The woes of the job market?

New Kid on the Hallway in this post (found via Tenured Radical in this post) has me thinking about the whole job prospect question. The underlying question that we rarely get to ask is about whether the whole shebang of these jobs actually makes us happy.

I remember when I entered my Ph.D. program, there was an annual start-of-the-term new kids on parade moment where all the incoming students had to address the sea of obviously not-ready-to-be-back faculty and explain what they wanted to study and why they wanted the Ph.D. When my turn came up, I explained my area of interest and then said "I'm getting a Ph.D. because I always wanted to see if I could get one." This comment was the only one I recall causing anyone to stir. Later at the "reward you for being good monkeys" dinner, not one but three faculty members pulled me aside to caution me that my answer was, at best, politically dubious. One even told me I'd never make it if that was my reason.

Of course, he didn't realize just quite how far I've been willing to go for spite, so maybe I owe him thanks now that I've got the degree.

But still the question gets buried now that I'm out. And it's interesting to think about - particularly in light of the looming question of whether my mode of providing job application materials might actually be seen as somehow contentious - whether I want to be a member of this particular club or not. My parents were shocked recently when I expressed such a strong to desire to be out of this locale that I'd consider jumping the academic ship (or is that the academic shark?). Of course, I haven't been able to get them to look at the blog though it answers oh-so-many of their questions about my doubts about this field.

So I still don't know what I'll do about the job packets. But I've got more food for thought.


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