars and house payments are like these days? I really preferred renting and walking. Who needs the strain.

Anonymous said...

If you don't have any interviews arranged, is it really worth going to the APA?

Anonymous said...

Stream of consciousness works better in a single-author narrative like Ulysses; not so much with the interregnum of blog posts. 5:28 is a breath of fresh air. I hated my first TT job--and am in it for my 32nd year. And now I know how lucky I was.

Anonymous said...

5:30,

You're better off taking an LSAT prep course. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I arrived at my new job as a TT assistant professor, ready to do the best job possible. The location was good. But my chair had it out for me. He gave me the worst possible schedule and bad-mouthed me to all the best students. I was getting top rate teaching evaluations in my previous post, but in my new post they were terrible. I was warned about a half dozen times that I was not meeting expectations. I asked for feedback so that I could improve and got none. I went to the ombudsman and got little help. My life was made so miserable that I applied for a customer service supervisor job, got it and left. I later found out that the chair had a hate-on for me because he was outvoted on the hiring committee. He wanted to hire his buddy's former grad student. After I resigned, a search was conducted and the chair's favorite was hired. I still cannot believe I wasted so much of my life in grad school to end up in a job I could have secured with a BA. But at least I'm not being harassed by my boss.

Anonymous said...

I have a question about outside letters. I'm currently in my fourth year and am being encouraged by my supervisor to try out the market for the first time next year. But I have no outside letters yet, and I'm starting to feel that this is a problem. So my question is: when is it appropriate to ask a philosopher from outside one's department for a letter? For example, suppose one has presented at a fairly prestigious conference and some fairly fancy philosophers were in attendance, and seemed to like your talk (offered feedback, discussion after the fact, etc.) And suppose you've had no contact with said fancy philosophers since, but have since fixed up the paper quite a bit (and in light of the comments received). Would it be inappropriate to email out of the blue and ask for them to take a look at the reworked paper? Supposing new feedback was positive, would be it then be inappropriate to start asking about recommendations? This seems like the most natural trajectory to me, but I'm wondering if those with outside letters would mind sharing details on theirs. Much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Ok, after three years on the market I decided to call it quits and look for a non-academic job. Have been looking for a non-academic job almost anywhere in the country--nothing yet. I Have been at it for a year. Met up with a career coach, applied for different kids of jobs--two interviews, no job offers. I'm in my mid-30s and terribly depressed, not to mention poor. Being a permanent adjunct instructor is a miserable prospect. In the spirit of bitching: the philosophy PhD was a colossal mistake. I wonder how many years it would take me to get back on my feet and recover some self-respect.

Anonymous said...

@8:29AM:

Ask yourself: is there anything else I could love doing that I would have a better chance of success of being able to do? If so, go for that instead. However, if there isn't, then you have to weigh the costs of being on the phil job market against the misery you would have to endure for the rest of your life. I still don't have a TT track job, though I have been lucky enough to secure full time one years since the PhD. Everything you said about how being on the job market is true. It's miserable in all of those ways. But still, I get to do what I love, and personally, I would rather have the problems that go along with that than be in a career that I hate for the rest of my life.

Anonymous said...

I was once asked by an interdisciplinary hiring committee what instrument I would be if I were in an orchestra and why. Still, I would have loved to have been given the job, but alas.

Jeff Wisdom said...

Anonymous (12/13, 7:13am) wrote:

"This is my first year on the job market. My question is: when do I say, okay, a TT job is not happening? Should I face the music now? I have zero interviews so far, and have applied to 40-some-odd jobs at every quality university."

No need to give up hope. I didn't have any APA interviews either when I was on the market. However, after the new year I received four phone calls, which netted me three fly-outs and, eventually, two job offers. If I recall correctly, one of my dissertation advisors didn't get the phone call for his first job until late June! Every situation is different; you just never know. Hang in there!

William James said...

To Anon Dec 15, 12:22:

I take your point, but this is why I stipulated that much of the interview was taking this tone -- the interviewers seemed less interested in learning about me and more interested in challenging my credibility. It was weird.

To Anon Dec 16, 5:28:

Your lampooning of the miserable tenure-track SLACer is mostly fair, but such a person could only dream of a 2/3 load -- they'd more typically have a 4/4 or 5/5 and would be teaching in the summer either because they have to or because they need the salary because their salary and benefits (though admittedly better than when they were a grad student or adjunct) are still unremarkable.

I grant that people looking for tenure-track positions envy people in them, and I would advise those in tenure-track positions to be sensitive to the fact that complaining about it here will inspire resentment from those wanting tenure-track positions. But it is indeed possible to endure misery in either situation, as Anon Dec 16, 3:31 does a nice job of describing, and pretending that it's not and that only your particular misery is legitimately miserable is at least as insensitive and solipsistic as the complaining of tenure-track SLACers that you are resenting.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 8:37 PM

I got an outside letter this year. Here was the sum total of my relationship with the guy (quite well-known, but not Kripke): I had picked him up once at the airport and drove him to faculty member's house. Four years later, he heard me present a paper and seemed to like it, and afterwards we went out to a group lunch. While at the lunch, I pitched a paper idea to him which he said was plausible. That was the entire extent of my relationship with him. This semester I emailed him out of the blue the paper that he had said was plausible, asked if he'd read it, and if he liked it, would he mind writing a letter. He said yes, and yes. (And gave me helpful comments.)

Worth mentioning that he's pals with two people in my dept, so that might have something to do with it. But you don't need to be best friends with someone to get an outside letter.

Anonymous said...

Ignoring much of the discussion(s) above: if this is your first year on the market (a) I don't think it's worth going to the E-APA if you don't have any interviews and (b) the job hunt is not over until April or May or even the summer. True, there will not be many TT jobs posted in the spring (except perhaps at some community colleges), but expect various fixed-term (one-year VAPs, etc.) and replacement positions to be advertised in the spring. My first job was a one-year VAP at a public SLAC. I had an on-campus interview in May and got the job offer a couple days after graduation. (Similarly, a friend of mine got a three-year job his first year out this past year in the late spring.) On the down side, this means that there's no relief from the stress of the job hunt until you have a job, but there will still be jobs to get in the spring. You just have to keep at it.

Anonymous said...

A tip for how to not "get stuck" at 5/5 (or whatever you would find to be undesirable) jobs: don't apply to them.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:37: That's exactly the right thing to do. Send them a nice, complimentary email stating that they saw your talk and seemed interested in the paper. Tell them you've worked on the paper a great deal, and ask if they would be willing to take a look at it. Be sure them that you would be very appreciative for their time and expertise. If they email you back after reading it and seem to really like the paper, that's the time to broach the topic of a recommendation. But be sure to have other good stuff that they could read, as in my experience people ordinarily want to read more than one piece by you before recommending you.

Anonymous said...

8:29AM here, @11:39PM:

I left an entry-level job shortly after being offered a promotion in order to pursue my grad program. It was in an industry I'm not interested in and I only took the job to pay the bills while I applied. When I spoke with my advisor about the hum-drum life I envisioned had I stayed, he commiserated that a mundane life like that is unsatisfying to philosophically-minded individuals. People like us belong in academia.

I certainly felt that way when I worked in that office. But now, having experienced much of my grad program and taken a fresh look at the challenges that are ahead of me, I wonder if those attitudes aren't overly simplistic. Few people add meaning to their life with an entry-level office job. But does that mean every job outside of academia is tantamount to a life sentence of misery?

Many people I have spoken with, and some on this blog, express the sentiment that this is the only life available to them. There are no plan-Bs, not just for a perceived lack of interest in an external job market, but seemingly for the feeling that professional philosophy is the only place they belong. I know this feeling well. But I think it is entirely possible to pursue the life of the mind outside of academia, and it appears this is increasingly the best option for many of us. Whether we belong elsewhere or not, whether we deserve a job or not, those opportunities just do not seem to exist for many of us. I hate that I must decide between what seems like the most reasonable course of action and what has been a longtime dream of mine. But I also hate the prospect of waking up one day, poverty stricken and in my mid thirties, with no meaningful relationships, hundreds if not thousands of miles from my family and the revolving door of friends that seems part and parcel to academic life, and few if any job opportunities. I do not want to give up what I have for the hope of something I will likely never get. But again...needing to weigh one's dreams against prudence is a terrible feeling.

Anonymous said...

12/13, 7:13am: Given the baseline probabilities, it seems unwise to give up after one year.
Carolyn Dicey-Jennings posted some interesting stats last year on this blog and on prophilosophy about the chances of landing a position when you go on the market. To recall one of her main conclusions "The overall prospects are at around 24% chance of getting any job, 17% chance of getting any tenure-track job." The probability for people from ranked departments is far higher (over 40%).
So if you are not from a ranked department, it's unrealistic to think you will get a job your first year out.



Anonymous said...

If a department invites you to campus and tells you they will reimburse your flights, how much is it OK to spend? Flights are insanely expensive right now...

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:10 AM - 7:13 here. I am in a ranked department, but ranked 30-ish on Leiter. Which is beginning to feel unranked! I thought I had a low shot, but a shot.

The Dicey-Jennings data were terrifying - I am uncertain that 7/8 of applicants applied to Barnard.

