Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Bride of Frankenphilosophy

or: Jobsearch timewhine

Naturally, one tries to give one's sad little life some spice by seeing how one's research ties up to one's itty-bitty little life issues. This week's theme is: vagueness. For those of you who are interested, the canonical and brilliant text is Williamson's most unambiguously titled Vagueness.

The Ongoing Hellacious Jobsearch has given me a whole new appreciation of the problems arising from the vagueness of pretty much every single predicate of ordinary language. It's standardly noted in philosophical discussions about vagueness that the trouble is borderline cases -- we know perfectly well that a guy with 10,000 hairs isn't bald and a guy with 0 hairs is. They're what's called "clearly in" cases. It's some of the guys in between where you might get into a fight. Well lemmetellya, I've been conducting my very own bit of empirical research on the concept of the "clearly in".


(a) specifications of time

We will notify you shortly. Oh? How shortly is that, exactly? OK. No-one knows. So much for that stupid question. Here's another. When are you certain that "shortly" has passed such that no-one is gonna notify you, sunshine, hasta la vista and thanks for all the fish? Is a week too long? Two? Even three? How about "immediately"? The same day? Tomorrow? By the end of the week?

Don't even get me started on after a reasonable interval.

(b) specifications of quality

The standard of applications is extremely high and only candidates of exceptional research merit will be considered for interview.

I have two first-class degrees from a good (uh-oh) university, three respectable (Mammy! Get me gun!) publications, an almost-finished (Ha! Hahahahaha ...) PhD, a research proposal full of the usual BS and some pretty hot letters of recommendation. So, no kidding ... how many grains make a heap?

You know what? Forget it.


Tom Bozzo said...

Another whine of substance, Xtin.

"Reasonable" has a legal meaning (at least in parts of the U.S.) as "anything that can result from a state of less than total derangement." Meaningless. I'd imagine "shortly" is longer for academic than non-academic employers -- less committee-work with the latter.

On the face of it, you're well positioned to be in the part of the humanities market that clears -- and not in the form of adjunct gypsyhood or home electronics sales, either. Breadth of search would seem to be a big issue (browsing your archives, I saw that Scrivener had tagged you with the meme I'd tagged you with a bit earlier, for similar reasons, and I see that you've already traveled a hell of a lot more of the world than me, but do you want to return to the more-watery hemisphere?). I'd declined even to apply for jobs at Bible Belt State Teachers College-type institutions, which caused some interim pain, though a more favorable end result.

Again, good luck, and do let me know if you want either, both, or another of these whines as a carnival entry.

Xtin said...

Thanks for the support, Tom! I'd be honoured if you included this one in the carnival -- it's as close as I get to political.

And many thanks for the luck -- I'll let you know how it all goes. Same bat time, same bat blog ...

Heidi the Hick said...

Schedule yourself a nice break soon. You sound slightly stressed...

Xtin said...

Heidi, you're so right. You'll be unsurprised to learn that Pluvialis says this to me every single day! Xtin -- take a break. No really! Take a break!

I think she might kidnap me and abandon me at a spa sometime soon.

Anonymous said...

And who am I to be against a holiday? But Xtin, do soldier on. With the record you've got they'd have to be crazy out there not to snap you up as soon as they can. Fear not.