Sunday, September 23, 2007

Job Market: Wheee!

I stumbled across this post from an academic philosopher about the job market process for philosophy PhDs. While my overall response was visceral self-pity, there was also a twinge of comfort in recognizing most of our own miserable process in another humanities field. They're probably all the same, but what do I know.

One thing of particular interest was when the author notes a part of the process to be circulating one's list of potential jobs to one's committee, in order for the latter to eliminate jobs that are"too good for you." Can I ask someone to do this for me, or is that too defeatist? Do we, in English, also operate under the assumption that some jobs are just definitely too good for a particular grad student to get? If so, could someone just narrow down my list already?


Blogger Michael E. said...

Rachel (and anyone else): I've been told that the philosophy job market is more strictly hierarchical than in English. There, the stationary really does matter in a way that it doesn't in English. While there are jobs that you are unlikely to land, there are few that are not worth applying for if they are in your field. (I'd probably avoid the Yale/Harvard cattle calls if they still do that -- where they say something like, "we are interested in hiring two professors in the field of British or American literature" -- but that's all.)

Also, the APA -- from what I've heard -- is actually worse than the MLA because of these "smokers", which just sound terrible.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Lauren said...

I have a question related to Rachel's: How broadly or narrowly should we define our "field"?

I have been of the mindset that it is better to err on the side of applying to jobs that might be out of my league or in a "subspecialty."

Is this pointless? Any thoughts?

7:09 PM  
Blogger Michael E. said...

This is something that is better answered with particular facts, on a case-by-case basis. However, you are likely only going to get the job if they believe that your interests lie in the fields that they express a desire for. Just because you can teach a subject, doesn't mean that you are going to be considered for a job. Let's say you're writing on the modernist novel, and there's a job advertised in modernist poetry. Even if you are ready and able and eager to teach in that field, there are going to be too many other people with dissertations on that subject for you to be considered seriously. On the other hand, if you had, say, one chapter out of 4 on a modernist poet, you might try to apply and convince them that that is your main area of interest.

7:15 PM  

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