If it didn't mean uprooting my family, there's no question I would happily go that route. You're right, it would take my prospects from unrealistic into vaguely possible.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 8:30

The problem with plan B is that, unless you have a degree in STEM, medicine, law, or business to wed your PhD to, or the money to get suchsuch a degree after you leave the PhD program, then you will simply have no marketable non-academic skills. There will literally be no job you'll be qualified for. And no one will be interested in hiring you for your supposed general "critical thinking/research/writing skills. THat's the job market. Many of us would like to do something else, but we are compelled to fruitless searching for academic jobs, because there is literally nothing else.

Phrenologist said...

As someone who is on an SC for the first time, I'm interested in the outside letters question. I read a number of them and I would say for the most part that they carried little to no weight for me. Perhaps other people feel differently? They don't tend to give very much helpful information and they certainly didn't seem to help me to rank one application more highly than another.
FWIW, I had two letters from people who weren't on my committee when I was on the market (not very long ago). One of them was from someone with whom I had worked closely for a significant period of time. The other was from the external examiner on my dissertation. I don't know how much that letter helped me.

Anonymous said...

After reading these sob stories, I'm canceling my APA-E interviews and will start studying for the GMAT and LSAT. I mean, what's the point of staying the course if your chances of finding suitable employment are so low. If I join a profession like law or business, I can at least change jobs if I don't like my current employer. Such mobility is almost impossible in the philosophy academic job market. Even if I get the holy grail TT position, I might find it intolerable because of location, bad colleagues, unreasonable chair, and then what? I'm stuck, unless I do what I should have done in the first place: start on another career path. I'm a realist, not a dreamer. I'm quitting this bs!

Anonymous said...

8:29AM/8:30AM here, @10:25AM:

The opportunity cost of the PhD is one of the reasons I am contemplating leaving professional philosophy. It also sounds like, from what I hear others saying, having a PhD actually puts one in a worse position than just an MA or BA in Philosophy in terms of a job search outside of academia.

I may have been especially lucky, or perhaps the industry I went into is just generally a place many people avoid working, but I was hired for my original position the same day as my interview, and it was the first job I interviewed for out of undergrad. They told me explicitly that the tipping point was my writing experience. To paraphrase another poster on Smoker, one anecdote does not an argument make, but it still gives me the impression that intelligent, hard-working individuals are always sought after. Again, I may be delusional and doe-eyed as to the realities of the economy, but my experience was that the job situation for academics is not quite that dire.

Again, it does seem like Plan B for a twenty-something with an MA is different than plan B for a thirty-something with a PhD, thus my desire to get myself sorted and decide on my future!

zombie said...

9:32 - most places will only reimburse you for an economy class ticket. I've never heard of any other restrictions. If you're concerned, you can ask the department, or you could ask them if they have a travel agent they use, whom you could also use to book your flight. (Apparently travel agents still exist!)

Anonymous said...

10:40,

I've served on 3 SCs. Outside letters mean nothing to me. But that said, most letters mean nothing to me, either. It's the rare letter I've read that provides anything remotely useful. Most letters I've read fall into the following categories:

Category 1: Empty praise
These letters wax poetic about how the applicant is the best student in the history of philosophy. The work that student produces is groundbreaking. Every department who does not hire this applicant is the worse off for his/her absence from the faculty. After having read over 100 such letters, I cannot take any of them seriously anymore. I've yet to meet an applicant who lives up to such a letter.

Category 2: Damning with faint praise
These letters do a pretty good job of letting me know that, if the applicant were in a police line-up, the letter writer *might* recognize him/her. These letters, like the above, are filled with empty rhetoric, just of a different kind. Also, they are often so filled with qualifying statements that I'm amazed the student asked this person to write a letter in the first place. In most cases, the applicant deserves far better. It's the rare applicant who is as lackluster as these letters would suggest.

Category 3: Self-praise
These letters are a riot. They are long-winded accounts of the letter writer's accomplishments, with some brief comment at the end regarding the applicant. Often, but not always, the gist of the letter is that the advisor is just so awesome, anyone studying with him/her must be awesome, too. This is not a very popular letter, but I have seen it multiple times.

Sure, there are exceptions, but they are few and far between. Honestly, I wish we'd stop asking for letters, because it's clear that far too many people don't put anything meaningful into them.

Oh, I forgot that *so many* letters come LATE. This is rarely, if ever, the applicant's fault. And it annoys me to no end that people agree to write letters, and then ignore that obligation for as long as possible. There should be some sort of punishment for faculty who string their students along with continued promises of letters, only to send them in days/weeks/a month late. If there's a hell, hopefully a little corner of it exists for such people.

Asstro said...

Just diving in here. I want to reiterate what 7:34 on Dec 15 says. "For that, we have only ourselves to blame." This is conceivably the most important truth spoken in this thread. We as a community need to stop this self-sabotaging trend immediately and grasp the opportunities that are available to us.

I am a nearly-tenured professor (fingers crossed this year) at a quite strong Leiter-ranked R1. I work in an area of ethics that overlaps strongly with other applied fields. I thus have close and regular contact with colleagues from across the university. I routinely encounter subtle, and sometimes not-so-subtle, pushback from colleagues in the philosophy community who seem to suggest that many applied subfields are not "philosophical" enough. I also routinely hear from the University higher-ups, as well as faculty in other departments, that there are needs for applied philosophy – bioethics, business ethics, RCR, applied ethics, philosophy of law, applied philosophy of science, applied philosophy of mind -- that they don't want to fill with their own faculty but that they must fill themselves because nobody from philosophy will do it for them. And yet, many philosophers thumb their noses at this work as not worthwhile.

This is ridiculous.

Every single one of you folks should be looking for opportunities at universities that are in these crossover slots. Philosophy faculty should be looking to acquire these course lines, looking to expand relationships into other departments, looking to train graduate students to take up these lines. Not doing so is leaving money on the table.

Look: I get it. Some branches of philosophy offer puzzles that are super esoteric and wicked fun. It'd be great if we all got endowed chairs at Oxford so that we could spend our whole lives working on these puzzles without the interruptions of our undergraduates. But we must eat. We must grow our dossiers. We must place ourselves and our students. We must continue to foster the field. This attitude about what is philosophical and what is not philosophical, what is pure and what is applied, has got to stop. We are partly if not mostly to blame for the isolation of philosophy.

The way current job seekers can do this is as 7:34 says: "Write your way up." Find opportunities and outlets in which your work is relevant. (Yes, even you M&E folks can do this.) If you make it to Oxford, more power to you. Meanwhile, take advantage of the few opportunities for employment that the University offers. The way faculty can do this is by stopping the divisive shenanigans. We need to focus now on growing the discipline, on growing the job opportunities. If one of our students can get a job, any job, at a university – a job that may well go to someone outside of philosophy – this is a win for philosophy. It clears the market backlog, it places one of our students, and it creates the research space for new directions in philosophy. This is how we fix the job problem, not by cutting back the number of grad students we admit into our programs.

Anonymous said...

I would think that public policy and IR thinktanks would be good places for educated philosophers to find employment. After all, don't those places look for people with an ability to reason their way through a dataset toward an all-things-considered conclusion, and are capable of communicating that conclusion to others? Having completed a dissertation, one will have learned how to master an issue and think critically about it, hopefully coming up with something interesting to say in moving the debate forward. Anyone with a modicum of social grace, having that skillset, ought to be able to find a venue for using it today. Whether you'll be satisfied depends upon your own expectations, of course.

Anonymous said...

New post idea:

Countries with colleges/universities that might hire philosophers and that have non-insane gun policies. I don't know much about this, outside of assuming that just about anywhere will be less insane than the US, and could probably just spend some time on Google, but would love to hear suggestions from the more worldly brothers and sisters who frequent this blog.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any dope about schools that are not interviewing at the APA, and that will likely not be contacting folks until after it?

My only dope: I, like some of you probably, heard from Fresno State today. It was an acknowledgement e-mail. So I doubt they'll be interviewing at the APA. Other jobs JUST closed, and those might not be interviewing at the APA either. Washington State and UC-Merced spring to mind.

Anyone know anything else?

Anonymous said...

A few places either said that they wouldn't be doing the APA in job ads or said in an acknowledgement e-mail that they wouldn't. Can't remember details now, but Georgia was one of the places in the latter camp.

Anonymous said...

Might add, just under half of the places I applied this year aren't showing up on the Wiki yet. (I would guess that about half of these aren't doing APA interviews, but that is pretty much just a guess.)

Are numbers similar for other people?

(As an aside, the link for telling the Wiki to stop telling me that I am checking it too often doesn't work for me. And I'm getting tired of the reminder that I'm not being productive. Way to salt my raw nerves, Phylo!)

Anonymous said...

The wiki can't be trusted. Last year I was contacted about 3 first-round interviews more than 2 weeks after they were posted. This year it's only happened once, but still...

zombie said...

I was a finalist a few years back for a Fresno job, and they did NOT do APA interviews. They did first round phone interviews. As I recall, mine was in February -- I was leaving the next day for an on-campus, so I remember it. That search ran on interminably -- they invited me for an on-campus in late March, but I withdrew b/c I had an offer in hand.

Fresno and the entire Cal State system is in serious financial crisis. This affects the way they run searches, so I doubt they'll be at APA. They may not do interviews for a while yet.

CTS said...

@December 17, 2012 12:39 PM:

This made me laugh out loud. After many years on many SCs, this captures my thoughts exactly. Two points to add:

1) That you have a letter from famous philosopher X means next to nothing if X has been tolling out glowing letters for everyone who studies his/her work.

2) If one of your letter writers thinks that a scrawled three sentence message on a piece of scrap paper is a good letter, ask someone else.

Anonymous said...

