Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Thoughts on academic job search, 2

Of course, the natural structure of the universe is such that new PhDs with their sights on academia are approximately one peg up the food chain from amoeba. Without even being as cool, because amoeba can totally like, ooze and stuff as well as dividing themselves up into more amoeba, and all I can do is watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and think up boring sophomoric ethical objections to giant television companies building Pottery Barn showroom houses for The Deserving Poor.

The point is, whatever job there is? Whoever wants to hire me to do something even tangentially related to the thing I'm qualified to do? Yippee. I'll take anything. Because I don't have the luxury of being picky about this shit.

Yesterday I printed another job advertisement to put on the growing stack. Like most job advertisements I read, there are red flags all over the place. The most usual red flag is that the job is being advertised in a sub-specialty you know nothing about. This is not generally considered a barrier to application, primarily because if you wait for the job for which you are actually qualified, you are never going to get hired in your lifetime, because it is constitutive of being a new PhD that you are unqualified for any academic job in the known universe.

This job had no requirements on area of specification, so the first red flag was that I'd never heard of the academic institution in question. But hey -- that probaby proves nothing except that I'm ignorant.

Red Flag #2: It describes itself as "a very small, highly selective, Christian college".

Inner voice: remember, you are pond-scum!

Well, OK. I mean, that probably explains why I've not heard of it. And the Christian part? Well, sure. I mean, fundamentalist religious types of all stripes freak me right the hell out, but practically every educational institution in the world has some religious affiliation or other. Mine used to be a collection of monasteries, seminaries, and theological schools, for god's sake. (So to speak). I'm sure that this really isn't going to have a great deal of impact on teaching philosophy to undergraduates.

Red Flag #3: "The College is non-denominational but requires faculty members to sign a statement of faith."

Inner voice: [pause] ... [clears throat] ... uh ... pond-scum!

OOooookay ... I mean, there are any number of things that could mean. And non-denominational! That's good! Very pluralist and all. The statement probably just asks what I have faith in, right? And anyway, let's face it, I'd sign anything for a good job. Probably. And like I said, this is not really going to have a big impact on my teaching experience there if I got the job, anyway. I'm a philosopher! I'll get to tell them about Descartes and Wittgenstein and relativism and social constructivism and realism! So who cares?

Final flag: "Broadly, the curriculum emphasizes the power of (and connections among) free markets, democratic politics, and the pursuit of truth."

Inner voice: [silence]

I am not applying for this job.


Heidi the Hick said...

How could you apply? What are they talking about? the pursuit of truth? What the hell does that mean? Or am i just pond scum?

Xtin said...

Word, Heidi. I think the 'pursuit of truth' part was redundant, because what they mean is 'we love free markets'. Mammon, baby. Which doesn't look like truth to me. But probably we're both pond-scum for thinking that.