Here are some generally important points that have not been mentioned so far:

1. If you are among those contemplating going on to get the Ph.D in philosophy, you need to know that you can be extraordinarily good at it, do everything right, and still fail to even get a single interview in multiple years on the market. Hiring practices are horribly unjust and at best partially merit-based. If you do not get interviews, the psychological toll this will take on you is significant. I am shocked that new students continue to enter graduate programs, and I wonder what their undergraduate advisors told them.

There are increasing numbers of us with multiple pubs in good (even "top") journals and double-digit professional presentations, not to mention awards and stellar teaching evals, who are failing to even get interviews. Moreover, we are losing many of those interviews to people who have never published a paper or taught a course. I know of multiple examples of this just from my own personal experience.

2. This one has actually been mentioned, but it's so important that it warrants amplification. Our field, like academia as a whole, is corrupt. It does not encourage the pursuit of truth,a life of service, the sharing of knowledge with the non-academic community, or a life of self-examination. On the contrary, it fosters self-absorption, an imbalanced lifestyle, unhealthy competition, and a focus on superficial and unimportant puzzles. And it encourages sophistry, pure and simple.

The papers that get published in the "big" journals (obviously, with some exceptions) tend to focus on trivial puzzle-solving that is of interest to perhaps the 3 or 4 dozen people in the entire world. The measure of a publishable paper often seems to be whether the paper says something new--no matter how implausible or obviously false--or whether it comes up with some clever take on a philosophical puzzle. Cleverness is prized over genuine insight.

Even worse, the solving of these puzzles is typically regarded as more "serious" than issues with real practical import, such as those in bioethics and interdisciplinary topics. (A welcome and growing exception to this is the influx of moral psychology into debates in moral epistemology.)Finally, books intended to bring philosophy to a general audience are given little weight as publications.

I am increasingly coming to the conclusion that ACADEMIC philosophy is a sham and a disgrace.

Anonymous said...

Yes the wiki is not entirely reliable. Which brings me to another point, after what day is it unreasonable to expect that one will get calls or emails requesting interviews? My guess is Wednesday, but I'd love to hear other guesses, educated or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Asstro is absolutely right. And as far as I can tell, the only way to do anything productive about it is to stop caring what the gatekeepers in our field think. Asking junior faculty to make any sort of change won't work; failed tenure cases won't do any good. So it must be those who have tenure, those with secure jobs. We have to want to make changes.

We have to publish work that bleeds into other fields. We have to teach courses that appeal to non-majors (and we have to want to teach non-majors). Not everything we publish, or every course we teach. But enough to demonstrate that our field should be of interest and use to others.

And we have to do a better job on hiring committees, tenure/promotion committees, and article reviews. We have to want to value such work. We have to stop punishing people who want to do such work.

Anonymous said...

Here here...7:59. Finally someone speaks the truth!

Anonymous said...

To those who think of those of us who spend our time dinking around with abstract theories as wasting it: What the fuck do you think you are applying and where the fuck do you think whatever you are applying comes from?

YFNA

Anonymous said...

Yeah, 'puzzle-solving', that's the problem. And not enough applied ethics. That's corrupt. David Lewis stands convicted of corrupting the youth of America.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious too, because I want to buy my damn tickets already!

Anonymous said...

Given the way the calendar falls this year, if you haven't heard by Monday the 24th, I'd say it is safe to say you are not getting an *APA* interview. (As many have pointed out, there seems to be a real push this year to do more skype and phone interviews for the first round, so you can probably still hold out hope for those - probably up until the end of the first week of January I'd say.) Search committees probably won't work on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. If they are still working, they will probably finalize things this coming weekend. So, again, I'd put the cut-off point for hope at Monday the 24th.

Anonymous said...

Changing the topic a little bit away from APA interviews, does anyone have any advice on job talk preparation? Specifically, I'm guessing it's not great to get an invite to do a job talk and to present the same material you submitted as your writing sample(s). The down side of this, especially if you submitted more than one sample, is that other work you have may be less well-developed. Thoughts? Advice?

Anonymous said...

7:59 is spot on.

Anonymous said...

To 4:16

You may have noticed that I deliberately did not use the terms 'apply' or 'applied', since that suggests a top-down model of philosophy that I explicitly reject, and have argued against in print.

More importantly, I didn't say that all theoretical debates in philosophy are useless. I gave an example of one that I think is fruitful: the use of moral psychology to inform and enrich the literature on moral epistemology.

To 4:28

I would respond with an argument if you had actually produced one. The best I can get out of your response is a distortion of my position, without any associated criticism.

7:59

Anonymous said...

Let's start another thread on the corruption that is philosophy academia. Talking about how undeserving grad students get TT jobs before they "earn" their degrees because of wink-wink, nudge-nudge arrangements between advisers and their friends at hiring institutions is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Revealing these things is like telling a member of the Italian Anti-defamation League that the mafia exists. (Did anyone see that episode of All in the Family when Archie blames a local mugging on the mafia?) You get one response: Complete denial.

Anonymous said...

I'm having a hard time believing that Aquinas College has already scheduled interviews, given that their deadline was YESTERDAY.

Anonymous said...

To 6:25: In general you should present your best, most interesting work, even if you sent it as your writing sample. It might be noticed and commented on in a discussion of your candidacy, but the impact of that would generally pale in comparison to the impact of a stronger talk. Whatever paper makes for the best talk--give it.

You can also offer up another paper or two for the department to review.

Anonymous said...

WTF? Western Kentucky was listed as having first-round interviews for, like, 5 minutes, then it changed back to past application due date...

Anonymous said...

"In general you should present your best, most interesting work, even if you sent it as your writing sample."

I think that this is, in general, bad advice. If you have something else that you could present that you think is in the ballpark of your writing sample in terms of quality/interest, and fits with what the department is looking for, present it -- even if it is not what you consider to be your best and most interesting work. If you present the same thing, some department members are likely to worry that you are a one-trick pony. This might be mitigated, as 9:03 suggests, by sending other writing samples. But, then, if you have other work that you think would reflect well on you, you have other work that should make for a good job talk. But maybe I am off-base on this....

Fielding Mellish said...

7:59 is wrong; it's not a sham and a disgrace. It's a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham.

Anonymous said...

I would respond with an argument if you had actually produced one.
You made a sweeping claim about "our field", utterly unsubstantiated and puerile. Instead of argument or evidence, you supplied name-calling.
You don't deserve an argument in reply. You deserve to be ridiculed.

I strongly advise you to get out of the field you are in the process of concluding is a sham and a disgrace. I'm sure you won't miss it, and even more sure it won't miss you. Hurry! There is still time to do something meaningful with your life, but you must get started immediately!

Anonymous said...

As for the writing sample and job talk: choose 2 different pieces, so as to demonstrate breadth and productivity.
In my last (what turned out to be successful) TT job interview I sent a fairly technical, published paper on a topic right in the ballpark of the AOS of the job. I had papers in better journals than that one, but this paper matched the AOS best.
For the presentation during the on campus, at which the faculty and graduate students were present, I took a paper that was unpublished, on an accessible, fun and interesting topic. It was a lot less technical than the writing sample. The advantage was that the faculty and students who were outside of my AOS could get into the paper easily (without having to read it in advance), which made it possible for most of the audience to enter in the discussion.
My choice of that paper also had another advantage: even if I hadn't landed the job, it's a good opportunity to present a paper that's finished but not submitted to a journal yet, and receive a lot of helpful feedback.

Anonymous said...

"Western Kentucky was listed as having first-round interviews for, like, 5 minutes, then it changed back to past application due date..."

They just sent out an email saying they would NOT be interviewing at the APA and that they would be in touch in Jan. or Feb. Someone either misread the email or messed up the form about what changes had occurred.

Anonymous said...

Everything Ulrich Meyer says in this thread

http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2012/12/the-job-market-and-the-stale-phd-issue-once-again.html?cid=6a00d8341c2e6353ef017d3eee1a9a970c#comment-6a00d8341c2e6353ef017d3eee1a9a970c

manifests some deep irrationality on the part of hiring committees.

putabirdonit said...

@7:59
How about this criticism then: your argument is shite.

You make two claims

1. “There are increasing numbers of us with multiple pubs in good (even "top") journals and double-digit professional presentations… who are failing to even get interviews.”

2. “The papers that get published in the "big" journals (obviously, with some exceptions) tend to focus on trivial puzzle-solving that is of interest to perhaps the 3 or 4 dozen people in the entire world.”

From which you conclude “ACADEMIC philosophy is a sham and a disgrace”

The evidence that someone “deserves” an interview, as presented in your first claim, is that the person has publications and has presented at conferences. But your second claim denies that being published is evidence of anything other than cleverness (and not “genuine insight”).

If your second claim is true then your first is false
If your first claim is true then your second is false (or, at least, to be seriously doubted)

Maybe people are not getting interviews because “an increasing number of us” suck at thinking clearly. You may be genuinely concerned for the well-being of those who are struggling to find a place in our profession but you sound like an asshole

Anonymous said...

I'm genuinely curious: Why the outrage and derision aimed at 7:59?

Professional philosophy and academia have been good to me. Good job, good location, good students, light teaching load, happy department, tenure. But of course I grasp that this was, by and large, sheer luck. I'm not about to make the mistake of ignoring the various ways in which our discipline is monumentally screwed up just because it didn't happen to crush my soul entirely.

In general, what 7:59 wrote seems, on the whole, to be a real concern. I don't advise my undergraduate students to apply to graduate school and attempt to give them a gentle but honest "heads up" regarding the costs and challenges of graduate school and a life in academia, even assuming that they are very very lucky and reasonably successful.

Nearly every aspect of professional philosophy, and academia in general, seems to be deeply flawed and inhumane.

There are wonderful aspects as well. (I happen to think that reading David Lewis is a pure joy, but of course this doesn't seem inconsistent with anything 7:59 wrote. I love teaching. I love reading Kant. I have some really lovely professional colleagues both within and without my particular institution.) Nevertheless, the job market -- along with the job training that comes before it and the tenure and professionalization process that follows -- is lousy with immoral, soul-crushing defects. Is that really not so obvious?

Anonymous said...

I am on a search committee this year for an attractive TT position at an R1 school. From the moderately large number of applications we received, roughly 15% made our short list and 5% made it to the interview stage.

1. Most of those on the short list had one or more publications.

2. All candidates chosen for interviews had at least one publication in a top 20 journal.

3. Less than 10% of the total pool were what I would call "unquestionably strong" candidates.

4. About 1% of the total pool were what I would call "superstar" candidates.

5. Roughly 80% of those selected to interview came from programs in the Leiter Top 30.



Anonymous said...

Should it really take 8+ days from a skype interview to find out if you are a finalist for a flyout in January? It shouldn't be that hard to decide which 3 (from 8) you like enough to fly out.

Apparently search committees have no memory of what it's like to be waiting around.

Anonymous said...


7:36 writes about how: "undeserving grad students get TT jobs before they "earn" their degrees because of wink-wink, nudge-nudge arrangements between advisers and their friends at hiring institutions."

This has the deceptive -- and implausible - implication that a department would knowingly waste a precious professorship on someone who they don't believe will add to the prestige of the faculty.

More likely is that they highly value -- maybe overvalue -- the recommendation of certain advisors. That may suck, often enough, but it's not quite corruption.

Anonymous said...

"You made a sweeping claim about "our field", utterly unsubstantiated and puerile. Instead of argument or evidence, you supplied name-calling."

I did not call anyone any names...not once. The comments I made about our field are based on years of experience in it and a lot of discussion with other people in our field. That is the only evidence available to me by which to register a judgment and offer advice to people considering joining the field. The purpose of this thread is an open discussion about just such things.

You may not like my comments and they may be unpleasant for you to hear, but that does not make them puerile and unworthy of response.

Anonymous said...

9:03 here again: Yes, if you've got two comparable papers, give one different from your writing sample.

My point was simply that if you think there is a noticeable difference between the talk you could give with your writing sample vs. another, I would go with the writing sample talk. It's not ideal, particularly in this market, but it's easier to make it clear that you've got other work (by, e.g., providing another paper or two) than it is to make up for a weak talk.

That is, of course, a rule of thumb. If your writing sample is highly technical and hard to motivate for a general philosophical audience, then give a different paper. If it's a small department and you know that almost everyone has already read your writing sample, then give another talk. Etc.

But I think the rule of thumb above is a good starting point from which to begin exercising judgment.

Anonymous said...

"Apparently search committees have no memory of what it's like to be waiting around."

Or maybe these kinds of decisions take time. Maybe you were the first to be so interviewed and, in order not to conduct a dozen interview on one day, they spread them out over 3 days. You know, to give them some time to reflect and take considered notes after each interview.

Then maybe they spent a day not meeting, so as to think about their rankings, after which they met for a day to compose their list of finalists.

Though I'm willing to bet that you are right, and that SCs no longer remember how things are for applicants. I bet they do it on purpose, just to make it harder on you. Personally. As a test.

Anonymous said...

I did not call anyone any names...not once.

You called the entire field “corrupt”! You called most of its practitioners sophists and said the work that most of them do “superficial and unimportant puzzles”. I imagine you think it took real courage and integrity to call everyone else names under the cover of anonymity (that’s what I particularly like about this thread, actually).

The comments I made about our field are based on years of experience in it and a lot of discussion with other people in our field. That is the only evidence available to me by which to register a judgment and offer advice to people considering joining the field. The purpose of this thread is an open discussion about just such things.

Ah, good. So I use the evidence of my own experience to register the open discussion judgment that you’re full of shit.


You may not like my comments and they may be unpleasant for you to hear, but that does not make them puerile and unworthy of response.

No, you're right, that’s not what makes them puerile. And they are quite worthy of response, as long as the response is ridicule.

Anonymous said...

@ 2:13 "5. Roughly 80% of those selected to interview came from programs in the Leiter Top 30."

Was this just how it shook out or was one of the criteria the place of the department in the Leiter list? I am on the market in a 40-ish department and am just curious.

Anonymous said...

2:13 Here. Just how it shook out. There were quite a few in the short list that came from Top 30-50 programs and a handful that came from programs outside the Leiter Top 50 altogether. None of us were particularly slavish to pedigree and a few at least initially were even disposed to avoid program overlap where possible.

Anonymous said...

2:13 PM, thank you very much for offering the summary of the short list and interview demographics for the position in your department. Other SC members wish to follow suit?

Anonymous said...

Aaaaagh. 7:21's response to 5:37 reminds me of all the things I despise about philosophy, especially the annoyingly childish and petty behavior by junior colleagues and grad students. Please, give it a rest.

Anonymous said...

I bet the person who keeps complaining about 7:59 works on mereology.

Anonymous said...

To 3:42:

From my somewhat recent experience on the market, 8 days is on the short end of standard wait times, so you should count yourself lucky.

And building off 7:12's response: I'm now on a search committee and so have the (mis?)fortune of still remembering what the other side was like (although I grant some committees appear to lack this). We're moving as quickly as we can but these things take time for all sorts of reasons: not only does the scheduling of interviews mean that they can stretch out over multiple days, but we also have to find times to meet as a committee to discuss candidates while completing the other aspects of our jobs and coordinating travel/research/conference schedules over the winter break. And, for many departments, there is a need to get HR approval of the list of candidates at each decision point. This also takes time, especially because these offices often do not maintain the same schedules we do during the holidays (e.g., some schools close many of their offices during the week between Christmas and New Years).

Anonymous said...

I don't think there's any reason to suspect (most) search committees of not understanding what it is like to wait around to hear back after an interview. Often the process they have to go through to get approval for their finalists involves deans, provosts, or other administrators. Not to mention, EVERYONE involved in this process is also dealing with the end of the semester. Anyone else here digging their way out from under a pile of grading? You can bet SC's are too. I know it's miserable, but if you are assuming that the SC you interviewed with is comprised of evil, inconsiderate assholes, then why do you care if you hear back? Doesn't sound like you want to work with them anyway.

Anonymous said...

"You called the entire field “corrupt”! You called most of its practitioners sophists and said the work that most of them do “superficial and unimportant puzzles”. I imagine you think it took real courage and integrity to call everyone else names under the cover of anonymity (that’s what I particularly like about this thread, actually)."

Apparently, you don't know what name calling is. You seem to hold the view that making any sort of criticism is tantamount to name calling.

Calling the entire field "corrupt" is not to call every person in the field corrupt--that would be the fallacy of division. And I did not say of any individual person that s/he is corrupt. I made some criticisms about how the field as a whole operates. That's a lot different than calling someone an asshole, which would be name-calling.

Saying that the field encourages sophistry is not the same thing as calling people sophists--not even close. And criticizing some debates in philosophy as being superficial and unimportant is, again, not calling anyone a name. It is advancing a criticism of those debates.

You might want to learn how to think about what you're going to say before you react with ill-thought-out tirades. ("You're full of shit." I'm sure that retort took a lot of careful thought.) You also might want to work on making some effort to actually try to understand the claims you're denigrating.

Russellian said...

9:37, I thought that exchange was entertaining, myself.

But the other part of your comment makes me sad. *My* junior colleagues aren't petty or childish at all. I don't have grad students, but when I was one I didn't find the other ones at all childish or petty. I am genuinely sorry (and sort of surprised) that you live in a childish and petty subculture.

Anonymous said...

I bet 10:32PM works on Merleau-Ponty.

Anonymous said...

Some numbers:

I applied to 59 jobs (TT and postdoc).

I have had 3 interviews so far (2 unsuccessful, 1 result pending).

I have 4 interviews coming up at the APA.

I have had 1 PFO.

18 jobs have been updated on the Phylo wiki that I have not heard from, and those that I have heard from went up on the wiki almost immediately (but not by me).

33 jobs are unaccounted for.

I would guess that many institutions have not yet contacted interviewees. (But, beware, I know of two attempts to contact me that were not successful because of my institution's faulty email server).

Anonymous said...

I gave up philosophy after seven years of trying to make a career of it because the nomadic life of a temporary lecturer didn't suit me anymore. I am in the process of changing careers to brewing and distilling with an eye to opening a brewpub or microbrewery one day. Apart from a lawyer and a couple of historians everyone else in the class has a scientific and technical background. I've just landed a job with a major international brewer because of my background in philosophy. They said they wanted someone with a fresh pair of eyes who would provide a different perspective. Until today, I've always been embarrassed at how ridiculously over qualified my PhD makes me for everything except an academic career.

Anonymous said...

Numbers:

34 jobs applied for (I don't apply for 4-4's since I would rather raise happy chickens and I don't apply for temporary jobs as I have a two year contract just renewed at my current institution)

0 interviews

15 left to go on the wiki

Anonymous said...

Saying that the field encourages sophistry is not the same thing as calling people sophists--not even close.

Oh, I didn't realize you meant that the field unsuccessfully encourages sophistry. That doesn't sound like a problem to me. Why is it a problem?

And criticizing some debates in philosophy as being superficial and unimportant is, again, not calling anyone a name. It is advancing a criticism of those debates.

It's the kind of criticism which, in the absence of argument or evidence, is calling names. It's just the same as the nitwits who label, without argument or evidence, Continental philosophy as obscurantist and muddle-headed.

("You're full of shit." I'm sure that retort took a lot of careful thought.)

Until you make any kind of argument or give any kind of evidence, it's all you deserve.

You also might want to work on making some effort to actually try to understand the claims you're denigrating.

I understand perfectly. You called a huge part of the profession 'corrupt'; you called the work of a whole lot of philosophers as sophistry, superficial, unimportant. And you give no evidence whatsoever. You deny that this is name-calling, but whatever label you prefer, it's puerile.


By the way, to the person who speculated that I work on mereology: no, but some of my best friends are ontologists. (And I can assure you that I don't do anything useful.)

Anonymous said...

@ 7:50--It sounds like you're having moderate success. Can you give us some general info about yourself, so that we can gauge what's working for you?

Anonymous said...

7:50, you're doing a WHOLE lot better than I.

Anonymous said...

thanks for those numbers. out of 24 applications i've heard from four schools. two interviews (one skype and one APA) and two PFOs. six of the remaining 20 schools to which i applied and from which i have heard nothing are not on the wiki.

has anyone heard anything from riverside?

Anonymous said...

@7:50

Are you gloating?! ;-)

Anonymous said...

First, yesterday Bridgewater State sends out an email saying that they aren't interviewing at the APA and not to be discouraged if an interview hasn't been set up by the time of the conference. Then, today first round interviews show up on the Wiki. Another person jumping the gun or did they just get super-efficient, contrary to their expectations?

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:50. Good Lord. You're doing great!

Would you mind sharing some stats?

Anonymous said...

Did Toronto just go from applications acknowledged straight to on-campus interviews scheduled? How does that happen?

Anonymous said...

Has anybody heard anything from Nevada-Reno? Just curious

Anonymous said...

@10:40... I was wondering the same thing.

Anonymous said...

Nevada-Reno requested writing samples thus far.

Anonymous said...

@11:28 - Some schools go straight to on-campus interviews. I would not be surprised if Toronto did the same.

@11:38 - They have contacted at least some candidates and asked for further materials.

Anonymous said...

Agree that 7:50 is doing great! Seems like an oddly high percentage unaccounted for.

I sent out 39 applications. Two interviews completed, two APA scheduled, two PFO's received, 16 positions not yet showing up on the wiki, approximately 62 hairs left on my head, and zero ounces left in my whiskey bottles.

Anonymous said...

More numbers:

I applied to 63 jobs (TT and postdoc).

I have had 2 interviews so far (results pending for both).

I have 3 interviews coming up at the APA and 2 scheduled after the APA.

I have had 1 PFO.

I am not from a Leiter-ranked program. This is my first time on the job market.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's my optimism/schadenfreude, but I've been wondering whether the same 30 or 40 people are getting almost ALL of the interviews. And if so, whether some of these departments that, five years ago, wouldn't have even been considered by pedigreed/highly published applicants, might find that once they've made offers, their first, second, third, and maybe even fourth choices have taken positions elsewhere. After all, if there is a pool of interview-getters that is smaller than the number of jobs, it's possible that some departments narrow their pool down to 15 or so for first-round interviews and then find that all 15 have taken jobs elsewhere. Several years ago, smaller departments were worried that the most impressive candidates would never take a job at the small department, and for that reason interviewed second and third tier candidates. I realize the market is what it is, but it seems to me that it's a buyer's market only if your top fifteen are as desperate as your second, third, or fourth set of fifteen.

Anonymous said...

The University of Nevada, Reno wrote to me yesterday asking for a brief writing sample. The department plans to arrange Skype interviews in January.

Anonymous said...

11:28:

UIC changed the same way a while back. I suppose they are just going straight to the chase?

I had a place do this with me a couple of years back when on the market, but I am surprised to see this happening too.

Could be a wiki updating error though?

Anonymous said...

1138, I got a request for a writing sample yesterday from Nevada-Reno if that means anything.

Anonymous said...

11:28, there are plenty of schools that don't do any kind of first-round interviews. They just go straight to on-campus.

Anonymous said...

A-a-n-n-d Bridgewater State disappears from the first round interviews! Read the emails carefully people!

Anonymous said...

How much difference do you all think it makes to spend another year at your degree-granting institution v. taking a one-year? Is it a drastic difference on the CV?

Anonymous said...

Nevada-Reno has asked select candidates for a writing sample. No APA interviews. Skype interviews in January.

Anonymous said...

@ 12:02

Can you give us some additional info? Pubs? Stellar letters? Unusual AOS? This is the only way we will learn what departments are looking for.

Anonymous said...

First year on the Market

Non-leiter ranked school.

1 solo Publication in one of the top 6 general philosophy journals (according to the latest Leiter poll).

3 overall publications

30 TT/VAP jobs applied for

0 PFOs
0 Skype Interviews
0 APA Interviews
0 acknowledgement of application
20 Schools show up on the wiki as having set first-round interiews.

Anonymous said...

Piling on the numbers:

Applied to ~70 jobs (TT, postdoc, and visiting)

0 Interviews.

Very depressed, but not terribly surprised.

My stats:

from a Leiter top 20 dept.
No pubs.

Anonymous said...

Applied to atleast 40 jobs, probably more.

- 5th year in a TT position at a less than desirable institution;
- 1 solo-authored book, 3 co-edited volumes(1 forthcoming in March), 1 solo-edited volume forthcoming next fall;
- just shy of a dozen articles in various Continental-friendly publications; about 10 book reviews

0 interviews

Last year: 3 interviews, 1 on-campus (runner-up)

Anonymous said...

When I skim comments on threads like this, my eyes want to read "pubs" as "pubes." And, to be honest, that makes the comments more entertaining. I imagine the kids on South Park arguing about who has the most pubes. "You don't have *any* pubes? I've got like five pubes!" "Five pubes? I've got like ten! And they're all in the *best* places." Then I imagine Mr. Mackey conducting interviews ("So, ummm, can you tell us about your pubes, m'kay?")...

And the lesson for search committees, of course, is that they should hire Cartman, because otherwise he might make them eat their parents.

Anonymous said...

My stats:

Leiter 30-ish

1 pub in journal in my AOS
1 co-authored pub

37 TT, post-docs, visiting
0 interviews
2 PFOs
15 positions on the wiki as scheduled interviews

May they bring someone holiday cheer!

Anonymous said...

12:02 here. Would me (or anyone else) revealing more information do other current or future job seekers any good? The causal connection between doing X or having X or being X and getting first-round interviews seems to me to be extremely specious. Some folks get lucky; some don't. And while much of the luck may be "earned," it seems a futile task to make generalizable claims about its origin.

Anonymous said...

Lower Leiter

75 or so TT, post-doc, visiting

No publications

1 APA interview
1 Skype interview

Anonymous said...

7:50 here. I have a decent publication and have had some good help with the application materials. I would advise everyone to have multiple people in the know (who have been on the market or on search committees) read their application materials. From what I know, 3 interviews is a lot (!), and I am pleased (although also terrified) that I have a number of them. This is a very discouraging time and I don't want to make anyone feel badly, because I do think that it is somewhat about luck and other factors outside of our control (social connections, etc.). But it is also about understanding what people want in the application materials, satisfying certain criteria (a good publication definitely helps), and being willing to fit into a job that you may not have dreamt you would want when you started your PhD. Those are things we could all improve, probably. But that you are not there yet is no indication of your worth as a philosopher, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I applied to 27 positions (all TT).

4 first-round interviews (1 APA, 3 Skype/phone).

14 updates on wiki.

9 unaccounted for.

I'm from a program that is not ranked on the Leiter report, but I do have a handful of publications.

Anonymous said...

My Stats:

Nearly five years since getting my Ph.D. at a mid to low Leiter program.

3 years as a VAP at a top private regional university
2 years as a permanent, non-TT professor
5 overall publications (1 in an "A" rated phil journal in my area, 2 chapters in books)
25 TT job applications sent out
4 interviews (2 I had last week, 1 at APA, and 1 after)

Anonymous said...

Upper Leiter
4 publications

Applied to ~40, TT

1 APA interview
1 Skype interview

~10-20 updated on wiki

Anonymous said...

My Stats:

Defended 2011.

Third time on market.

1 publication in respectable but not OMG AMAZING journal.

Ph.D. granting institution at very bottom of PGR, desperately hanging on for dear life.

Applied to 53 TT jobs this year.

1 APA interview, 1 phone interview, 1 giant bottle of Jameson.

Anonymous said...

So I see that the Colgate open search has interviews scheduled, but has anyone heard anything about the Ethics search?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what's going on w/ the UC-Riverside job?

Anonymous said...

Any update on the Temple search?

Anonymous said...

... 1 giant bottle of Jameson.

Rye whiskeys are making a comeback. The Rittenhouse 100 proof is excellent. George Dickel's new rye is getting good reviews too. Both are available for $20-25. Great price for some good whiskey.

Anonymous said...

So far I've landed zero conference interviews - which isn't the end of the world, lots to be hopeful for in Jan. I can deal with the suspense of not knowing, but I can also save a pretty decent amount of money by just skipping the APA. Big thanks to the hiring depts that sent a message to applicants letting them know that they won't interviewing in Atlanta (and also to those who said so up front). Tisk Tisk to the slow and silent types.

Anonymous said...

U Arkansas sent out an email this afternoon informing some that they are still in the running as the department narrows its list for both the TT and VAP positions in their department. Sounds like they hope to have (a total of) 15 finalists to interview via Skype by early January. The email stated that they received a total of 465 applications, and that the current pool is still "admittedly large."

Anonymous said...

Anything on Johns Hopkins and the M&E position at Wash U.-St. Louis?

Anonymous said...

"The email stated that they received a total of 465 applications, and that the current pool is still 'admittedly large.'"

Five years ago, half of those applicants would not have even considered living in Arkansas.

Anonymous said...

Wash U-St Louis scheduled campus interviews earlier this week.

Anonymous said...

"So far I've landed zero conference interviews - which isn't the end of the world, lots to be hopeful for in Jan."

I have gotten zero conference interviews as well, but I haven't been able to see any hope in January. Do you mind if I ask why you think the pattern won't continue after the APA?

Anonymous said...

what about Texas Tech (M&E), Tulane (Metaphysics, Language or Logic), UCLA and MIT (open)?

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else think the rejection email from Wisconsin Stevens Point was a bit dickish? I know we should appreciate schools even having the decency to send rejection emails, but I resented the implication that I wasn't qualified. Especially coming from a guy who went to an unranked school and whose representative publications are in such powerhouse journals as Environmental Philosophy and seminal volumes like "Hunting and Fishing Traditions in North America."

Anonymous said...

looks like riverside went up on the wiki today as having scheduled first round interviews.

Anonymous said...

I thought the Stevens Point letter was quite nice. It didn't imply that those of us who didn't make the cut are unqualified. What it said was that due to tremendous competition, the "task of screening the original list of applicants to identify those who are most highly qualified was difficult." In this market, telling someone that s/he isn't among the "most qualified" does not imply that s/he is unqualified.

Anonymous said...

"I resented the implication that I wasn't qualified. Especially coming from a guy who went to an unranked school and whose representative publications are in . . . powerhouse journals."

I agree. So many of these SC members are just plain under-qualified compared to us, the newest generation of academic philosophers to hit the market. Many of us, even if we do not have stellar pubs or Leiterific pedigree, have multiple grad degrees (Ph.D.s and Masters) and much more teaching experience at many more institutions. It's cruel irony that many of these SC members would not have a strong enough portfolio to be hired in today's ultra-competitive market. Any more SC members or chairs we can ridicule? I'm enjoying this.

Anonymous said...

Especially coming from a guy who went to an unranked school and whose representative publications are in such powerhouse journals as...

Wow. Now that is dickish.

Many of these letters are not drafted by the department, but are based on models provided by HR. There's really no reason to call out particular individuals like this.

I'm surprised the moderators of this blog let this through. It is in extremely bad taste.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone heard from Arizona State?

Anonymous said...

~35 TT applications

About half updated on the wiki (including 1 or 2 cancelled)

4 interviews scheduled so far: 3 APA, 1 Skype afterwards

1st year on market with PhD in hand (2nd year on market)

Non-Leiter Canadian department

6 publications, 3 in top 15 journals, including 1 in Phil Studies (though co-authored). All 6 are "top 25" or so.

Anonymous said...

"So many of these SC members are just plain under-qualified compared to us, the newest generation of academic philosophers to hit the market."

I agree. I also think that this makes our situation all the worse. As if it's not bad enough that we have to compete with so many highly qualified fellow philosophers, we also have to fight the hubris of fossils with inferiority complex...

But, here's the question that we, and more importantly people like Leiter, should ask: what happened that we found our field in this sad state? Did programs grant phd's to unworthy people? I don't think so, because if that were the case, there wouldn't be so many highly qualified new philosophers and SC's won't bitch about how difficult their job is!

Perhaps, the reason has something to do with the fact that there are too many of these fossils in our field still clinging with greed to their posts! While the more honorable thing would be to retire with their well-deserved pension and emeritus post.

Now, I shouldn't have to explain why this is right. But, I strongly believe that an academic should have the grace to open the playing field for young people when the time comes. After keeping a position for three or four decades and having secured their pension and emeritus post, it is extremely egotistical to linger while talented and hardworking young people are out of work! Come on! You got your chance, you used it well, and you deserved your pension. It's time to let the next generation of worthy people get their well-deserved share of the pie. Retire! You can still do active work, no one would stop you from doing philosophy or advise students in an emeritus position...

Anonymous said...

3:10, is this a joke?

Anonymous said...

"Retire! You can still do active work, no one would stop you from doing philosophy or advise students in an emeritus position..."

No one would stop me, but no one would pay me, either. And no, my pension is not enough to pay my bills. This is my job, not some hobby I keep to be some dickish fossil doing my best to keep you all unemployed.

Oh, and good luck to everyone who gets a job this year. Because next fall, you become the fossils you currently complain about.

Anonymous said...

UCLA have scheduled APA interviews, but this is not shown on the Wiki.

Anonymous said...

Lots of people do retire, and then, administrators fill in the gaps with adjuncts or VAP's instead of TT faculty. It's not clear that those positions will even be replaced. That scares the hell out of me, since there is at least one thing you can count on: philosophers will die eventually :) But if they eliminate those positions, then we're kinda fucked.

Anonymous said...

The sorry state of the job market cannot be explained by the hubris of underqualified "fossils" who are greedily holding on to their posts. Often when older folks retire their posts are not replaced with tenure track hires. Two adjuncts is cheaper than one tenured professor, and the former are more likely (out of fear) to provide the school's "customers" with what they paid for--good grades.

The philosophy job market went very sour starting in 2009-2010. Did it just happen to be the case that all these underqualified fossils who publish in crappy journals and have only one advanced degree decided, during this period, to hold on to their posts? No, budgets were slashed, endowments shriveled, because Wall Street institutions did exactly what they are built to do--maximize short-term gains at the expense of everything else. If you want to know why we are here bitching about the paucity of jobs, go ask your university president what the hell all those highly paid administrators are doing, and why the corporate speak is becoming more and more prevalent at academic institutions. Go ask your state legislators to justify the stupid cost-benefit analyses they apply to universities. Don't take your frustration out on academics who are just doing their jobs, even if it is true that on paper they don't look as impressive as you do. For my part, I can tell you that whatever success I've enjoyed in philosophy (which is very modest) is due in significant part to the mentorship and guidance of the sort of people being denigrated for their lack of stellar accomplishments. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has profited from the help of people who don't publish in top journals.

Anonymous said...

"So many of these SC members are just plain under-qualified compared to us, the newest generation of academic philosophers to hit the market."

I was hoping this was a funny, sarcastic post, written in the entitled voice many (but not all) of current undergraduates seem to share. But then it hit me: this might have been written by one of those poor souls, emerging from a Ph.D. program, as arrogant as before.

3:10am's follow up has me similarly worried.

Please, someone, tell me those posts were tongue in cheek.

Mr. Zero said...

I'm surprised the moderators of this blog let this through.

Yeah, I'm not at all confident that I did the right thing there. My apologies to whoever the Stevens Point guy is.

Anonymous said...

132 PM,

In the Texas Tech (M&E) job ad, they say that they will conduct Skype interviews in mid-January. So, it's plausible that they won't announce interviews until after the new year.

Anonymous said...

3:10 here.

It is not a joke, I meant every word. Of course, I understand that there are many reasons for the current horrible state of things. And I agree with the concerns of 6:56 and 6:59. University admins and legislators have definitely contributed to this mess, that goes without saying.

I also agree that perhaps it is not nice to tell people of a certain age to retire. But what about us?! We studied hard, worked hard, wrote dissertations, gave talks at conferences, published papers and we contributed to our field. And you expect us to say nothing while those fossils spend years not publishing a word yet teaching only two courses a semester. Is there no injustice in that?

Whatever you say or how angry you get, there is a BIG INJUSTICE in that! Are we supposed to just take this injustice and not protest? We can go ahead and say anything about university presidents, administrators, and state legislators, but we cannot say anything to those unproductive fossils who greedily occupy positions for decades while bright and hardworking young people have to take non-philosophy jobs which make them unhappy, hurt, and disheartened. Think again!

As long as this sorry situation ednures, I will keep saying that the fossils definitely contribute to this terrible mess along with university presidents, "administrators", and legislators... They certainly are not part of the solution! Especially, if they keep admitting new grads to their phd programs knowing full well that most of them will be highly educated but unemployed people. Now, that is not only greedy but malicious, too!

Yes, I am very frustrated and I have every right in the world to be frustrated! No matter how angry or hurt the fossils may be... Because the fossils are part of the reason for my frustration.

Anonymous said...

I was at 5:47 above with 0 interviews. Yesterday, I got the U of Arkansas email saying I'm still in the running and an APA interview. So...that's a nice turnaround!

This is my first year on the market. People warned me about the wiki. But it seems crazy unreliable. The APA interview I got yesterday was shown as having scheduled interviews almost two weeks ago. I mean, maybe I am a last minute addition because someone said no? But still.

I also have twice tried to update the wiki with some of the jobs I have applied to, and it will not accept them (one at Oxford, the other at St. Andrews - not that I expect to get them, but I like to know when I'm foldin' 'em). Once the job appeared briefly and then was taken down.

Anonymous said...

I think that 3:10/8:25 is clearly overstating things, but I hope that others see where the frustration is coming from.

It's true that many SC faculty would have an absolutely terrible time in today's market. Some of us on the market have CVs longer than those with tenure. Essentially, what's required to get a job now is almost enough to have obtained tenure 10 years ago. That *is* an injustice. Why? Because many of us aren't able to even land interviews (fwiw, I have 4 interviews so far and in the past 2 years, I've out-published most everyone who will be interviewing me has published in the past 5 years).

Is it the SC members' faults? No, OF COURSE NOT -- and that's why 3:10/8:25 is totally off the mark. Their diagnosis of the problem is mistaken, but the sense of injustice is accurate.

Anonymous said...

I suggest ya'all try to swallow that sense of injustice you feel and keep it bottled up deep down inside -- or just get over it. If you come across as thinking that you are better than the people interviewing you, well I doubt they'll be jumping up and down to hire you.

The thing is, publishing isn't the primary thing for most positions. And for those where it is, the criticism is less likely to hold. Rather, the committees for these jobs want a good colleague and teacher who they think will publish enough that tenure will likely be unproblematic. I have a number of colleagues who are "under-qualified" in terms of publications, but are nonetheless real assets to the department. Almost certainly more so than you would be.

Or don't. Really, that is probably for the best: Go into the interviews with a chip on you shoulder and proudly display it. That way we'll have an easy time crossing you off our list. (By the way, that "D" that will go next to your name in our notes stands for "douche.")

Anonymous said...

Look, I see why you are frustrated people!

But you can't prove much by pointing out how much more current candidates have published and presented. The fact is that people were not encouraged, let alone pressured, to publish as much in the past. So you cannot infer that people on the market today are better at philosophy than those in the past from the uptick in average "output".

A more reasonable argument would be that people on the market now will in fact contribute more to the profession and our collective knowledge if they are hired in place of current philosophers who will produce less if they stick around. But this rests on the assumption that the more productive "publish and presentation" people will produce more meaningful work or add more to the discussion and advance our understanding in more meaningful ways.

And there is, of course, large room to doubt those claims; a case needs to be made for accepting them.

Perhaps there is simply a lot more small fry stuff being published and presented and it will all be consigned to the dustbin of history. You might also worry that all this publishing is producing a lot of trivial noise that will impede the advancement of our collective understanding. Or that the pressure to publish has decreased the number of people introducing interesting new ideas that challenge the status quo, and that a lot of what gets published is just not that insightful or interesting. I am not saying these worries are sound, but I am saying you owe us an argument for your contentious claims.

Similarly, it is hard to see what argument there is for the claim of injustice if it relies on the assumption that people on the market today are better at philosophy or that their efforts when hired would be better for philosophy.

I am, by the way, just out of a Ph.D program and on the market myself. I just fear your use of the pejorative "dinosaurs" reflects unwarranted indignation. Frustration is warranted, sure. But indignation?

Anonymous said...

There are lots of people qualified to be university professors. There are not enough spots. Are you really suggesting that the "just" thing to do in this situation is for some people to give up their spots so that others can have a turn? This isn't a playground where we should share the swings.

I am under no obligation to make your securing a job easier. I am under no obligation to publish at a rate that passes your preferred threshold. My doing my job in a manner that both I and my employer find satisfactory is not wronging you.

You chose to go to grad school knowing that it would likely lead to this exact situation. You were an adult when you made this decision. Am I supposed to quit my job because you made a bad decision?

Anonymous said...

>>I also agree that perhaps it is not nice to tell people of a certain age to retire. But what about us?! We studied hard, worked hard, wrote dissertations, gave talks at conferences, published papers and we contributed to our field.

You sound like one of my undergrads crying about a low grade: "But I worked so hard!"

Working hard and writing a dissertation do not mean you deserve a job. Giving talks and publishing papers do not mean you are good.

Anonymous said...

3: 10 said:

"But what about us?! We studied hard, worked hard, wrote dissertations, gave talks at conferences, published papers and we contributed to our field"

Exactly none of that entitles you to a job. Imagine every grad did that, as most do. There STILL are not enough jobs. Imagine an enormous amount of senior academics retired, and the economy picked up. So then a lot of you would get jobs, but a couple of years down the line the same problem will arise.

The problem is simply the math of PhD's granted annually and jobs available. The economy, unretired philosophers, etc. are just side issues. Departments love having PhD students, massively overproduce them and then blame 'the economy' for the stunningly obvious disaster down the road.

And then agonise over relatively minor ethical issues, somehow ignoring being complicit in doing great harm to their own students.

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree. It is -- at least in part -- the fault of the old guard.

Of course, you can't be expected to stand against capitalism all by yourself, but the point is that the old guard made no effort to oppose the rabid administration of every aspect of academia, they did nothing to decrease graduate program sizes, and they ultimately -allowed- academia to get to where it is now.

Yes, market forces were at work and a host of other factors, but they played a part, too, by not speaking out, by not doing much of anything except maintaining their cushy bourgeois jobs, they were willing accomplices in where we find ourselves.

We didn't get to where we are overnight or even in the last ten years, these have been trends decades in the making, and hardly any of the old guard spoke out against it. Mostly because they just liked their cushy jobs.

This isn't about deadwood or not (different places have vastly different levels/requirements for productivity, and publishing isn't the be all end all...many of the people you think are deadwood are intimately involved in service or mentoring or competent teaching or all of the above)...this is rather about the fact that, for the most part, the old guard wasn't political or committed enough to try to curb the cesspool that academia has become.

And for that they ought to both be shamed and ashamed.

Anonymous said...

It is a wonder that 3:10 hasn't had more success on the market...

Anonymous said...

9:06's comment should be the last word in this topic. This being the blog it is, it won't be (and I'm to blame).

Still, here's a data point from last year's market: I added up the numbers Carolyn Dicey-Jennings compiled, and 40% of those getting TT or post-docs last year had 0 (zero) publications. What's more, pedigree did not explain this. While folks in the 'top-20' got way more jobs overall, the percentage of unpublished job-getters remained at roughly 40% for those in the 21-40 range, and for those outside the top 40.

I'm on the market for the first time. Several publications. 0 (zero) TT interviews thus far. One post-doc interview.

Anonymous said...

This profession stinks, philosophy itself is worthless, and everyone involved in it is corrupt and lazy! (But please oh please let me be a part of it).

you guys crack me up.

Anonymous said...

Stats-wise

3rd year on the market, 1st year post phd.

2 publications:

One at a good specialist journal and another in an anthology on a specific topic edited by a specialist journal.

0 tt interviews so far [though I have been asked for more materials]

Last year I had 6 interviews (4 tt) and 2 flyouts with only one publication.

Life is weird.

Anonymous said...

"the point is that the old guard made no effort to oppose the rabid administration of every aspect of academia, they did nothing to decrease graduate program sizes, and they ultimately -allowed- academia to get to where it is now."

I call bullshit. No effort? Are you fucking kidding me? In hundreds of universities across the country, faculty have been fighting the good fight, in any area we can: through faculty governance opportunities, in union meetings, in contentious arguments with administrators, state officials, etc. In many departments, faculty have asked for tenure-track lines and been given adjunct lines, or have been told to admit more graduate students to provide cheap labor if they won't hire adjuncts.

Did nothing? Bullshit. Losing a fight is not evidence of having thrown in the towel early. And it's insulting to hear some entitled little snot sit here and dismiss the hard work of many because he/she assumes anyone with a job is some self-interested lump.

Anonymous said...

"You sound like one of my undergrads crying about a low grade: "But I worked so hard!" Working hard and writing a dissertation do not mean you deserve a job. Giving talks and publishing papers do not mean you are good."

While I don't agree with 3:10's claim that the responsibility falls on the old guard to retire, I also don't think s/he was suggesting that just because current candidates "worked so hard" they are entitled to a job. The reason there is an injustice is that the standards for interviews (not just for hiring but for getting f'ing interviews!) rises higher each year, even as no one is in a position to say just how high they will continue to rise. So each year graduate students and VAPs continue to produce more and more good work (no reason to think that the pubs and presentations are not good) in the hopes that next year it will be enough, but then because everyone is doing it, the next year the amount of required good work required. And it rises because each person is seeking to improve his or her chances, the universities continue to cut or not replace TT positions, and SC members are presented with more and more attractive candidates. Everyone is seeking his or her own interests, which is going to continually worsen the conditions of the job market. Things won't turn around until there are more jobs available.

Anonymous said...

"You chose to go to grad school knowing that it would likely lead to this exact situation. You were an adult when you made this decision. Am I supposed to quit my job because you made a bad decision?"

WOW! I'm surprised that no one said anything about this puerile comment... I, for one, did not think it would be this bad when I started grad school. And, as I progressed, I was told by my advisors that the job market would pick up and that I should finish my degree. So, did I make a bad decision? Did my advisors willingly gave me lousy advice? Did you give such advice to your students? Or, did you tell them that coming to grad school was a bad idea and that they should leave? If not, then you, too, gave lousy advice to grad students. Now, telling recent phd's that they made a bad decision stinks of terrible indifference, you perhaps even take pleasure of the underemployment of well-published young philosophers. It's like you point a finger at them and laugh saying "the joke is on you!"

Shame, terrible shame!

Anonymous said...

"Working hard and writing a dissertation do not mean you deserve a job. Giving talks and publishing papers do not mean you are good."

WOW! The irony is just too delicious... Then, why do SC's keep counting pubs? By the way, you sound like a Colonel Blimp...

Anonymous said...

“...while bright and hardworking young people have to take non-philosophy jobs which make them unhappy, hurt, and disheartened.”

I think most of us our deceiving ourselves if we think that we simply can't be happy with a non-philosophy job outside the academy. I'm on the market and stressing too, but starting this spring I'll be investigating my non-academic options, and frankly, the idea has a lot of appeal.

Anonymous said...

"This profession stinks, philosophy itself is worthless, and everyone involved in it is corrupt and lazy! (But please oh please let me be a part of it).

you guys crack me up."

We want to be a part of it to make it better. Is it really that difficult to understand that? Or are you just a simple-minded douchebag? Because, if so, I really think you should not be a part of philosophy, which is too good a field for douches like you...

Anonymous said...

>>I, for one, did not think it would be this bad when I started grad school.

But I'm sure you knew the basic principles of supply and demand. And while things have turned for the worse recently, the job market has always been incredibly tough.

>>And, as I progressed, I was told by my advisors that the job market would pick up and that I should finish my degree. So, did I make a bad decision?

Probably. (though there is value in finishing a degree independently of its instrumental value).

>>Did my advisors willingly gave me lousy advice?

Insofar as the giving of advice is an act of the will, then probably so.

>>Did you give such advice to your students?

Did I groundlessly speculate about the job market and its trajectory? No.

>>Or, did you tell them that coming to grad school was a bad idea and that they should leave?

No, I don't typically do that either. I give undergrads all the information that one needs to know about the market and how lousy it is. I give them a realistic picture of life as a grad student and beyond. I then let them make their own decisions. Once someone has already chosen to be a grad student, I give them advice about how best to prepare themselves for the job market and of course advise them on matters philosophical. There is lots of other advice that I give depending on the student and his/her circumstances. Some of this is encouraging, some less so.


>>If not, then you, too, gave lousy advice to grad students. Now, telling recent phd's that they made a bad decision stinks of terrible indifference, you perhaps even take pleasure of the underemployment of well-published young philosophers. It's like you point a finger at them and laugh saying "the joke is on you!"


I am not indifferent at all. I was responding to the charge that I was being "unjust" because I am not going to quit my job. I take no joy in the suffering of others. But I am not about to ameliorate it by quiting my job.





Anonymous said...

1250,

What kinds of options are you considering? We've had Plan B threads before (btw, we need a Plan B thread for this season please) but I'd love to hear more.

Anonymous said...

10+ days have passed since I had a skype interview (I had a phone interview first). The next step, I was told, was a flyout the first week of January (some faculty are going on leave, so they wanted to get it done quickly). I was told it would only be a few days until they notified those the candidates.

When is it appropriate to email the SC and ask them, politely of course, what the hell is going on. For the record, I emailed them yesterday. No response. Was this a bad move?

Anonymous said...

Stats:

Non-Leiterific Ph.D.

3 books

25 articles

8 book chapters

Cushy TT job in hand (though I despise the location and my colleagues)

No applications out (too lazy, considering a career change to open up a spot for a young unemployed philosopher...though I doubt anyone could fill my shoes)

Anonymous said...

-=====================================]

(This is what my cat--William Jefferson Kitten--typed as I read this thread. I thought we should oppose speciesism in comments, so here's his take.)

Anonymous said...

I get the impression from this thread and others that people believe that publications _far_ outweigh all other features of the dossier, so that number and location of publications is _the_ (or, more charitably, the most weighty) standard that SCs are using to decide whether to give interviews, campus visits and jobs to applications, as well as being the standard we should use to determine whether we are more deserving of a job than someone else (be they a competing candidate, an SC member who is evaluating us, or the aforementioned 'fossil'). It is often mentioned centrally in people's reports of their 'stats' so far.

Am I reading the posts above wrong in drawing this general conclusion?

And am I wrong in thinking this is not the most accurate conclusion to draw? That even having a certain number of publications in good places is not the magic formula? I would think that 'fit' is quite important, so that you could have just one pub in a so-so journal, but that is on a topic you really argue well about and that really interests the department you're applying to, so it makes all the difference.

I'm asking this in part because I want to talk myself out of the growing nerves about my lack of pubs (or pubes, if you like)! Sure, it would be much better if I had some, but I don't think I ought to conclude that just because I don't, I stand no chance on the market compared to those who have many quality ones.

(Sorry if that got a bit long or rambly; I hope the main point is clear.)

Anonymous said...

"Hunting and Fishing Traditions in North America"

LOL

Anonymous said...

1:14,

12:50 here. I haven't investigated alternatives extensively yet. And some of the more attractive options for me so far involve specific experience and contacts having little to do with philosophy. If you just google some obvious search phrases, you'll find info that is somewhat helpful. Some pretty vanilla options that have probably been discussed somewhere here are management consulting (some firms like to hire humanities PhDs), and technical writing. I'm interested in anything that offers more and quicker upward mobility, and more choice about where I live. Yeah, maybe I won't exactly be living the life of the mind, but the life of the mind in academia is not entirely edifying anyway. Grading a huge stack of exams/papers has to be one of the more mind-numbing tasks I know of.

CTS said...

@3:10
But, I strongly believe that an academic should have the grace to open the playing field for young people when the time comes. After keeping a position for three or four decades and having secured their pension and emeritus post, it is extremely egotistical to linger while talented and hardworking young people are out of work!

It might be gracious for people who can afford to retire when they hit retirement age to do so, IFF their doing so means a TT job for a younger person. Unfortunately, TT jobs are drying up, and no program gets a lock on a line in perpetuity.

I also agree that perhaps it is not nice to tell people of a certain age to retire. But what about us?! We studied hard, worked hard, wrote dissertations, gave talks at conferences, published papers and we contributed to our field. And you expect us to say nothing while those fossils spend years not publishing a word yet teaching only two courses a semester. Is there no injustice in that? ……………. Whatever you say or how angry you get, there is a BIG INJUSTICE in that!

So now we have gone from a virtue (being gracious) to a violation of a right (presumably yours).

Further, you refer to everyone whom you regard as being past their due date as ‘fossils’ – indeed, greedy and unproductive fossils. And you claim to be better qualified, in some respect, than all these older philosophers. I am going to go out on a limb and guess that you have either an over-inflated ego or a sense of entitlement, or both. You certainly do not seem to have any evidence to back up your generalizations.

Finally, this:
I suggest ya'all try to swallow that sense of injustice you feel and keep it bottled up deep down inside -- or just get over it. If you come across as thinking that you are better than the people interviewing you, well I doubt they'll be jumping up and down to hire you.

P.S. I have both a Masters and a Ph.D. and I am close to being a ‘fossil.’

Asstro said...

The best part about this thread is how potently it illustrates just how out of touch with the job market most of the posters here are.

If you are under the illusion that you will land a job on your pedigree, your publications, your letters, or the strength of your innovative dissertation, then you are woefully oblivious to the real demands of a university. Search committees are looking for a good fit, end of story. That fit has to work with the unit, with the tenure expectations of the school, with the culture of the university/college, and with any other demands of the job. You as job applicants need to make it clear to the search committee why you are a good fit for their job. A degree from a fancy university will not save you. Many very strong publications in reputable journals will not win you an interview. Exceptional letters will not beat out the competition. Your extremely esoteric argument will not wow the interview committee.

This has nothing to do with the fossilization of sitting faculty, nor with the matter of how much better you are than they. It has to do with fit.

Fit. Fit. Fit.

Anonymous said...

To 3:33: I have been on many search committees, and am currently on one. I think that there is massive overstatement here of the value of publications, both by those worried about not having enough and those wondering how they could miss out on interviews with several publications. Publication is great evidence that you know how to finish a paper and send it in. It is less solid as evidence of quality. That's why we search committee members are reading the writing samples. Even if it has a journal's name on the paper, that does not mean that I am going to delegate my philosophical duties to others, and my philosophical duty is to read and assess the papers. I know enough about how reviews aren't really all that blind, how little refereeing circles get generated, and so forth to know that some stuff gets published in some pretty fine places that is not particularly good.

So, if you publish some stuff, and it's really good, boy, will that help: it shows that you can not only do good philosophy, you know how to let it out of your hands so that it can get published. If you have good stuff but no publications, and you're ABD, it might not matter much. If you have good stuff but no publications and you're out a couple of years, it makes us wonder whether you are one of those people who won't let their work into the wild. If you have published and it's not particularly good, it's surely possible that you will be found out.

If you think that you know how good your stuff is, you probably don't. I am 20 years post-PhD, have had a solid career, and I still don't know whether I'm a charlatan. Nobody going on the job market should have much confidence in how good their work is.

Anonymous said...

"Fit. Fit. Fit."

And inasmuch as job applicants have no substantive idea what specific needs the department has--other than the general areas of specialization/competence--most applicants are screwed, screwed, screwed.

Asstro said...

Correction: I don't mean to imply that your pedigree, publications, letters, or dissertation won't play a role. I'm just stating what seems to go unstated here: that what makes your pedigree, publications, letters and/or dissertation exceptional hangs to a large extent on fit.

Anonymous said...

9:06's comment should be the last word in this topic...

Um, no. I suggest job candidates read 9:48 and Asstro at 7:31. These, if anything, should be the "last word" on this topic. They are certainly the most sensible. Anyone using the word "out-publish" to suggest he deserves a job more than someone else is demonstrating a striking lack of savvy about the nature of the vast majority of academic positions out there.

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